First Day
Leviticus 22:26 - 23:44 Maftir Numbers 29:12-16

The Mysticism of Dwell / Return ©

By Dr.Akiva Gamliel Belk

"You shall dwell in the Sukkahs Seven Days, every native born Israelite shall dwell in the Sukkahs so that your generations will know that in the Sukkahs I caused B'nei Yisroel to dwell when I took them [B'nei Yisroel] out from the land of Egypt, I am Hashem, your God. And thus Moses declared the appointed times of Hashem to the B'nei Yisroel." Leviticus 23: 42-44.

The word Tash Voo {meaning “dwell”} jumps off the page. It is spelled {read right to left}:
Vav Bet Shin Tav
Yet the more common spelling is:
Bet Shin Yud

One must wonder why the spelling difference exists. The first important etymology that we should notice is that the spelling of Tash Voo occurs twenty times in Tenach. What is also interesting is that even though the spelling is the same the meaning is not. Sometimes the meaning is not “to dwell” but “to return.” Like many Hebrew words the spelling is the same but the meaning is different. However in this instance both are applicable because when we are commanded to dwell, the intention is to remember or to return to how it was for our ancestors thousands of years ago when they dwelled in Booths / Sukkot.

The difference does not end there.
In the Mishnah we learn that the height of a Sukkah must not exceed 20 cubits. Why? Because then it would be considered a permanent structure. Its construction would require a foundation and greater beams thus making it more permanent. Some Sages say it would be impossible to look over which implies haughtiness. The intention of the Sukkah is humility along with reliance upon Hashem. We see this lesson enwrapped with centuries of discussions from our Sages. Twenty also represents the number of times the letters of Tash Voo occur together in Tenach teaching us that observant Jews must “dwell” and non observant Jews must “return”.

The difference between this usage of Tash Voo, meaning “to dwell” / “to return,” and the more common usage Yaw Shav is 396. The height of a cubit is about 22 inches. When we divide 22 into 396 we get 18 which represents life. According to our sages this refers to the Tree of Life which, according to the Baal Ha Turim, is mystically the Lulav. This is drawn from Proverbs 11:30 were we are informed that “the fruit of the righteous person is a tree of life. When we connect that with Tehillim 92:13 where we read “...a righteous person will flourish like a date palm....,” we make the connection that the righteous person’s tree of life is the date palm whose branch is the lulav. {Ve Chur LaZahav}

So when Jews observe the command to dwell in or return to the Sukkah, mystically that is like eating from the Tree of Life. In other words, from the spiritual standpoint / from the mystical standpoint observing this Mitzvah is like receiving eternal life.

Wishing you the best!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Books by Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk