Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sukkot the Great Equalizer



Sukkot the Great Equalizer


The Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Judaism were no welfare case that’s for sure. Especially Abraham and Ya’akov (Jacob) acknowledged their wealth came from God and not man and by honest hard work. They took no charity. And though we were once slaves in Egypt doesn’t mean we were ignorant country bumpkins and uneducated drones. How else could the people make such beautiful and detailed tabernacle and furnishings in the desert?

Our founding families were no Donald Trump, Bill Gates or Prince Charles, but they weren’t trailer park or project material either. There was balance. Our Patriarchs and Matriarchs knew the extremes of wealth and utter dependence upon God. We never saw wealth get in their way of being humble, hospitable and obedient to God.

In the Diaspora we may not be Bill Gates either but with technology and life in western society we are not tribesmen in the bush either. I find the Festival of Sukkot like a Basic Training, Military type exercise for us to rough it and be more dependent upon God for at least one week out of the year and are subject to the elements. Our people are not so hoity-toity to curl out upper lip at sleeping out in a shack with a see through roof. Sukkot is also a type of annual societal equalizer to where no matter how monetarily rich or poor you may be you are to build a shack and rough it for a week and everyone is welcome in the Sukkah, from Gentile neighbors to our wealthy Patriarchal ancestors.

It is tradition to symbolically verbalize an invitation each day to our founding couples and other Bible Greats into our Sukkah; Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Ya’akov (Jacob) and Leah, Ya’akov (Jacob) and Rachel, Moses and Miriam his sister, Elijah, and a few others.

During Sukkot we are reminded that our wealth and health does not mean much in the eternal scheme of things and that in the here and now they are gifts from God. We are reminded that both health and wealth are fragile like our Sukkah and can be blown over if a huge storm arose. We realize our true sustenance and dependence is souly on God our Creator.


Kris Shoemaker – Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Grace and Yom Kippur


GRACE AND YOM KIPPUR

Once Tish B’Av has passed and the month of Elul is inaugurated a Jew can’t help but feel the weighty awe and solemness of the season. To remember that Elul leads to the New Year (Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets) and that leads us to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the single most solemn day of the entire year; a day when even non-practicing Jews get Jewish. A day when the Levitical Priests of days gone by would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkle the blood on the Ark of the Covenant, G-d’s Throne on Earth, to confess and make atonement for sin on behalf of all Israel. The time of the season when it is said that the Books in Heaven are open and G-d balances the Books and sets all the accounts and seals the events for the New Year, one can’t help but be in silent awe. One can’t help recoiling into oneself to take spiritual inventory of the year that has just gone by.

After the last apple is dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet start to the New Year is eaten and once everyone has been greeted with, “La Shannah Tova!”, and once the last blast of the Shofar has sounded one is left hearing the reverberating echo in the soul that acts as a supernatural alarm clock that shakes and wakes the soul from its summer slumber.

One begins to see the leaves on the trees begin to drain of color from a hearty, thick, rich, lush, green, to a pail sickly yellow, as if the trees are even in awe of the impending Judgment of Yom Kippur. One begins to truly understand the phrase, “turning over a new leaf”.

You see, during the month of Elul, we have 30 days to take an account of the entire year. To replay those security tapes in our brains, to try and recall if we have wronged anyone in anyway. To make a list of things we need to make right. To make a list of people we need to seek forgiveness from and make amends with. It is such a humbling and beautiful thing. 30 days to make sure everything is right between me and my fellow man. Then comes Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, the Feast of Trumpets, which on the one hand anticipates a great and fresh New Year, and on the other hand is a shaking to the core. For the shofar blast has announced the 10 Days of Awe; a time of getting nitty gritty, a time of getting down to business with the All Mighty G-d. Once you’re cleaned the slate with your fellow man one can channel every ounce of energy, focusing on their personal relationship with G-d and making things right between you and Him.

Once Yom Kippur arrives the Books in Heaven are closed and the unrepentant are blotted out and the repentant are sealed for a sweet new year, and those that straddle the fence has one last chance to repent.

Yom Kippur has been marked by a day of mourning, chest beating, fasting and confessing ones sins. It’s the saddest, most somber day on the Hebrew Calendar. But have you noticed that in the English language the word Atonement symbolizes the potential of that day? At-One-ment.  For this reason I have come to make it one of the most festive days of the year. For if I’ve truly spent Elul making things right between me and my neighbor, and if I’ve truly spent the 10 days of Awe making sure things are right between me and God, then even though I’m denying myself of food and other luxuries as the Scripture commands (Lev.23:27) I can be so busy thanking and praising God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness, that I won’t have to time to think of food, sex or other things I have been commanded to abstain from for that day. I won’t have to mope around mournfully because my business has already been taken care of. HalleluYah! Glory be to HaShem! I can look forward to a clean slate and a fresh start to the New Year. Now I can focus on the plans and dreams God has for me for Him!

