Last night we made it home from Sukkot in north central Kentucky with Beit Minorah. We had to pull up stakes early because I had to be at work today, the high Sabbath, but in His mercy, Abba allowed that work be cancelled today due to the ‘epic rain event’ in South Carolina. We are resting!!
What a terrific Sukkot! Living outside the Land, we have to battle a work and holiday schedule that often competes with Yah’s prescribed appointed days of rest and fun, the Moedim. As a result, we only managed to escape work on Wednesday afternoon and make the drive to the Beit Minorah Sukkot gathering in Kentucky. (A special ‘Thank you’ to Penney and Vicky for giving me the time off seeing as how we are short-handed at work…)
On our way home, we stopped in Knoxville to have a late lunch with two sisters, brothers-in-law, a niece and five nephews. One question they asked was, ‘What do you do at Sukkot?’ So, before explaining ‘Kentucky Krack’ and ‘Tent-Majal,’ I’ll relate a bit about Sukkot for any who might not be familiar…
What is Sukkot?
Scripture lists seven holidays, or more properly, ‘holy days’ that are ‘perpetual, in all your dwelling places, throughout your generations.’ Leviticus 23 gives the major directions for timing and observance of ‘the Lord’s appointed times,’ however there are a few other passages that add layers of detail and understanding. Some of those days are single day observances, but two, Sukkot being one, are one week observances. Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is specifically mentioned in Zechariah 14:16-21 as a future observance for ALL mankind, or they get no rain!
The Feast of Tabernacles is a remembrance of time in the wilderness dwelling in tents, but also a future portent of the Messianic Age when the Messiah dwells with men. Most also believe that it is the time of Yeshua’s birth and brit milah (circumcision), though Scripture only seems to hint at those aspects.
What do you do?
Scripture instructs two high Sabbaths of no work on the first and eighth day as well as
building a sukkah (temporary shelter) and waving the lulav. So, dwelling in temporary structures (tents) and rejoicing before the Lord is the major component. Each Sukkot gathering will be slightly different, but generally there will be times of worship and teaching, lots of laughing and fellowship, dancing, games, kids running everywhere, grills and cooking, etc. Generally, the Feast of Tabernacles is a HUGE amount of mirth and fun! Anyone who has truly experienced Sukkot will not miss it again! What is even better is that God Himself, in Scripture, promises to meet His people on His appointed days.
Some people have camping/Sukkoting down to a science. The Leonard Newlin family from Winchester, KY has been keeping the Feasts for 20+ years, and it shows. The Newlin ‘tribe’ included about 27 children and grandchildren inhabiting a complex of half a dozen tents surrounding the main base, a camper and large tent for a cooking and gathering shelter.
On the end of the large shelter is a tent dedicated solely as the ‘pantry,’ stocked with shelves of food and cooking utensils. In front were multiple cook tops for every conceivable need, tables and a dozen chairs. Among the pots and pans was a neat giant wok that they made fried rice in… the wok was made from a plugged plow disc with welded handles from a horseshoe. Very nice, country and pragmatic… Just my kind of stuff. Wish I had taken a pic so you could see it. (I saw enough to make one…)
Central to a good Sukkot is hospitality and the Newlin’s offered this in spades with invited guests to many of their meals. I had the good pleasure of fellowshiping with them on two occasions. During the first, I noticed that the smoker you see on the left was loaded down with huge chunks of beef, and they offered that they were making ‘Kentucky Krack.’ Really? My curiosity was piqued. So, they invited me for breakfast on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning, packing day for us, dawned with the first sunshine we had seen since coming to Kentucky. We rapidly packed in anticipation of the promised 10 a.m. breakfast at Tent-Mahal. In typical Newlin fashion, the table was spread for a sumptuous breakfast when we and several other guests dropped in. The spread included scrambled eggs, a pile of steaming pancakes, loads of hot coffee and orange juice as well as a tray piled high with ‘Kentucky Krack.’
Kentucky Krack, the story….
Scripture is clear, pork is off the menu and is an abomination to the Lord. He declared so in Leviticus 11 and promises future judgement on it in Isaiah 66:16-17. When we begin to learn to walk in the Father’s ways, it is not uncommon to miss bacon. In fact, our family had gotten pretty good at raising our own hogs and smoking our own bacon such that it was better than most anything we had ever eaten. So, turkey bacon became the most undesirable substitute, though we wanted to please our heavenly Father. After about a year of tolerating turkey bacon, we discovered beef bacon at a local grocery. MUCH better texture and flavor, though still not an exact substitute.
The same experience, shared by most Messianics, was the impetus for Leonard Newlin to break the code on beef bacon. And, the result is nothing less than a version that is as addictive as crack cocaine. Seriously!! It is an absolute bomb! In fact, as we sat under their tent, they invited passers-by to have a taste and the uniform response was exuberant affirmation, often in funny terms. We laughed and laughed. One lady ate a piece and said, ‘You just ruined turkey bacon for me. It is total cr@p!’
My youngest was into the tray a couple times. I didn’t realize how many times until he admitted, to my dismay, that he had had eleven pieces! Seriously, it was amazing…
While I am not at liberty to reveal Leonard’s secrets, I will say, it is worth learning to brine and smoke beef brisket, then chill before slicing and frying. Proper texture is at least partly due to how it is sliced. Their whole process takes about 10 days to generate a nice batch, some of which they have shipped to customers as far away as Alaska! (Them’s enough clues for the diligent to begin to figure out how to make really, really good bacon.)
Maybe, just maybe, the diligent will be able to rival the Newlin’s Kentucky Krack!!
Every Sukkot has been special, and each year the fellowship has been sweet and we have gleaned new things to improve our ‘walk,’ both physically and spiritually. Frank Houtz, leader of Beit Minorah, had excellent teaching on Biblical interpretation methods to feed the soul, and the Newlins showed us some great new camping tricks and challenged us to get more serious on the fellowship and enjoyment of camping.
Thanks to all of the new friends/family we now have in Winchester, KY and the seven or eight represented states, we had a fabulous Sukkot.