The Feast of Tishri is the title that the Scottish Rite adopted as one of the recognized formal affairs in Scottish Rite Masonry. The significance of the Feast of Tishri rests on three factors: First, the wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years; Second, the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple; and Third, the Harvesting Time and Thanksgiving to God for His Blessing and Bounty.
Scottish Rite Recognition
In 1866, the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States proclaimed the Feast of Tabernacles as the Feast Day of the Lodge of Perfection, the 15th day of Tishri, (October) which we, the Valley of Mobile, celebrate on the first Monday of October. As did the Israelites of old and the New England Pilgrims, Scottish Rite Freemasons gather to acknowledge the mercies which God has poured upon them with lavish hands. It is a time of rejoicing, yet a time to pay humble adoration to the Great Architect of the Universe, without whom there would be no harvest.
As the children of Israel were led through the wilderness, God decreed the celebration of a seven-day feast in the Jewish month of Tishri, during which they were to live in sukkah “succoth”. In the Book of Leviticus, The Lord spoke unto Moses and said the 15th day of the 7th month, namely “Tishri”, when the people had gathered in the fruits of the land, they should “Feast Unto The Lord”, while dwelling in sukkah, booths or tents. All three words mean temporary dwellings made from branches, twigs and canvas or cloth, and garlanded with citrus fruits. This feast was to be celebrated annually to forever remind the Israelites that He had rescued them from Egypt. This “Feast of Tishri” (or “Feast of Succoth”) is thus a symbol of freedom. When King Solomon completed his Temple more than four centuries later, it was dedicated during the Feast of Tishri, and this association led to its adoption by Scottish Rite Masonry to symbolize our dedication to brotherly love and human accord in a peaceful world.
Completion/Dedication of the Temple
Deut. 16:13—Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles after thou hast gathered in thy corn and wine. The Feast of Tabernacles also commemorates the ceremonies of the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple, which began in the year 2992 A.L.*, and finished in a little more than seven years. Six months after its completion, in the month of Tishri—the seventh month of the Jewish calendar—the temple was dedicated with reverential ceremonies to the one Living and True God. That these ceremonies would reach the highest religious significance, King Solomon postponed the dedication until the Feast of Tabernacles, the 15th day of Tishri, a day he well knew would bring every zealous Israelite to Jerusalem.
* Anno Lucius—Freemasonry adds 4,000 years to our current calendar year (example: 2011 becomes 6011 A.L.).
HarvestingTime/Thanksgiving to the Lord
When King Solomon dedicated the first Temple, he was not dedicating a mere structure, he was praying for all mankind. It is the Brotherhood of Man that is the very cornerstone of our Masonic Brotherhood and philosophy. We, therefore, can give thanks to the Great Architect of the Universe and celebrate this Feast Day as a Feast of Scottish Rite Masonic Thanksgiving. We can thank Our Creator for our many blessings: home, family, friends and for a Country where we enjoy religious and political freedoms even greater than our Forefathers ever dreamed. It is no accident we call ourselves “FREE” MASONS, for we believe in the freedoms our Founding Fathers established for our Country. We must, therefore, rededicate ourselves to maintaining those freedoms by putting into practice the virtues we have learned.