Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sukkot week 5777 / 2016

 Sukkot
B’midbar 29:17 – 34
Verses 26 – 34

            According to Chabad.org the there are set readings for the five intermediate days (days 2 – 7) for the Festival of HaShem known as Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  For those mathematicians among us, I believe that the mention of the five intermediate days is actually a “scribal error” in that days 2 – 7 actually constitute six days.  
            “On the five intermediate days of Sukkot we read Numbers 29:17 - 34, a portion which describes the communal offerings brought on each day of the holiday. Thirteen bullocks are brought on the first day, twelve on the second, eleven on the third, and so on in descending order until the seventh day, when seven bullocks are offered, bringing the total of bullocks over the seven days of the festival to seventy. Two rams and fourteen goats were also offered each day.
            “Additional offerings of the prescribed meal, wine and oil supplements were brought as well: three tenths of an efah of fine flour, and half a hin each of wine and oil, per bullock; two tenths of flour and a third of a hin of each of the liquids for each ram; and one tenth and one quarter respectively for each lamb.”1
            The divisions of the Aliyot during this feast are also prescribed at the same site.  The divisions are stated as follows:
On the third day of Chol Hamoed (the fifth day of the holiday) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fourth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Sixth Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Fourth Day" and "The Fifth Day" section.
On the fourth day of Chol Hamoed (the sixth day of the holiday) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Sixth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Fifth Day" and "The Sixth Day" section.
On the fifth day of Chol Hamoed (Hoshana Rabbah) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Sixth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Sixth Day" and "The Seventh Day" section. 2

            Perhaps the reader’s interest has been piqued as to why I have only included the Aliyot for days 5 through 7.  As this teaching is to be presented on 19 Tishrei in the year 5777, (October 20, 2016), this day is the fifth day of the feast.
            The specific portion that pertains strictly to today comes from verses       26 – 28 of the 29th chapter of Numbers (B’midbar), and these are shown here and are derived from the NASB.


                        26 Then on the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen                                              male lambs one year old without defect; 27 and their                                            grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for                                               the rams, and for the lambs, by their number according                                               to the ordinance; 28 and one male goat for a sin offering,                                         besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering                                         and its drink offering.


            So the offering which would be presented today, were there The House of HaShem in Jerusalem, would be added to the forty-six bulls, 8 rams, fifty-six lambs and 4 goats already presented during the previous four days.  Likewise, the following two days will bring 15 bulls, 4 rams, twenty-eight lambs, and 2 goats as an offering, which then gives us a grand total of seventy bulls, 14 rams, ninety-eight lambs, and 7 goats.  Additionally, each of the seven days is to include with the above-mentioned burnt offerings grain and drink offerings.
            The eighth day’s offering is somewhat different in number, but then again, the eighth day is not part of the Feast of Sukkot, though the people are told to celebrate an extra day.  There is a statement regarding the eighth day’s offering that has jumped out at me.  It is to be found nowhere in the guidelines for the previous seven days.  The phrase is found in verse 36: “as a soothing aroma to the Lord.”  As a counter-point to that phrase we must also inspect Isaiah 1:11c where it is written, “…and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.”
            Jeremiah 7:22 – 23 recorded the following quote from The Ancient of days, “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.  But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’”
            Therefore, I would like to posit to the readers my opinion as to why the eighth day’s offering was “as a soothing aroma to the Lord.”  As has been quoted above from Jeremiah, Proverbs 21:3 states, “To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.”  The savor that is pleasing to the Lord, that comes from the obedience of His people, and as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, obedience to His Word is the best offering that any person could possibly make.
            Hag sameach, and may He richly bless His holy Word.     

2 ibid.

My apologies to all for the formatting of the Scripture text for Numbers 29:26 - 28 as well as the font difference in the 2nd - 4th paragraphs.  I was inept at getting it to format in the manner that it should have.  -Tom

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