Friday, October 10, 2014

Sukkah time

In the last couple of days the temperature has dropped from Summer temps to....54 degrees! that is about a 40 degree drop!
BUT it brought RAIN! Just a tiny bit before the temperatures soared back up to 90.

Being in a drought stricken area... (our resivour made National Geographic as it is soooo low), water has been an obsession.
Our county cut water consumption by 61%! Our tap water has a slight algae taste as we are so low, that is what we are left with.
Our lawn is now a mulched tan space. Water is saved for food, which we barely had a garden this year, no water equals tiny fruits and veg. A friend has a little etrog/citron tree and gave the kids these rather pitiful tiny etrog fruits. Our real one was shipped from HaEretz Yisrael, the land of Israel.

Sukkot is being celebrated. Feast of Tabernacles. One part of the ancient observance of Sukkot was a Water Offering, Simchat Beit Hashoeivah. The priest would pour water out over the altar, not like a few buckets, but water would pour out the temple grounds and through the streets.

"Every morning of Sukkot at daybreak, a group of Levites and priests went down to the Shiloach (Pool of Siloam) stream, which ran south of the Temple Mount, and drew three log(a Talmudic liquid measurement) of fresh water to be poured on the altar after the daily morning sacrifice. Their arrival at the Temple with the water was accompanied by trumpet blasts.1 (For Shabbat, the water was collected before the onset of Shabbat and stored in a golden vessel in the Temple.)" - Chabad


As the Water was poured the people would rejoice, wave leafy branches in the air and sing out Psalm 118:25-26, "Ana Adonai Hoshiana, Ana Adonai hatzlichah na, Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai, Baruch nuchem mi Beit Adonai." This part should be familiar to Christians, "Hoshiana! (Hosana!) Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the L-rd."  Leafy branches being waved. Sounds a bit like what is called "Palm Sunday", right?
There are other places this "theme" pops up, "But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. " Philipians 2:17
and all the living water references... And as both water and wine were poured out in the offering, some have linked that to "his side being pierced and blood and water flowed."
According to the Talmud, "one who had never witnessed the Rejoicing at the Place of the Water Drawing had never seen true joy in his life."

Sukkot is also linked to the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. A one week celebration to give thanks for the Harvest. The pilgrims are kinda like the "first century" church movement, or like the Neocatechumenal of the Catholic church. Sola Scriptura and a return to the origins of the faith, is not a new thing. It is PURITANICAL even. haha. :)

Anyway back to the water... It was poured out lavishly. The seasons over in Israel are very similar to our here in California. The feat of Sukkot falls when we are begging and hoping for rain. The rainy season SHOULD last from October to May here. Some years we get 90-100 inches of rain. The last few years, this has not happened. Man has tried to tackle these issues. We have a national water diverting system. Colorado sends Water to San Diego for example.
No matter how we try to offer a solution, it still is not the same as real rain. Our farmers planted 1/3 of their crops this year. (Guess how that will effect food prices). So 'wasting' the water in a ceremony seems a bit crazy. It was an act of faith and trust, believing in G-d's provision, that rain would come.
In Zechariah 14:16-17, it talks about all the nations gathering in Jerusalem for Sukkot, and that those who do not participate, would not receive rain on their lands. So the water offering and rain are obviously linked.

"With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation" Isaiah12:3

So we are praying for Rain. 
I need rain, not just on the land but on my soul. Times of refreshing. Shmitah Shabbat. 

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