This Elul, this Rosh Hashanah take care of business. Don’t treat Yom Kippur like April 15th and wait till the last minute and rush to get the paperwork done. This year don’t beat your chest and hang your head low on Yom Kippur. Instead, be ready ahead of time to wave your hands in the air and hold your head toward heaven in praise and thanks to God for His Goodness, His Loving-Kindness, His mercy that endures forever and are new every morning.

All too often I hear how Judaism is full of “legalism” and how there is no Grace until Yeshua came the first time. Nothing could be further from the Truth. Elul, the month preceding Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement is all about Grace. Traditionally Psalm 27 is recited in prayer everyday as well as Exodus 34:6-7

“And the YHWH passed by before him, and proclaimed, The YHWH, The YHWH El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

This passage lists the 13 Attributes of God taught in Judaism. Let’s break the verses down and lets just see how much Grace there is in the so-called and misnomer-ed “Old Testament.”
1.    YHWH. This name denotes mercy. God is merciful even BEFORE a person sins, because He knows who will sin, how, when and why, He knows the evil lies dormant in every person.
2.    YHWH. God is merciful AFTER a person has sinned and has gone astray by not destroying them and giving them a space to repent.
3.    El. This name is about power. God’s mercy sometimes surpasses even the degree indicated by His Name YHWH.
4.    Rachum. Compassionate; God eases the punishment of the guilty, and He does not put people into extreme temptation. Just like when a loving father spanks his child he does not use his full force as he could, but spanks hard enough to hurt, but not enough to damage.
5.    Ve-Chanun. And Gracious; even to those who are undeserving.
6.    Erech Apayim. God is slow to anger so that the sinner can reconsider and repent long before it is too late.
7.    Ve-Rav Chesed; …And Abundant in Loving-Kindness…; towards those who lack personal merits. Let’s say the scales are perfectly balance, it’s as if God purposely tips them toward the good.
8.    Ve-Emet. And Truth; God never goes back on His Word or Promises.
9.    Notzer Chesed La-Alafim. Preserver of Loving-Kindness for thousands of generations; The deeds of the righteous benefit their descendants way into the future.
10.Nose Avon. …Forgiver of Iniquity…; God forgives the one who is “torahless” which is what iniquity implies. HE forgives if they genuinely repent. Meaning doing a 180 and obeying Torah from then on out.
11.Va-Phesha …And Willful Sin…; Even those who break Torah on purpose are allowed to repent.
12.VeChataah …And Error; This is a sin committed out of carelessness and or apathy.
13.VeNake. And Who cleanses; God wipes away the sins of those who genuinely make teshuvah (repent).

What is the definition of sin anyway? I John 3:4 tells us:


“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law (TORAH): for sin is the transgression of the law (TORAH).”


Now who said there was no Grace in the Law?

Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr
www.abrahamsdescendants.com 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sukkot: Chanukah’s Pre-Holiday Party


Sukkot: Chanukah’s Pre-Holiday Party


Chanukah has a long history, longer than many people may think.  The majority of the people believe Chanukah was established and instituted between the 500 year gap of the writing of the Tanak (O.T.) and the Renewed Covenant (N.T.). In Ezra 6:16-17 it tells of the Babylonian exiles who have returned to Jerusalem and have built and Chanukah-ed the 2nd Temple.  Verse 16 says that “The children of the captivity kept the “Chanukah” of this house of GOD with joy.” The dates for celebrating Chanukah have changed through out the ages.  A new date for each time the Temple was built and dedicated, or cleansed and rededicated.  But to this day we keep the days set forth by the Maccabees in I Maccabees 4:59 and II Maccabees 10:8 because that was the last re-dedication until the Messiah returns to build the 3rd Holy Temple.  Chanukah today commemorates the rededication of the Temple, the defeat of the Greco-Syrian invaders, affirms our Jewishness, and commemorates the legendary miracle of the oil.  But in reality King Solomon instituted Chanukah, the Maccabees re-instituted it and made it what it is today, and Yeshua the Messiah celebrated it, and will re-institute it again when the 3rd Temple is built! 


In I Kings 8 and II Chronicles 7, it speaks of King Solomon fulfilling the life long dream of his father David and himself, of having built the Holy Temple of ADONAI.  It says the he “Chanukah-ed” it, dedicated it, and had a 7 day festival and ended it on the 8th day, hence 8 days of Chanukah, just as we have today. The Ark of the Covenant is placed in the newly built Temple during the Festival of Sukkot, so that particular Sukkot doubled as a Chanukah celebration as well!

Today Sukkot is the last of the High Holidays and is the precursor to Chanukah as we know it. Yet both deal with the Dwelling place of God among men. So these eight crazy days of Sukkot (counting Shimini Eretz and Simchat Torah) leads us to the eight crazy nights of Chanukah!



Monday, September 17, 2018

Sukkot: Only for the Natives? The Sukkot of Messiah!


Sukkot Only for the Natives?


Because of the wording is Leviticus 23:42

“Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.”

Some feel that this excludes Jews, Hebrews or Israelites in the Diaspora from building and dwelling in Sukkahs during the Feast of Tabernacles.

