Day One & Two: Leviticus 22:26- 23:44

Maftir for Both Days:
Numbers 29:12 - 16

Day One: Zachariah 14:1-21 - Day Two: 1Kings 8:2-21

Tabernacle In The Wilderness ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of my Grandparents, Mr. Michael and Mrs. Channah Sakash may they rest in peace.

When I was much younger visiting wilderness areas was normal for my father may he live and be well, my brothers and on occasion for my mother may she rest in peace. Daddy and I would try to visit several remote places each year. We owned a jeep with a winch. We took our come a long as back up for difficult places. We often took our motor bikes in addition to our jeep. This was long before motor bikes were popular as they are today. Then they were large and bulky. Sometimes we would back pack into an area. This was decades before the quick meals... the dry meal packages etc. Sleeping bags back then were just to heavy to back pack. We did’nt back pack bottled water or soda pop. We took hard tack bread, canned beans and vegetables. We gathered our water from streams and lakes and boiled it. Normally we did not take a tent. Once we took an old army pup tent. It was heavy. It leaked. It did not have a floor. We had to dig trenches around the perimeter of the tent to keep the water out. This was suppose to be a two / three man tent but there was barely room for my daddy and me. Normally we would gather fresh pine limbs from the forrest and build a lean-to. One had to use fresh pines because we would built a huge fire at night for warmth and protection from wild animals. Dry pines could easily catch on fire so we couldn’t use them to build our lean-to. We did not bring extra changes of cloths except for socks to keep our feet dry. Plastic bags did not exist in those days. We packed in two tarps. One tarp was to cover our food the other was to cover us. We gathered soft pine branches and laid them four or five inches deep in our lean-to. We laid half our tarp over the branches and the other half of the tarp covered daddy and me. Sometimes we did not build a lean-to. We sleep, that is we tried to sleep... under the stars. A clear sky at night was most beautiful filled with bright colorful stars. We would get as close to the large fire as possible then cover the soft pine branches with our tarp and then cover ourselves.

We had an old dog named Prince. He was a fine dog. Prince was a blue gray short hair hunting dog imported from Germany. On one night my Father, younger brother and myself lay asleep by the fire. It was a cold night. We were all nuzzled in close to each other and to the fire. We were each covered by the tarp except for our feet. The tarp was to short. Our feet stuck out. Damp night air was blowing off of Surprise lake. We were camped a short distance from the lake, about twenty feet. Prince was off running about through the forrest. He was barking and raising a fuss. He had been barking for maybe twenty minutes. He was getting close to camp but his bark was still off in the distance. We heard a noise at the edge of our camp. We looked up and there was a full grown mountain lion watching us. We were in the Eagle Nest Gore Range Area where no vehicles were permitted. This mountain lion was not accustom to visitors, camp fires or old dogs. He was frozen in position to strike just about fifteen feet away from us at the edge of our camp. I am told that Mountain lions can leap up to thirty feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet in a strike or a bounce. They are very powerful animals. A full grown male weighs up to two hundred pounds. We lay their as daddy reached for his only weapon a World War II pistol. I think it was a 22. Prince was now very close. His bark was loud. The big cat turned and in one large bounce was gone. We rolled over and tried to go back to sleep...

Now I have never built a tabernacle in such a place as B’nei Yisroel did in the BaMidbar. I have not lived in a Sukkah / Booth for nearly forty years. I have not put a Sukkah up one day and been required to take it down the next, then traveled a ways and put the sukkah up again... I have not felt the wilderness experience as B’nei Yisroel did. Yet I have though about what it must have been like for our ancestors thousands of years ago... The lean-to we built from branches qualified as a Sukkah in the wilderness. Our lean-to had three sides and a roof. One could see the stars through the branches covering our roof. When it rained our lean-to leaked. We also experienced the need to trust in Hashem for protection. Each of these experiences are required for a Sukkah to be genuine. One must trust Hashem for good weather. One must trust Hashem for protection regardless if one’s Sukkah is in the city or in the mountains. One must feel somewhat vulnerable...

Dear ones every Jew is required to use a sukkah during these Seven Days. This is not a requirement for Spiritualists. The Torah states, “In sukkot [all of] you shall dwell for Seven Days. All [and the] native [born] In Yisroel shall dwell in the Sukkot. Leviticus 23:42

According to the Sages this includes even the convert living outside of Yisroel because of the word “Cawl” {ALL} in “All / Every native [born] In Yisroel...” Why? Because the Cawl is not required to make the statement understood. The Torah could have simply said “natives [born] in Yisroel shall dwell in the Sukkot.” The all is understood without actually saying it. Therefore the Cawl must be for another reason. That reason is to include Cawl “All” Yisroel. This is one of those places where one must understand the intention of Torah and translate the intention as well.

This intention is later reenforced in the next verse. “For the sake that future generations will know that in sukkot I made everything from Aleph to Tav of B’nei Yisroel Dwell when I removed them from the land of Mitzriam.” Leviticus 23:43 Here the word “Eht” which I believe to be translated as “everything from Aleph to Tav of” enforces what the Sages say.

Now having said this it is our desire at that every Jew should have a very good Sukkot this year and every year.

Wishing you the best!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Books by Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk