This post builds on the basic assumptions listed in Learning from the Mo’edim
This time around we were 2 days later than the traditional Jewish observance so it put us out there as far as celebrating with others. The general idea of this holiday is a communal thing, and we really just don’t seem to have experienced that.
Sukkot as a public HolyDay
One of the things we did is set up our “sukkah” which in reality is simply a temporary car port we bought from Harbor Freight. It is quite big, with a cover and it fits a big table for us. We used it again this year, and set it up int he front yard/driveway. I feel this is more appropriate for us, as I believe conceptually this is a public event. There is an edge to this where building the tent, and seeing all the other booths that other people build would be amazing. I have this gut feeling that it is somewhat a testimony itself just celebrating it. As well, I have this feeling that there are loads of jewish people who walk around and know what Sukkot is, but dont celebrate it. Somehow they need a reminder, and perhaps that is part of it.
We bought some LED lights, and strung them inside and it was fun. So we plan on buying more, and it is a great way to use up those xmas lights! We want to make some decorations we can reuse, like paint some banners, and paint the name of our God on the tent itself. It is funny, but this reminds me more of what people do on christmas!
Sukkot is more than a tent…
The first step is a booth/tent etc… but in reality a big part of this is reminding us about the time YHVH led the hebrews in the wilderness in tents for 40 years. Not 1 week, not 30 days, not 40 days… not even a year. They were a mobilization of upwards of 3 million people, for 40 years. They lived in the tents. They lived FROM the tents… and they picked up and moved when they needed to.
Ive been focusing on building one, but honestly Im pretty much wimping out. It isnt a big deal to pull this out, and pack it away. But simply going out there in the evening to eat isn’t really capturing the idea. We currently were fighting with having a mouse in our garage, and I smelled a skunk the other morning. Im not even remotely thrilled with the idea of sleeping outside, on a concrete driveway, with critters all around. And this is in a city. All night long and early am, cars are driving up and down the street etc…
And Im using this as a reason and resistance to sleeping in the tent. I really dont want to. But God doesnt ask me how I think or feel about it. Im responsible todo what I believe, and this year Im realizing that Im needing to put a priority on doing this next year.
The way the holidays played out, we had extra sabbaths this month, and it was wonderful. But it also was a little hard to manage. There were 3 sabbaths falling on Wednesday. It was great to have all sorts of rest. However I did start getting bored! Isn’t that crazy????
And with the feasts of Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and now Sukkot, within 2.5 weeks we have a lot of activity. Next year Ill need to plan more for that. It would be a great idea to basically take 3 weeks off in September. The uniqueness fades a bit by the Sukkot holiday. In modern culture, we arent busting our butt working all summer harvesting etc… so there isn’t as much of a rest in this. I can see how if I were a farmer or a shepherd, by this time, it would be great to have a rest. Lately, I’ve been lacking work, so I haven’t hit that intensity that I’m totally beat with work and need a break.
So at this point, I think i recognize the lack, and want to really ask for grace and help to do these in more and more focused and fruitful ways. And i also want to make sure Im not becomign more and more dogmatic. I dont accept judaism, but I do want to remember Im stumbling through this and learning more and more each year. I need ot be more and more excited ANYONE is keeping feasts, and engaging these. God has grabbed us and directed us and each year we are adjusting and adapting.