We just arrived home after being in Jerusalem for Sukkot. How glorious it was to be in Jerusalem for this special appointed time. Every encounter we had, whether planned or not, positive or negative, was meaningful and contributed to making our time in Jerusalem special.
We spent the first four days which included Yom Kippurim in Haifa treating the kids (and ourselves) to some time on the beach. We fasted on Yom Kippurim amidst the noise of the Arabs in the street. To them it was just a free day and they made sure everybody knew of their enjoyment. YHVH gave us patience as we focused on Him. It is just a picture of the world we live in. Most people don’t care about being obedient to YHVH, they just continue their lives.
We went to see the citadel in Acra (Akko)which dates to the time of the crusaders. It was fascinating to see history come to life. We walked through the Templar’s tunnels and visited the port.
We arrived in Jerusalem on Friday, a couple of days away form the beginning on the feast. On Sunday the sukka’s (sukkot) were put up. Jerusalem was transformed and the festivities began. Everywhere you walked there were street musicians and many people.
As this is the feast where we are specifically instructed to be joyful, the city had a real carnival atmosphere. In the evenings there was a street market on Jaffa street and Zion square.
As with any proper feast, there was great food and drink.
The city is also decorated to show it’s festival colors.
When it is Sukkot, you also see the lulav and etrog everywhere.
This Sukkot was special because this year is the sabbatical year. We are commanded to read the law in the hearing of Israel during the seven days of Sukkot.
10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before YHVH your Elohim at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear YHVH your Elohim, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear YHVH your Elohim, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.
We came together with other believers at the overlook to the Kotel (western wall) every morning at 9am and read the book of Deuteronomy, men women and children as commanded by YHVH. One of these mornings, after our reading, as I was standing there looking down at all the praying people, YHVH showed me the significance of this special place. I previously was indifferent, even negative, about the wall. YHVH showed me that the Kotel was in actual fact a prayer altar in the spiritual realm. This makes it very significant for us as believers. We will write more about this in our next article.
This year we also had a number of our friends camp together in the city. They erected “Camp Ephraim” that was noted by a lot of people as they walked by. This was the first year they decided to camp together in the city and they are planning to repeat the exercise next year, hopefully at an every larger scale.
It was clear that this was the time for the feast of in-gathering. Most of the trees in Jerusalem still had their final fruit. Harvesting them earlier would not have worked out. We also saw a number of farmers still harvesting on our way from Haifa to Jerusalem.
Israel has not had any rains yet, and all people are praying for the winter rains to start. This usually happens shortly after the feast of Sukkot has ended. [UPDATE] We have received confirmation that the rains started in Jerusalem 2 days after the Eight Day! Praise YHVH!
Once again, we were blessed with a wonderful experience. Hopefully next year we can all celebrate it in the place YHVH chose to place His Name.