As we approach the feast of Yom Kippur and Sukkoth many will celebrate Sukkoth in the area where they live, no matter where that maybe. When asked why are they are not going to Jerusalem where He has placed His name, the answers vary from we can not afford it to He places His name on my heart so no matter where I am I can celebrate His feast there.
At first both sides of the spectrum seems right and true. I would give credence to the first one since I find myself in this situation that the finances are not there to go. From where we live we are only 6 hours away by the time we do the boarder crossing and add in the bus ride. Factoring in the cost of lodging and food it is very costly to be there for a 10 day feast. So I get it a lot of times we can’t seem to make ends meet and when you throw in your daily cost of living there is very little money left at the end of the month. As of now we are not able make it for the feast this year, so we, my wife Hannah and I, have decided to set aside the money for Passover next year. Will things come up that it may make it seem that we may not make it. With God all things are possible. Now since we are not able to go this year what are we to do? Are we allowed to celebrate where ever we are? If we are allowed by what scripture allows us to this? What in the Torah allows us this substation? Let me make this easy there is none. I have looked into this because many people I know are doing precisely just that. I have found Jewish sources during the Babylonian exile the rabbis said that since they were in captivity they were be allowed to have Passover in their own homes. (Follow this link for a better understanding.) Now let us look at what it says in Deuteronomy “Do not do as we are doing here today – each one doing whatever is right in his own eyes.b Footnote: bSee Jdg_17:6 and Jdg_21:25. “Because you have not yet entered the rest and the inheritance which יהוה your Elohim is giving you. “But you shall pass over the Yarděn, and shall dwell in the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you to inherit, and He shall give you rest from all your enemies round about, and you shall dwell in safety. “And it shall be, that unto the place which יהוה your Elohim chooses to make His Name dwell there, there you are to bring all that I command you: your ascending offerings, and your slaughters, and your tithes, and the contributions of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to יהוה. “And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim, you and your sons and your daughters, and your male servants and your female servants, and the Lěwite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. “Guard yourself that you do not offer your ascending offerings in every place that you see, except in the place which יהוה chooses, in one of your tribes, there you are to offer your ascending offerings, and there you are to do all that I command you. “Only, whatever your being desires you shall slaughter and eat, according to the blessing of יהוה your Elohim which He has given you, within all your gates. The unclean and the clean do eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike. “Only, the blood you do not eat, pour it on the earth like water. “You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, or of your new wine, or of your oil, or of the firstlings of your herd or your flock, or of any of your offerings which you vow, or of your voluntary offerings, or of the contribution of your hand. “But eat them before יהוה your Elohim, in the place which יהוה your Elohim chooses, you and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Lěwite who is within your gates. And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim in all that you put your hands to. “Guard yourself that you do not forsake the Lěwite as long as you live in your land. “When יהוה your Elohim enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘Let me eat meat,’ because you long to eat meat, you eat as much meat as your being desires. “When the place where יהוה your Elohim chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you shall slaughter from your herd and from your flock which יהוה has given you, as I have commanded you, and you shall eat within your gates as much as your being desires. “Only, as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you are to eat of it. The unclean and the clean alike eat of it. “Only, be strong not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, do not eat the life with the meat. “Do not eat it, you pour it on the earth like water. “Do not eat it, that it might be well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the eyes of יהוה. “Only, the set-apart gifts which you have, and your vowed offerings, you are to take up and go to the place which יהוה chooses. “And you shall make your ascending offerings, the meat and the blood, on the slaughter-place of יהוה your Elohim. And the blood of your slaughterings is poured out on the slaughter-place of יהוה your Elohim, and you eat the meat. “Guard, and obey all these words which I command you, that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of יהוה your Elohim.
Notice the amount of times it is mentioned that where He places His name. Of those when would you bring those offerings? When you went to the Feast. Now let us examine where these feast where supposed to be held.
“Threea times in the year you are to celebrate a festival to Me: Footnote: aThe Festivals of יהוה are grouped in three, for three different times of the year. “Guard the Festival of Matzot.b Seven days you eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the new moon of Aḇiḇ – for in it you came out of Mitsrayim – and do not appear before Me empty-handed; Footnote: bUnleavened Bread. and the Festival of the Harvest,c the first-fruits of your labours which you have sown in the field; and the Festival of the Ingatheringd at the outgoing of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours from the field. Footnotes: cShaḇuʽoth (Festival of Weeks). dSukkot (Festival of Booths). “Three times in the year all your males are to appear before the Master יהוה. “Do not slaughter the blood of My slaughtering with leavened bread, and the fat of My festival shall not remain until morning. “Bring the first of the first-fruits of your land into the House of יהוה your Elohim. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
“Three times a year all your males appear before יהוה your Elohim in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Matzot,e and at the Festival of Shaḇuʽoth,c and at the Festival of Sukkotd. And none should appear before יהוה empty-handed, Footnotes: cWeeks. dBooths. eUnleavened Bread. but each one with the gift of his hand, according to the blessing of יהוה your Elohim which He has given you. Deu 16:16-17