Deuteronomy 16:16
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16  Three times a year—on the festival of Pesach, on the festival of Shavuot, and on the festival of Sukkot—all your males shall appear before Hashem your God in the place that He will choose. They shall not appear before Hashem empty-handed,

sha-LOSH p’-a-MEEM ba-sha-NAH yay-ra-EH khol z’-khu-r’-KHA et p’-NAY a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha ba-ma-KOM a-SHER yiv-KHAR b’-KHAG ha-ma-TZOT u-v’-KHAG ha-sha-vu-OT u-v’-KHAG ha-su-KOT v’-LO yay-ra-EH et p’-NAY a-do-NAI ray-KAM

טז  שָׁלוֹשׁ פְּעָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה יֵרָאֶה כָל־זְכוּרְךָ אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחָר בְּחַג הַמַּצּוֹת וּבְחַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת וּבְחַג הַסֻּכּוֹת וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה רֵיקָם׃

 16:16   Three times a year

The Chinese delegation at the Jerusalem march, Sukkot 2013

The Hebrew word shalosh (שלוש) means ‘three.’ The number three indicates a strong unit or bond, as it says in Megillat Kohelet (4:12), “A threefold cord is not readily broken.” Perhaps for this reason, there are three times a year when every Jew is commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim and to appear before Hashem in the Temple. This ensures that he will reconnect with his Creator at least three times a year, and that the bonds between them will remain strong.

 16:16   On the Feast of Booths

Sukkot stands out from the other pilgrimage festivals in that its celebration is not limited to the Jewish people. Rather, the Sages explain (Sukkah 55b) that a total of seventy bulls were brought as burnt-offerings throughout the Feast of Booths, on behalf of all seventy nations of the world. This served as a mighty display of universal solidarity and worship of the one true God of Israel. The Sages of the Midrash conclude that had the Babylonians and Romans understood the universal benefit that the Beit Hamikdash provided, they would never have destroyed it and would even have built a protective fortress around it. The prophet Zecharya promises that in the time of Mashiach, Sukkot will once again be celebrated in Yerushalayim by all the nations of the world: “All who survive of all those nations that came up against Yerushalayim shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King Lord of Hosts, and to observe the festival of Sukkot” (Zechariah 14:16). This prophecy has begun to be fulfilled through the thousands of non-Jewish visitors from all over the world who come to Yerushalayim each year for Sukkot.


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Deuteronomy 16:16

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