However from a Remez level of interpretation, if one looks carefully at the words used dealing with this subject one will find that The Hebrew root words in "native" are "branch", "seed" and "Diaspora"; hinting at least that Jews, Hebrew and Israelites born outside the land of Israel are also to dwell in Sukkahs. On a Sod level, one who converts or is already a Jew, Hebrew and or Israelite has the inheritance of the Land and seeing as Adam and Noah came from these lands that we to originate from there and are also obligated to dwell in Sukkahs. It is the concept of Spiritual birth. For the Terms Jew, Hebrew and Israelite are not only ethnical, but religious in connotation as well. Psalm 87 seems to also hint about this “native birth” for Diaspora Jews, Hebrew and Israelites as well as converts. Even if you are not convinced those of us in exile are not required to dwell in Sukkahs, I do not think anyone is hurting anything or twisting scripture by dwelling in booths, tents, or however you are willing to observe Tabernacles.

This is just my two cents, but MAYBE the verse in Leviticus is worded as such because the Holy One knew we would observe Sukkot in exile and for us in volatile climates, such as Maine, Idaho, Canada, etc., it is not always safe health wise to dwell in Sukkahs because when Sukkot comes it’s usually fall and it is damp, cold, rainy and sometimes even snowing; even the Rabbi’s say, Life over Law. ADONAI does not expect us to dwell in Sukkahs at the risk of our health and possibly for the zealous heart he wrote this to show its okay if you can’t dwell in a Sukkah for reasons stated above.

We see in Zechariah 14 that Gentiles will convert and end up keeping Sukkot, those who dwell in Jerusalem and beyond because it says they will bring sacrifices because of the Festival of Sukkot.

So is Sukkot only for Natives? You ask me, Nah, I don’t think so. It’s for everyone!

The Sukkot of Messiah

 “What a day, that will be, when my Jesus, I shall see, when I look, upon His face, the One who saved me, by His grace. When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through, the Promised Land, what a day, glorious day, that will be.”

I bet the Festival of Sukkot was the furthest thing from the Christian hymnist mind when they penned these words. But growing up Christian, this song cannot help but spring to my mind when I think of Sukkot and the Moshiach Yeshua.

Positive Commandment 16
"HakHail" - Assembling the entire Jewish People


Deuteronomy 31:12 "Gather the people together, men and women, and children"
When Mashiach comes your will hear the radio announcing:
"This is the M.T.N. (Mashiach Times News) Radio, announcing the biggest greatest, most phenomenal Jewish reunion to be held on the second day of Sukkot!

The last convention, seven years ago, was an outstanding occasion. All men, women and children are invited to this festive gathering."

At the end of the Shemita year (see Positive Mitzvah 140), we are commanded to gather at the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem.

Portions of the Torah are read aloud by the king at this assembly, uniting the Jewish people and inspiring all in the service of Hashem. – Chabad.org

Won’t that be the most wonderful Sukkot ever!? The Sukkot when Messiah returns, we are all gathered together at the 3rd Temple and The One who spoke the world into creation, the One in Who’s words are the very Breath of Life, The Living Word, the Living Torah, Yeshua Ha Moshiach will read the very Torah He authored and gave to Moshe Rabbinu over 4000 years ago! Hearing the Torah read by the Author Himself!
We will celebrate Messiah’s Birth, Return, Our deliverance from Egypt and Exile, and His eternal reign all at the same time. “What day, glorious day,” What an 8 day celebration that will be!

www.abrahamsdescendants.com
Kris Shoemaker –Yehudah be Shomeyr

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Yeshua and the Oral Laws; Traditions of Sukkot


Yeshua and the Oral Laws; Traditions of Sukkot


“He who has not witnessed the rejoicing at the water-drawing huts has, throughout the whole of his life, witnessed no real rejoicing.” (Sukkah 53b).


So what, that’s not in the Torah right? So what does it have to do with us or Yeshua for that matter? This is just a manmade tradition!

Hold up! Yeshua wasn’t against man made traditions or Oral Torah as long as it didn’t nullify the Written Torah. For in the Brit Chadasha we find Yeshua keeping holidays and traditions not commanded in the Written Torah.

During the “Last Supper” Yeshua went by the Haggadah, the liturgy of the Passover Seder. We find Him at the Temple during Chanukah, the “Feast of Dedication” and in John chapter seven we find Him at this Water Pouring Ceremony (Simchat Beit HaShoava) during the last day of Sukkot ('Hoshana Rabbah' - 'The Great Salvation’) mentioned in the Talmud in the text above!

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."” John 7:37-38 (NKJ)

If one carefully studies Talmud and Jewish traditions you will find where Yeshua even added himself into those things as well as the prophecies in the Torah and Tanak.
So how did this water pouring ceremony become such a fixed part of Judaism, even to this day?

“When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, one of the special Sukkot observances was to pour water on the Altar. The drawing of water for this purpose was preceded by all-night celebrations in the Temple courtyard; on the 15 steps leading to the azarah (inner courtyard) stood Levites while playing a variety of musical instruments, sages danced and juggled burning torches, and huge oil-burning lamps illuminated the entire city. The singing and dancing went on until daybreak, when a procession would make its way to the Shiloach Spring which flowed in a valley below the Temple to "draw water with joy." "One who did not see the joy of the water-drawing celebrations," declared the sages of the Talmud, "has not seen joy in his life."

