Opulence. So often we feel that in order to receive guests, everything must be perfect, pristine. Sukkot, Tabernacles, says no.
In order for Sukkot to be perfect, joy must be present, not opulence. As the Lord commands, “and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Lev. 23:40).
It’s not the building, it’s the joy. The joy becomes the foundation of the mishkan, the tabernacle of His presence. Your joy, and that of those gathered with you, becomes a building of joy, praise, and thanksgiving, as the psalmist writes, “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11). This joy is not dependent on a building, but the reality of His presence (Matt. 18:20).
The Lord commands us to build a booth, a tabernacle, or, another way, a rough shed. At no other time of the year would we put up a couple of walls, throw some branches over the top, and invite family and friends over to sit in our makeshift shed, out in the elements. No, we do this for the opulence of joy.
Traditionally we welcome the ushpizin, guests, to our sukkah; but gathered with with us is the living presence of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Mk. 12:26-27), and those who came before us. As the author of Hebrews writes, “so great a cloud of witnesses,” (Heb. 11:1) sharing in faith, faithing toward the unseen Lord, and the city He has promised to those who love Him (Heb. 11:16).
An opulent, perfect dwelling does not make for a perfect festival, but tasting the harvest of His promise, when the cloud of His glory rests in our midst Ex. 40:34), and we are bathed and baptized in the clouds of His glory does.
When Peter, upon the Mt. of Transfiguration, suggested that he build three booths, three sukkahs, the Father interrupts, and it is Yeshua/Jesus alone that remains; shining out the glory of heaven (Matt. 17:1-8).
Be well. Shalom.