Dwell in a temporary shelter for the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles

The Literal Commandment

You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23:42-43)

 

The literal commandment is that we should live in "booths" (temporary structure) for seven days during Sukkot: the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

The commandment to live in a temporary shelter (a sukkah) for seven days pictures Messiah. He existed in the beginning with G-d (John 1:1-2) and yet He took on a temporary shelter and dwelt among men (John 1:14). When we dwell in temporary shelter for the week of the Feast of Tabernacles we are reminded of the brief, temporary nature of this life. Messiah dwelt with humanity only temporarily and we, too, dwell temporarily in the shelter of the sukkah.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Although no specific reference is given in Scripture, we know Messiah obeyed all the commandments completely and was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He fulfilled this commandment by dwelling in a temporary shelter for the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional observance of this commandment involves eating and sleeping in temporary shelters to fulfill the latter half of the commandment: "so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 23:43)

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment and should dwell in a temporary shelter for the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. While we are able to do this, Leviticus 23:42 seems to indicate that it is only required of the native-born of Israel.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 117
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 3
  • Mishneh Torah Book Times
  • Mishneh Torah Category 16- Shofar, Sukkah, and Lulav
  • Reference Leviticus 23:42
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 23
  • Verse 42
  • English You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,
  • Hebrew מב בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; כָּל-הָאֶזְרָח, בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, יֵשְׁבוּ, בַּסֻּכֹּת.
  • Greek 42 ἐν σκηναῖς κατοικήσετε ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας, πᾶς ὁ αὐτόχθων ἐν Ισραηλ κατοικήσει ἐν σκηναῖς,
  • Parashah 31- Emor
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 325
  • Sef. Hach. Command The mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah
  • Category Appointed Times
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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