Temporary dwellings during Sukkot

MK, Bellville

I would like to ask a question pertaining to Sukkoth.In Wayyiqra 23:42-44 we are commanded to dwell in booths for 7 days.The Hebrew word for dwell is “yashab” which has the meaning to “sit (down)”,”remain”,”dwell” or “settle”.The hebrew word for booth is,as you know, “sukkah” which has the meaning of “hut”,”lair”,”tabernacle” or “tent”.It can be seen that a temporary dwelling is what is referred to.

According to my understanding we are to erect temporary dwellings and dwell in them for 7 days to remind us (the generations) of how Yahweh caused our fathers to dwell in sukkahs for 40 years.I just think that leaving a person’s structured home for another structured building (such as a chalet or hotel,for instance) is contrary to what Yahweh commanded.

Please understand that I am not trying to cause disension but I am trying to follow the Father’s
Words to the best of my ability.I would like to have your opinion on this matter. How do you read
this passage in Scripture?
Looking forward to hear your reply.


You are of course absolutely right about a “succah” being a temporary dwelling and not a structured building of any kind. When approaching the time of Succot, we usually encourage fellow believers to join us staying in tents (or similar kinds of genuine temporary dwellings) for at least a couple of days. We realise that the period commanded is in fact 7 days, and we are trying to achieve this as far as possible but are sometimes extremely restricted by practical circumstances. It is also for practical reasons that some believers (many of whom are older and/or physically burdened) choose to stay in a caravan or a chalet at Noordhoek – neither of which is temporary in the true sense of the word – for them, however, the experience (and even the “discomfort”) is more or less the same as staying in a temporary dwelling. My suggestion would be that this arrangement should be seen as a last resort and not the general rule.

As for myself, I am hoping that we may all come into a pattern where as many of us as possible can take our annual vacation (or annual leave) during the period of Succot (and not the month of December) so that we may participate in this feast as wholeheartedly and as faithful to Scriptures as possible. This does not even have to be at a place like Noordhoek, or for that matter, any other place where a group of believers are gathering with Succot in mind. There is no reason why we could not be looking at erecting temporary dwellings right outside our own homes and “yashav” (sit down, dwell, settle, remain – which means: at least do certain basic “home” activities like eating or sleeping in these as families) for 7 days! We all have this newly found desire to keep the Feast as faithfully as possible, even though certain aspects of the feast (like bringing offerings and a harvest of fruit) cannot be kept accurately and also even though we may not be “native Yisraelites” as stated in Wayyikra 23:42. The word for “native” is “ezrach” which means “born in the land” as opposed to foreigners and strangers (like us), who were not born in the land but (by Yahweh’s favour) joined the people and the Elohim of Yisrael. If Yahweh has indeed given us (“non-ezrachim” or “non-natives”) a place within his walls and a name that is better that that of sons and daughters (as declared in YeshaYahu 56) then the choice to observe the feasts in accordance with the Scriptural command, is not a difficult one. We just need to find ways in which to overcome the hindrances that often hold us back in this regard.