While most understand the sukkah, the temporary booth Jews build on the holiday of Sukkot, to be a physical manifestation of spirituality, End Times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston revealed in a recent interview that the sukkah is actually deeply connected to the coming of the Messianic age, helping Jews to prepare spiritually for what is to come. This Sukkot, which began last Sunday, the message is clearer than ever as the chaotic “birthpangs” of Messiah become visible to the world.
Rabbi Winston spoke about the connection between the End of Days and the holiday of Sukkot, which is currently being observed in Israel, in an interview with Tamar Yonah of Israel News Talk Radio.
This relationship between the sukkah and the body makes it possible to prepare for the Messianic Age, taught Rabbi Pinchas in the interview. The fact that the sukkah is so temporary, lasting only the seven days of the festival holiday (eight days outside of Israel), has hidden spiritual messages. Rabbi Winston explained, “Don’t forget, in the upcoming year, or the rest of your life for that matter, that this world is temporary. Just like you existed before the sukkah went up and you will exist after the sukkah comes down, so will your soul.”
Rabbi Winston spoke about how the Jewish mystical tradition divides time into three periods: Olam HaZeh (this world), the Messianic Era and Olam haBa (the world to come).
He explained that the transition between Olam haZeh and the Messianic Era is called Chevlei Moshiach (the birthpangs of the Messiah) and is characterized by chaos. We are currently in this transition period, which explains the apparent chaos in the world right now. Rabbi Winston mentioned the current US Presidential election as an example of the chaos that marks this transition.
Rabbi Winston taught that, according to the mystical understanding, the underlying purpose of the chaos is “to polarize the world, to force people to make a decision whether they are more spiritual or more physical. What’s their biggest priority?”
The cut-off point for choosing a spiritual existence over a primarily physical one is the war of Gog and Magog. “Who survives and who doesn’t survive, according to the Zohar (the foundational text of Jewish mysticism), will be based upon the choice the person made prior to the actual event itself,” he stated.
This choice is what Rabbi Winston calls “the final test of history”. He reminds us that whatever is coming, whether it’s Nibiru, nuclear war, Gog and Magog or another end times scenario, it will be “massive” and Divine protection will be required to survive it all. This idea of Divine protection connects Sukkot to the End of Days, the rabbi explained.
According to traditional Jewish thought, the temporary booths we build during Sukkot are a symbol of the ananei hakavod (the Divine Clouds of Glory) with which God protected the Israelites against all the dangers in the desert.
The Mekhilta, an ancient commentary on the Book of Exodus, teaches that there were seven clouds. Four surrounded the Israelites on each side, protecting them from Egyptian enemies and animal predators. A fifth cloud was above them, protecting them from the blazing sun. A sixth cloud was below their feet, which made walking across the rough surface of the desert possible. The seventh cloud passed in front of them, miraculously “leveling the valleys and flattening the mountains.”
According to Rabbi Winston, just as God took care of the Israelites completely in the desert, so He will care of us in the End of Days, if we are willing to rely on Him completely. Thus, dwelling in the sukkah represents reliance on Divine protection and complete trust in God, a quality that will be crucial for surviving the End of Days.