Sukkot & Supporting Israel

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk




The Latin word for hut is taberna. The Hebrew word for hut is Sukkah. Therefore, those who do not use Hebrew call the Sukkot holiday Tabernacles.

There is in Jerusalem a Christian Embassy. That embassy has invited Christians to celebrate Sukkot in Israel since 1980. This year is no exception. Basing their Sukkot celebration on Isaiah 2:3, “Come let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord,” the Christian celebrants include music, dancing, singing, banners and processions. Speakers are chosen to participate in the eight day holiday beginning with the arrival of pilgrims on October 15 and 16. On Monday, October 16 an opening convocation was held at the Valley of Hinnom involving “Davidic worship and speakers.” On Tuesday the Christian visitors participated in a Garden service, followed by a visit to Anathot, where Jeremiah lived. This is followed by a visit to the Benjamin Gate.

On Wednesday, October 19 the group was to visit the City of David, the Western Wall and the Old City. This was to be followed by a meeting in the Hinnom Valley and Davidic worship.

The Temple Mount will be visited on Thursday, October 20, followed by the Great Jerusalem march and an evening celebration at the Haas Promenade.

On Friday, October 21 the Christian pilgrims will visit Neot Kedumim, which exhibits the Holy Land as it was in biblical days. This will be followed by an evening celebration at the biblical garden of Yad Hashmona. No events are planned for Saturday, October 22, as it is the Shabbat.

Then on Sunday, October 23, 2005 the Christian group will visit the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem and follow this with a “solidarity march” through central Jerusalem, including Machaneh Yehudah, Jaffa Road and Mea Shearim. This is to be followed by a celebration in the evening. Then on Monday, October 24, a closing event will include “Davidic worship” and speakers on the theme “All Nations will come and worship before you".

Finally, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 24-25, will be devoted to a tour of the Galil and the Golan Heights.

Every year, during Sukkot, the Prime Minster of Israel visits the Christian embassy and speaks to Israel’s Christian friends.

Why am I telling you all this? Because among American Jews Sukkot is largely forgotten, as are all the other Holy Days of the Jews except Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Yet, there are Christians who have not forgotten and who come to Israel each year with love and understanding for the Jewish people and our enormous achievement called Israel.

Rabbi Aryeh Markman comments on Sukkot as follows: He says that the meaning of Sukkot is that the unprotected Jews lived for forty years in huts in the desert. These huts hardly protected them. What really protected them, says Rabbi Markman, was reliance on Shem Yisborach.

We American Jews, who live here in comfort and security, need to ask ourselves whether our brethren in Israel can rely on us to support and defend them. Those who want to do so should therefore support our President, George W. Bush, who is the only president in all of American history who has supported Israel and the Jewish people.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Football & American Identity (2005) &  Youth Culture and the Generation Gap (2005) with Dr. Ursula A. Falk.

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