While water was poured each day of the festival, the special celebrations were held only on Chol Hamoed since many of the elements of the celebration (e.g., the playing of musical instruments) are forbidden on Yom Tov.

Today, we commemorate these joyous celebrations by holding Simchat Beit HaShoeivah ("joy of the water drawing") events in the streets, with music and dancing. The Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated the custom of holding such celebrations on Shabbat and Yom Tov as well -- without musical instruments of course. The fact that we cannot celebrate as we did in the Temple, said the Rebbe, means that we are free to celebrate the joy of Sukkot with singing and dancing every day of the festival.” – www.chabad.org

 And why was this ritual so significant, especially in Yeshua’s time?
Well, first off the Cohenim (Levitical Priests) had a special schedule during Sukkot:
The Kohanim were divided into three divisions and each day of Sukkot there was a special ritual. Division one sacrificed the animals and items prescribed out in Numbers 29. Division two went to the East Gate of the Temple and headed to the Motzah Valley where they would discard the sacrificial ashes at the start of Shabbat. While there they would cut 25 foot willows and they would line up across the road holding the willows. About 30 feet behind them would be another row of priests with willow branches. They would then begin to march waving the willows in a swooshing motion creating the sound of the Ruach (Wind), symbolizing the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Division three in the meantime would be heading down to the pool of Siloam, meaning “peaceful flowing waters” (John 9:7, 11). The Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) was in this third group and he had a golden flask and drew the water called mayim chayim (living waters) because any water that was flowing was considered “living”. The High Priests assistant had a silver flash of wine. Both Groups would return to the Temple with the sound of the Shofar upon their arrival. One man would play the flute, the flute player was called “the pierced one” and symbolizes the Messiah (Psa. 22:16, Zech. 12:10, John 19:34-37, Rev. 1:7) and the flute players led the procession of the “wind” and “water” carrying priests. The Willow carriers would circle the Brazen Sacrificial Altar seven times while singing Psalm 118:25-26; the sacrificial division of priests would lay the slain sacrifices on the altar. Then the Cohen HaGadol and his assistant the ascended the altar and all Israel gathered into the Temple courts and sang a song called “Mayim (Water)” based on Isa. 12:3 according to Mishnah Sukkot 5:1. Then the High Priest poured out the water on the southwest corner of the altar on the horn, and then the wine was poured out as the Willow holders leaned their branches against the altar and made a sort of Sukkah.

According to the Mishnah Rosh HaShannah 1:2f says that it is during Sukkot that God decides who gets rains for next year and how much. Sukkot is also that time after Yom Kippur when it is said that the fate of each human is decided for the next year and the books in heaven are closed. So this is probably another reason for the water pouring ceremony, a type of supplication for rains.

These rituals and ceremonies are nowhere commanded in the Torah but the Rabbis and Sages feel by the spelling inconsistencies in Numbers 29 that spell the word ‘mayim” they nonetheless base the tradition of the water pouring ceremony on the Torah itself.
Rabbi Akiva (Ta'anit 2b) asserted that the water libation was alluded to in the Torah with the use of the plural form nesakhehah ("drink-offerings thereof") on the sixth day (Numbers 29:31), reflecting that one of the two libations consists of water.
“On Succoth even the humblest of all has its place on the Altar: water. The Midrash tells us that at the time of creation, the waters cried out to G-d that everyone has a place on the Altar -- oxen, sheep, wheat, barley, oil, wine. All except for water. The waters threatened to engulf the world until G-d promised them that on the festival of Succoth, Israel would offer a libation of humble water on the Altar, accompanied by SIMCHAS BEIS HASHO-EVA, "the Joy of the Water Drawing", which was so great that it brought people to prophecy.

The water libation on Succoth is not written explicitly in the Torah but only allusively. Three seemingly minute anomalies in the Hebrew phrasing of the laws of the offerings of the second, sixth and seventh days of the festival of Succoth, enable us to trace the letters of the word Hebrew word MAYIM -- WATER -- running through the Hebrew text (see Rashi on Numbers 29:18).” – Gil Marks

Three anomalies are derived from looking at how words are rendered differently on the second, sixth, and seventh days of the Festival:

1. Second day - "their libations" (Heb. niskeyhem נסקיהם), where there is an extra "yod" (י) and an extra "final mem" (ם) in the usual rendering of "its libation" (Heb. niskah נסקה).
2. Sixth day - "its libations" (Heb. niskeyhah נסקיה), where the usual rendering of "its libation" (Heb. niskah נסקה) has an extra "yod" (י).
3. Seventh day - "after the manner" (Heb. KaMishpatam כמשפטם), which has an extra "final mem" (ם) when compared to the other instances of "after the manner" (Heb. KaMishpat כמשפט) in this passage.

These anomalies actually gives us two extra "mems" and two extra "yods", however the Hebrew word for "water" (Heb. "mayim" מים) only needs one of the "yods". What are we to do with the extra "yod"? That lies in the realm of the Kabbalah and we will not delve into that here.

And obviously Yeshua had NO PROBLEM with it and included Himself with in the derived tradition.

A custom, a tradition, something that the Pharisees and Sadducees did; something that made it into the Talmud that Yeshua did not oppose but participated in and used to proclaim His divine Messiahship! Therefore it stands to reason His own talmidim were there and participated too and the believers that came after his resurrection and ascension.

We see now why He said:

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

A further fulfillment was when Yeshua was executed on the Roman cross and blood (symbolizing the wine) and water flowed (John 19:34).

GOD the Father obviously didn’t have a problem with this man made ritual for HE told Yeshua to go and deliver such a message, for Yeshua speaks only what the Father bids Him to (John 5:19, 30; 8:28; 14:28).

Kris Shoemaker – Yehudah ben Shomeyr
www.abrahamsdescendants.com



Yeshua Celebrates Sukkot


Yeshua Celebrates Sukkot



The Torah is clear that it is incumbent upon every Jew that is of age to participate in the Feasts of the LORD as outlined in Leviticus 23. And not keeping the Torah is defined as sin (I John 3:4), and so for Yeshua to qualify as Messiah He had to be sinless and keep perfectly the Torah and thus celebrate the Feasts. We see in the Besorah (Gospel) accounts that Yeshua did indeed keep the Feasts, especially Sukkot.

The First Sukkot Yeshua ever celebrated is the day He was born.

There was no snow on the ground that fateful night, no wise men either; they didn’t come on the scene till two years later. Just animals and a few shepherds. The time of the year was not December but the Hebrew month of Tishrei, during the festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, which falls during September or October of the secular calendar.

Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.



You see, Caesar Augustus was a smart cookie. He knew the Jews would be all in one place, and going back to their hometowns for the last of the three pilgrimage festivals and He probably thought, “Since everyone is in one place, might as well kill two birds with one stone and collect taxes and a census.”

During Sukkot, every Jewish family by Torah is required to build a 3 sided hut for the festival to (if weather permits) live in or at least have a meal, a study or a time of prayer in there. It commemorates the 40 years that Israel wandered and camped in the desert. If one’s life or health was at risk they were not required to stay in a sukkah and seeing as Miriam (Mary) being pregnant with Yeshua (Jesus) Yosef (Joseph) sought out an inn but to no avail.

Luke 2:6-7 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And as fate would have it, they ended up in a sukkah anyway! Have you ever noticed most nativity scene? The figurines are usually under a 3 sided structure with a straw like roof… in other words, a sukkah! For the Messiah to be qualified as Messiah He had to obey the Torah in everyway and God caused it so that Yeshua was born in a sukkah!

During the intermediary days of Sukkot when it is permissible to work communal sukkah’s would be erected at worksites so people could fulfill the commandment of dwelling in a sukkah and celebrate Sukkot even at work. People would take rest and meal breaks under the sukkah. Back then, Inn’s had gardens and farms in order to provide food for their guests who lodged there. You just couldn’t run to the local supermarket or convenient store if you ran out of milk. And so we find a sukkah build for the workers on the property of this Inn Keeper where Miriam and Yosef had to stay because the Baby wouldn’t wait for them to find a nice clean hotel room.

It was most likely the Eve of Sukkot when we find Miriam and Yosef at the Inn. Now seeing as they wouldn’t be staying in a hotel room and by necessity for Yosef to fulfill the command of building and dwelling in a Sukkah, according to Rabbinic Law it was acceptable for the Inn Keeper to give the sukkah to Yosef as a gift with the condition it be returned after the Festival, and for it to truly be Yosef’s and for him to fulfill the command of building a sukkah all that was required of Yosef is that he put a few branches on top the roof. I believe he did this while being quite the MacGyver and turning a feeding trough into a crib in a mad rush to prepare the sukkah for Miriam to deliver the Baby.

Yeshua said Himself that He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48). Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem, Bethlehem, being translated, the House of Bread. And when He was born He was laid in, of all things, a feeding trough, a manger, in which grain, which is used to make bread, was put to feed the livestock. And in the Scriptures, especially in Psalm 23, we are likened as unto sheep, who at times eat grain.


John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.


The word “dwelt” comes from the word “sukkah”. So we can say Yeshua housed himself in a sukkah of flesh and “sukkah-ed” among us. This word “sukkah” as in it the root word “Shekinah” which is used to describe the manifest presence of God dwelling or “sukkah-ing” among Israel in the Tabernacle and Temple. So Yeshua the Messiah, the figurative Son of God, the emanation of God Himself “sukkah-ed,” now in flesh among Israel as He did in a cloud in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Luke 2:21 speaks of the 8th day after Yeshua’s birth, which if indeed He was born on Sukkot would fall on the last day of Sukkot, which is now called Simchat Torah, His Torah Observant Parents took Him to enter into the Abrahamic Covenant via circumcision. Some may argue that the 8th day of Sukkot is like a Sabbath and no circumcisions were preformed on Sabbath, but they did not have all the Rabbinic rules they have today which some argue prohibits or discourages such activities. Yeshua proclaimed Himself that the tradition of His day was that it was permissible to circumcise on Sabbath (John 7:23).

