Part #5 (The Fall Feasts – SHEMINI ATZERET AND ‘THE LULAV’)! (11-7-20)
*(JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT ALL THE CELEBRATIONS WERE OVER, GOD ASK, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY WITH ME A LITTLE LONGER?)*
Visualize yourself planning and organizing a ‘7 DAY REUNION’ where you nearly invite everyone CLOSE TO YOU, as well as all the people from all the old neighborhood, (INCLUDING PEOPLE YOU DON’T EVEN REMEMBER)! But this is no "regular" reunion: ‘IT’S ONE SOLID WEEK OF ‘FOOD, MUSIC, DANCE AND FUN’! (ALL AT YOUR EXPENSE)! Sooner or later, things are going to start winding down and people will begin to leave. Because you are the host, you quietly go over to a few of ‘Your Closest Best Friends And Whisper: ‘STICK AROUND AFTER EVERYONE ELSE LEAVES, THAT’S WHEN I’LL BREAK OUT THE GOOD WINE!
Shemini Atzeret: (NEW BEGINNINGS AND COMPLETIONS) ‘THERE CAN BE NO ‘NEW BEGINNING, WITHOUT SOMETHING FIRST ENDING’! What began on PASSOVER and SHAVU’OT (PENTECOST), will come to full fruition with ‘God’s Holidays of ‘The 7th Month of Tishrei’.
In its instruction concerning ‘THE BIBLICAL FESTIVALS’, The Word of God presents us with a Seemingly Contradiction.
‘On the 15th Day of The 7th Month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall Celebrate The Feast Of The LORD ‘7 DAYS’. On the 1st Day shall be a solemn rest, and on ‘THE 8TH DAY’ shall be a solemn rest’.
This verse clearly tells us that ‘The Feast of TABERNACLES is exactly ‘7 DAYS’ long. So how can it have an ‘8TH DAY’? It’s like saying (JANUARY 32ND). It is almost as if The Word of God wants to ‘Stump’ us concerning this Festival.
Since Tabernacles is ‘7 DAYS’ long, the ‘8TH DAY’ must be a different Festival of its own. The Word of God specifically states that the Commandment associated with ‘The Feast of Tabernacles’ consist of sitting in The Booth and Waving The 4 Species, are required for only ‘7 DAYS’. On the other hand, the associated ‘8TH DAY’, must be a part of ‘The Feast of Tabernacles’, otherwise The Word of God would not have called it the ‘8TH DAY’, connecting it to the other ‘7 DAYS’!
The 7 Days of Tabernacles that end with ‘Hoshanah Rabbah’ (The Last Great Day of The Feast), are immediately followed by another Holiday called in Hebrew: ‘SHEMINI ATZERET’, which is referred to in The Word of God’, simply as ’THE 8TH DAY OF ASSEMBLY’.
The Sages of Israel interpreted this to mean that God asks all who made The Pilgrimage for The 7 Days of Tabernacles, to ‘TARRY’ or ‘ATZERET’ (which comes from the Hebrew root word meaning (ATZAR) – ‘To hold back’ and to Celebrate with Him 1 more Day!
According to the ancient writings of The Sages in: (Talmud, Sukkah 46b, 47a):
‘Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day), is considered a full Holiday itself, but none of the particular commands concerning Tabernacles are observed (though some still eat in their Sukkah (Booth) while others do not, as described in the ancient writings of The Sages in (Talmud, Sukkah 46b, 47a). However, since it is a ‘Separate Holiday’, the usual traditions such as candle lighting, saying Kiddush, refraining from work, attending special congregational services, etc., are practiced…
Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day), is perhaps best known for ‘The Tefillat Geshem’, translated as: ‘THE PRAYER FOR RAIN’. This prayer for The Blessing of Rain, is recited during the Musaf service (an additional prayer service recited right after the morning service). This Specific Prayer For Rain is inserted in the 2nd section (Petition) of the (Amidah or Sh’moneh Esrei), where the phrase…
‘Mashiv HaRuach U'Morid HaGeshem’ appears, which is interpreted as…
(HE WHO MAKES THE WIND BLOW AND MAKES THE RAIN DESCEND), is added to The Blessing. This addition to the wording of the Amidah is hereafter recited until PASSOVER.
To better understand this ‘8TH DAY’ (SHEMINI ATZERET), The Ancient Sages of Israel explained it best in a Story (Midrash):
(Midrash, B’midbar Rabbah 21):
“You may compare Shemini Atzeret (Eight Day), to a King who had a Festival for 7 Days (Tabernacles), where He invited the whole World to ‘7 DAYS OF FEASTING and CELEBRATION’! When the ‘7 DAYS’ (Tabernacles), were over and the visitors of The World had gone, The King said to His Friends and Family: ‘Stay Behind And ‘Tarry - Atzar’, 1 MORE DAY (Shemini Atzeret), and Let us now have a small Meal Together, JUST YOU AND I’!
Therefore, all the teachings concerning ‘THE 8TH DAY’ (SHEMINI ATZERET), is only offered to those who desires to ‘HANG OUT WITH GOD, AS LONG AS YOU CAN’!