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.
“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?
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
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
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.
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 ).
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