Fast forward to Yeshua as an adult.

In Mathew 17, we see Yeshua going up to the place of His transfiguration. A few verses before, in 16:24, He speaks to His disciples of denying and afflicting themselves; two themes which are taught on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonements). Now, let’s look at the timeline. In Matthew 17:1 we see that it is six days later is the second day of Tabernacles. It was the second day, because the first and 8th day they stayed put and didn’t travel anywhere because it those days are treated and considered like Sabbaths in which it is required one to rest and not work or travel. Also, they would have been attending services at the Temple and or synagogues being a good Jew and as was His custom (Luke 4:16).


As we read on we find that Moshe (Moses) and Eliyahu (Elijah), representing the Law and the Prophets as well as current and future fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy, appear and converse with Yeshua as He had been transfigured before the eyes of his talmidim (disciples). At this point many Christians foolishly think Kefa (Peter) desires to build a shrine to all three in order to worship or at best revere them. No, he didn’t want to build a shrine to worship all three of them. He basically was saying, “Hey! If Moshe and Eliyahu are gonna stick around for Sukkot, let’s build them and You (speaking to Yeshua) a sukkah!” For it was required that all Jewish males of age have their own sukkah. Kefa also was a Torah Obedient Jew and was just zealous to obey the Torah concerning Sukkot on this unprecedented occasion.

Right after Yeshua and His three intimate talmidim (Kefa, Ya’akov, and Yochannon/ Peter, James and John) descent from the mount they encounter a man with a demon possessed son in which his other 9 talmidim could not exercise from the boy. Immediately Yeshua proceeds to deliver the boy from this demon and return him sound and whole to his father.

On another Sukkot (John 7) we see falls on the heels of a very controversial time in Yeshua’s ministry as many Jewish authorities sought to kill him at this time. In chapter six of the Besorah of Yochannon (Gospel of John) we see Yeshua from Pesach (Passover) to Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) feeding 5,000, calming storms, walking on water, proclaiming Himself to be heavenly bread and the sustainer of life itself, in other words saying He was G-d in the flesh. This is also the chapter and verse 6:66 where it says many of his talmidim abandoned Him due to his unorthodox and mystical teachings about Himself which they misunderstood and took out of context.

Now we find the communities in an uproar about Him and it is time to celebrate Sukkot. His half-brothers from Miriam and Yosef, not believing His claims and possibly thinking He is crazy or possessed Himself, challenges Yeshua to stop poking around in secret and proclaim Himself publicly with signs and wonders to be the Messiah if indeed He is so. But as Yeshua said it wasn’t the right time to do this, implying there would be a right time to do what they challenged Him to do. So for now, Yeshua takes of his Rabbi’s tallit and kippah and dresses like a commoner and goes to the Festival of Sukkot incognito to escape the Jewish authorities who sought His life and He begins to teach the people looking like an uneducated, average Jewish Joe and thus the people say at first,

 

“How does this Man know letters, not having learned?” (The Scriptures) Yochannon 7:15

 

Then through His teaching the people realize it is Yeshua in disguise and thus teaching them not to judge a book by its cover, but its content (John 7:24). The lesson hits home and the people become divided regarding if He is the Messiah and if so are the Jewish Authorities conspiring to keep this fact from the common man? By this time His detractors are gathering to try and apprehend Him, but they verse mysteriously says that they could not nab Him.

 

“Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.  (John 7:30, KJV)”

 

Next we see Yeshua at the Sukkot water pouring ceremony:


“He who has not witnessed the rejoicing at the water-drawing huts has, throughout the whole of his life, witnessed no real rejoicing.” (Sukkah 53b).


Yeshua wasn’t against man made traditions or Oral Torah as long as it didn’t nullify the Written Torah. For in the Brit Chadasha we find Yeshua keeping holidays and traditions not commanded in the Written Torah.

During the “Last Supper” Yeshua went by the Haggadah, the liturgy of the Passover Seder. We find Him at the Temple during Chanukah, the “Feast of Dedication” and in John chapter seven we find Him at this Water Pouring Ceremony (Simchat Beit HaShoava) during the last day of Sukkot ('Hoshana Rabbah' - 'The Great Salvation’) mentioned in the Talmud in the text above!

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."” John 7:37-38 (NKJ)

If one carefully studies Talmud and Jewish traditions you will find where Yeshua even added himself into those things as well as the prophecies in the Torah and Tanak.
So how did this water pouring ceremony become such a fixed part of Judaism, even to this day?

“When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, one of the special Sukkot observances was to pour water on the Altar. The drawing of water for this purpose was preceded by all-night celebrations in the Temple courtyard; on the 15 steps leading to the azarah (inner courtyard) stood Levites while playing a variety of musical instruments, sages danced and juggled burning torches, and huge oil-burning lamps illuminated the entire city. The singing and dancing went on until daybreak, when a procession would make its way to the Shiloach Spring which flowed in a valley below the Temple to "draw water with joy." "One who did not see the joy of the water-drawing celebrations," declared the sages of the Talmud, "has not seen joy in his life."
While water was poured each day of the festival, the special celebrations were held only on Chol Hamoed since many of the elements of the celebration (e.g., the playing of musical instruments) are forbidden on Yom Tov.

