In the Sukkot Torah reading for the Shabbat that falls on Chol Moed, or the intermediate days of Sukkot [“Feast of Tabernacles”], HaShem agrees to Moses’ request that His Presence [Sh’khinato] only dwell amongst the Tribes of Israel, or the Jewish People. This does not of course exclude the Gentiles that have joined themselves to HaShem, and become one with Israel in covenant [the “mixed multitude” of Jews & Gentiles that came out of Mitzrayim/Egypt together]. Moses requests to be shown HaShem’s glory. HaShem agrees, but informs Moses that He will only be shown HaShem’s “back,” not HaShem’s “face”, as he is covered by the hand [kaph] of HaShem, in the “secret place” of the cleft of the rock [SH’MOT / Exodus 33:12-34:26].
HaShem tells Moses to carve new tablets upon which HaShem will engrave the Ten Commandments. Moses takes the new tablets up to Mt. Sinai, where HaShem reveals His glory to Moses while proclaiming His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.
HaShem seals a covenant with Moses, assuring him again that His Presence will only dwell with His Covenant People. HaShem informs the Jewish people that He will drive the Canaanites from before them. He instructs them to destroy all vestiges of idolatry from the land, not to make molten gods, to refrain from making any covenants with its current inhabitants, to sanctify male firstborn humans and cattle, and not to cook meat together with milk.
Israel is commanded to observe the three festivals — including the holy-day of Sukkot, “the festival of the ingathering, at the turn of the year.” All males are commanded to make pilgrimage to “be seen by HaShem ” during these three festivals.
What a pleasure it was was for all of us as a congregation to “dwell under the sukkah”, as HaShem”s Shekhinah dwelled over us! To all my “PEEPS” who sojourned under the “clouds of glory” with us this week of Sukkot, always know that Avinu, Our Father, placed you all in our lives for a purpose! WE LOVE YOU, AND CAN’T WAIT TO FULFILL THE MITZVAH WITH “SH’MINI ATZERET” [The Eight Day Assembly of Sukkot; know in Israel as the same day of “Simchat Torah”], SO WE CAN ROLL BACK THE SCROLL TO BERESHIT! Chazak! Chazak! V’nitchazek! Be strong, be strong, and you will be strengthened! Shanah Tovah! Chag Sameach! [Happy New Year & Happy Holiday!]! Shalom in Messiah! Love Rabbi Brian & family