Sukkot and the B'nei Noach

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © September 29, 2020

As Jews we tend to be protective of our holidays and observances because false idealogies have the tendency of plagiarizing Judaism, our Scriptures and Traditions. Nonetheless as foretold by our prophets, many Gentiles are now coming to Torah and embracing the Way of Seven Laws. When Jewish holidays roll around these good people naturally wonder if they have a part in them. In the case of Sukkot the answer is yes, but informed care needs to be taken.

The Haftarah for the first day of Sukkot is the prophecy of Zechariah concerning the war of Gog and Magog. This catastrophic event will impact everyone on earth. Through this final war the Olam Haba and the full redemption will take place. This war will usher in Mashiach ben Yosef and through his pious efforts Mashiach ben David. Bearing this in mind, Sukkot is clearly relevant for all people.

Our prophecies indicate that around 2/3 of the Jewish people and a sizable percentage of the other nations will die during the War of Magog and that the survivors will join the Jewish people every year thereafter in celebrating the Sukkot festival. Sukkot will then represent not only the trek through the wilderness during the Exodus but the global trek through the Olam Hazeh (ie the present world order) to our shared Redemption, the Olam Haba (ie the Messianic world order to come).

Zechariah declares:

"Lo, a day of the LORD is coming when your spoil shall be divided in your very midst!
For I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for war: The city shall be captured, the houses plundered, and the women violated; and a part of the city shall go into exile. But the rest of the population shall not be uprooted from the city.
Then the LORD will come forth and make war on those nations as He is wont to make war on a day of battle....
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one LORD with one name...
All who survive of all those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts and to observe the Feast of Booths.
Any of the earth’s communities that does not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts shall receive no rain.
In that day, even the bells on the horses shall be inscribed “Holy to the LORD.” The metal pots in the House of the LORD shall be like the basins before the altar;
indeed, every metal pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holy to the LORD of Hosts. And all those who sacrifice shall come and take of these to boil [their sacrificial meat] in; in that day there shall be no more traders in the House of the LORD of Hosts."

At that time:

"Thus said the LORD of Hosts: Peoples and the inhabitants of many cities shall yet come — the inhabitants of one shall go to the other and say, "Let us go and entreat the favor of the LORD, let us seek the LORD of Hosts; I will go, too.
The many peoples and the multitude of nations shall come to seek the LORD of Hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.
Thus said the LORD of Hosts: In those days, ten men from nations of every tongue will take hold—they will take hold of every Jew by a corner of his cloak and say, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you" (Zechariah 4)."

Like the Jews, the Noahidim will dwell in Sukkot of peace for a period of seven days annually. Like us, they will wave the four species -- the etrog (citron), the lulav (palm branch), the hadass (myrtle), and the aravot (willow) -- before HaShem.

Then:

"As for the foreigners who attach themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, And to love the Name of the LORD, To be His servants — All who keep the sabbath and do not profane it, And who hold fast to My covenant — I will bring them to My Sacred Mount and allow them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices shall be welcome on My altar; For My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all peoples." (Isaiah 56:7).

we understand that the sukkah represents Peace and Unity as we walk the Way of G-d. Peace and Unity is the desire of HaShem for all people because we are ALL His children. Once the Torah is written on our hearts individually and collectively (Jeremiah 31:33) everyone in the world will abandon idolatry and division and worship the Beloved One alone. THEN there will be peace. As the Gemara (Sukkah 27b) says "All of Israel are fit to sit in one sukkah." Our sages explain that this means that unlike other mitzvot where each person is responsible for himself alone, the sukkah is built for everyone's use. Ushpizin or "guests" of all kinds, are to be welcomed into the sukkah. By this everyone fulfills the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah. The sukkah is a mitzvah that unites all Jews as equals, from the most observant to the least observant. Through the unity of the sukkah the Nation of Priests welcomes the righteous of the nations who come.

Its worth noting that some of our sages view Zechariah’s reference to the sukkah as an allegory. They say that he does not mean that in Olam Haba non-Jews will be required to eat in the sukkah like the Jew nor that they will be punished if they do not. These sages interpret that the gentile world, which will gradually come to embrace the Seven Laws, will be expected to practice the lessons conveyed by the mitzvot of the festival of Sukkot. In other words, that as they "take the hem of the Jew" the Noahidim must forsake their materialism and embrace the consciousness of caretakers of the earth as established in the beginning (Genesis 2:15). Hence we can understand that Zechariah's words, "They have refused to go up to celebrate the festival of Sukkot" — can be understood to mean that they have refused to elevate themselves spiritually and to realize the message that Sukkot teaches humanity. That message is Tikkun Olam. The principle of job of the Noahidim is to repair whatever is broken in our world.

Those Noahidim who embrace this lesson merit to dwell in the sukkah with the Jews. Those people who plagiarize our traditions however, those who practice replacement theologies, and those who abuse our Scriptures and Traditions for anti-Torah purposes such as promoting false 'messiahs' and 'prophets,' will be held accountable to HaShem. For the Noahidim there are great blessings to be found in the Jewish sukkot. As for whether it is proper for them to make their own huts, the sages differ. In my opinion sincere Noahidim who embrace HaShem and honor the Jewish people and our Traditions may built huts and, if they wish, dwell in them although they are under no obligation to do so.



May you have a joyous and blessed Sukkot.

Simchat Torah and Noahidim

 

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