Today, we commemorate these joyous celebrations by holding Simchat Beit HaShoeivah ("joy of the water drawing") events in the streets, with music and dancing. The Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated the custom of holding such celebrations on Shabbat and Yom Tov as well -- without musical instruments of course. The fact that we cannot celebrate as we did in the Temple, said the Rebbe, means that we are free to celebrate the joy of Sukkot with singing and dancing every day of the festival.” – www.chabad.org

 And why was this ritual so significant, especially in Yeshua’s time?
Well, first off the Cohenim (Levitical Priests) had a special schedule during Sukkot:
The Kohanim were divided into three divisions and each day of Sukkot there was a special ritual. Division one sacrificed the animals and items prescribed out in Numbers 29. Division two went to the East Gate of the Temple and headed to the Motzah Valley where they would discard the sacrificial ashes at the start of Shabbat. While there they would cut 25 foot willows and they would line up across the road holding the willows. About 30 feet behind them would be another row of priests with willow branches. They would then begin to march waving the willows in a swooshing motion creating the sound of the Ruach (Wind), symbolizing the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Division three in the meantime would be heading down to the pool of Siloam, meaning “peaceful flowing waters” (John 9:7, 11). The Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) was in this third group and he had a golden flask and drew the water called mayim chayim (living waters) because any water that was flowing was considered “living”. The High Priests assistant had a silver flash of wine. Both Groups would return to the Temple with the sound of the Shofar upon their arrival. One man would play the flute, the flute player was called “the pierced one” and symbolizes the Messiah (Psa. 22:16, Zech. 12:10, John 19:34-37, Rev. 1:7) and the flute players led the procession of the “wind” and “water” carrying priests. The Willow carriers would circle the Brazen Sacrificial Altar seven times while singing Psalm 118:25-26; the sacrificial division of priests would lay the slain sacrifices on the altar. Then the Cohen HaGadol and his assistant the ascended the altar and all Israel gathered into the Temple courts and sang a song called “Mayim (Water)” based on Isa. 12:3 according to Mishnah Sukkot 5:1. Then the High Priest poured out the water on the southwest corner of the altar on the horn, and then the wine was poured out as the Willow holders leaned their branches against the altar and made a sort of Sukkah.

According to the Mishnah Rosh HaShannah 1:2f says that it is during Sukkot that G-d decides who gets rains for next year and how much. Sukkot is also that time after Yom Kippur when it is said that the fate of each human is decided for the next year and the books in heaven are closed. So this is probably another reason for the water pouring ceremony, a type of supplication for rains.

These rituals and ceremonies are no where commanded in the Torah but the Rabbis and Sages feel by the spelling inconsistencies in Numbers 29 that spell the word ‘mayim” they nonetheless base the tradition of the water pouring ceremony on the Torah itself.
Rabbi Akiva (Ta'anit 2b) asserted that the water libation was alluded to in the Torah with the use of the plural form nesakhehah ("drink-offerings thereof") on the sixth day (Numbers 29:31), reflecting that one of the two libations consists of water.

“On Succoth even the humblest of all has its place on the Altar: water. The Midrash tells us that at the time of creation, the waters cried out to G-d that everyone has a place on the Altar -- oxen, sheep, wheat, barley, oil, wine. All except for water. The waters threatened to engulf the world until G-d promised them that on the festival of Succoth, Israel would offer a libation of humble water on the Altar, accompanied by SIMCHAS BEIS HASHO-EVA, "the Joy of the Water Drawing", which was so great that it brought people to prophecy.

The water libation on Succoth is not written explicitly in the Torah but only allusively. Three seemingly minute anomalies in the Hebrew phrasing of the laws of the offerings of the second, sixth and seventh days of the festival of Succoth, enable us to trace the letters of the word Hebrew word MAYIM -- WATER -- running through the Hebrew text (see Rashi on Numbers 29:18).” – Gil Marks

Three anomalies are derived from looking at how words are rendered differently on the second, sixth, and seventh days of the Festival:

1. Second day - "their libations" (Heb. niskeyhem נסקיהם), where there is an extra "yod" (י) and an extra "final mem" (ם) in the usual rendering of "its libation" (Heb. niskah נסקה).

2. Sixth day - "its libations" (Heb. niskeyhah נסקיה), where the usual rendering of "its libation" (Heb. niskah נסקה) has an extra "yod" (י).

3. Seventh day - "after the manner" (Heb. KaMishpatam כמשפטם), which has an extra "final mem" (ם) when compared to the other instances of "after the manner" (Heb. KaMishpat כמשפט) in this passage.

These anomalies actually gives us two extra "mems" and two extra "yods", however the Hebrew word for "water" (Heb. "mayim" מים) only needs one of the "yods". What are we to do with the extra "yod"? That lies in the realm of the Kabbalah and we will not delve into that here.

