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Shemini Atzeret

One extra day of Holiday.

Holiday of Sukkot should be observed for 7 days. But it is said in Numbers 29:35: “On the eighth day you shall hold a solemn gathering; you shall not work at your occupations”.

But what is a reason for this additional day of rest? Scholars and Talmudists explain it like this: Our Lord had invited us to sit with Him in our Sukkahs for seven days. Sukkot is a joyful holiday when people are singing prayers and hymns to God.  He was so pleased with His people, that when the time to leave the Sukkah came, He asked them to stay there for one more day.

On Shemini Atzeret Jewish people are re-starting the annual cycle of the Torah reading. This tradition started two thousand years ago. The reading begins and ends on this holiday. So this day is also a beginning of the Simchat Torah – Celebration of Torah.

There is another tradition characteristic to Shemini Atzeret – it is a prayer for rain, “Tefilat HaGeshem”. Rain is a blessing in our sunny country, and only comes in winter. People are praying that G-d will bring our thirsty Land to life, by sending us enough rain during winter season.

Joy and happiness prevail on this day of double celebration.

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