Sukkot: 'Living Under God's Protection'

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JERUSALEM -- For thousands of years Jewish people around the world have celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles -- or Sukkot.
    
They observe the holiday by following the biblical instruction to live in temporary dwellings like tents.

CBN News visited one of those Sukkas to see how it brings the Jewish people closer to God, who some call HaShem. 

'Jewish Camping Trip'

Celebration of Sukkot is an ancient biblical commandment that's still being kept today. Some call it a Jewish camping trip with the conveniences of home.

Like many Israelis and Jewish people around the world, Seth and Te'ena Ben Haim build a sukka, or booth, on the back porch of their Jerusalem apartment every year.

"It helps us remember. First of all, we're commanded to remember the exodus from Egypt and how we needed to wander through the desert for 40 years without permanent dwellings," Seth explained.

"But it also reminds us that even though we've been brought into the land of Israel, we haven't reached our final destination," he added.

Seth explained the process of building a Sukka.

"The main thing is a roof that will make us feel that we're open to the elements," he said.

"Otherwise, we'd be in the protection of our homes in some ways, and we're just supposed to be in this flimsy tabernacle so that we can remember that ultimately we're under HaShem's protection," he explained.

Most sukkas are decorated at least in part by the children.

Families eat, sleep, study and pray together in their temporary houses for a whole week.

Despite the camping conditions, it's considered a joyful time.

"You can focus on the real important things like relationships, sitting down and studying the word, and talking with the children about God's faithfulness," Te'ena told CBN News.

Jonathan and his sister, Rebecca, enjoy the holiday so much that Jonathan made his tree house into a sukka.

An Offering for the Lord

Another part of the Sukkot celebration recorded in Leviticus 23 is bringing a special fruit and branches to rejoice before the Lord.

"We offer them to HaShem, all four of these in our prayers every morning," he said.

"We wave them in many different directions and we really look to above and that's what this type of roof helps us to remember, too," Seth explained.

"We're looking to above because that's where our help is going to come from," he said.

*Originally aired October 18, 2011

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Correspondent

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