And obviously Yeshua had NO PROBLEM with it and included Himself with in the derived tradition.

A custom, a tradition, something that the Pharisees and Sadducees did; something that made it into the Talmud that Yeshua did not oppose but participated in and used to proclaim His divine Messiahship! Therefore it stands to reason His own talmidim were there and participated too and the believers that came after his resurrection and ascension.

We see now why He said:

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

A further fulfillment was when Yeshua was executed on the Roman cross and blood (symbolizing the wine) and water flowed (John 19:34).
GOD the Father obviously didn’t have a problem with this man made ritual for HE told Yeshua to go and deliver such a message, for Yeshua speaks only what the Father bids Him to (John 5:19, 30; 8:28; 14:28).

So we see that Yeshua, all through out His life celebrated Sukkot, even at the risk of death.



Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr

 www.abrahamsdescendants.com 





Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sukkot and an Angel of the LORD


Sukkot and an Angel of the LORD


On the first day of Sukkot this year (5771/2010) I read the first half of Luke chapter 2 to my daughter and told her that Sukkot is when Yeshua was really born, not December 25 as many Christians purpose when something jumped out at me. As many of you know, Rome ruled and occupied Israel and it was known to the Roman government that Israel had three pilgrimage Festivals when everyone either journeyed to their home town or if at all possible, went to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. So to kill two birds with one stone Caesar Augustus, being a shrewd ruler that he was decided it would be convenient time to collect taxes and take a census seeing everyone was either in their hometown or Jerusalem anyway. It was with this back drop that we see Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary) traveling to Galilee to Yosef’s hometown of Beit-Lechem (Bethlehem) for these reasons. Miriam and Yosef were engaged and thus she was already considered apart of Yosef’s family and so she went with Yosef to Beit-Lechem. At this time Miriam was at full term with her Divine Pregnancy and was close to delivering.

Being a Torah Observant Jew, being required to fulfill the command to erect a sukkah and seeing he would be coming home for Sukkot, I am sure Yosef had already arranged for the materials to build his, Miriam and the child’s sukkah when they arrived on his father’s property in Beit-Lechem. But was we know they never made it to his father’s homestead because Miriam went into labor and they needed a place to stay to deliver the baby FAST! Due to all of the pilgrims traveling home and to Jerusalem for Sukkot all the Inns and Lodging Houses were full and the best place they could find was a sukkah erected for the farm hands at an Inn on the outskirts of town where the animals gathered to eat and rest. Back then, Inn’s had gardens and farms in order to provide food for their guests who lodged there. You just couldn’t run to the local supermarket or convenient store if you ran out of milk. 

During the intermediary days of Sukkot when it is permissible to work communal sukkah’s would be erected at work sites so people could fulfill the commandment of dwelling in a sukkah and celebrate Sukkot even at work. People would take rest and meal breaks under the sukkah. So we find a sukkah build for the workers on the property of this Inn Keeper where Miriam and Yosef had to stay because the Baby wouldn’t wait for them to find a nice clean hotel room.

Have you ever noticed how most nativity scenes look like a sukkah; three walls with a roof of straw or branches. It was most likely the Eve of Sukkot when we find Miriam and Yosef at the Inn. Now for Yosef to fulfill the command of building and dwelling in a Sukkah, according to Rabbinic Law it was acceptable for the Inn Keeper to give the sukkah to Yosef as a gift with the condition it be returned after the Festival, and for it to truly be Yosef’s and for him to fulfill the command of building a sukkah all that was required of Yosef is that he put a few branches on top the roof. I believe he did this while being quite the MacGyver and turning a feeding trough into a crib in a mad rush to prepare the sukkah for Miriam to deliver the Baby. Miriam likely delivered the Child on her own.


Exd 1:19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women; for they [are] lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.


But what really grabbed my attention this year is Luke 2:9


(NASB) And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.


The verse jumped out at me and my mind screamed, “Wait a minute! I thought the Angel of the LORD was Yeshua in, for lack of a better term, pre-incarnate form!? How then can Yeshua in angelic form be announcing His own birth to the shepherds!?” Then I looked into the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and discovered that though the KJV says, “the” angel of the LORD, most other translations match better with the context and grammar of the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and says, “an” or “a” angel of the LORD. You see all angels have names, in the Biblical and Apocryphal texts you read about Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel and even Hellel (Lucifer) which was satan before he rebelled. And so when we read through out the Scripture, “The Angel of the LORD” we discover through the context of the Scriptural narrative that this is Biblical code for the LORD emanating Himself in an angelic form so as to be seen by mortals without destroying them for no man can see God and live (Exd. 33:20). So GOD being like a proud Papa, He had to personally deliver this message to the common and despised man (shepherds), no other angel would do for the job.


Luke 2:8-12 (NIV) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."


The shepherds themselves acknowledged this particular Angel being an emanation of ADONAI Himself, for they said in Luke 2:15b, “…Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (KJV)”

Implying that they called this Angel; Lord, Adonai!


Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr

 www.abrahamsdescendants.com