Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Sukkos and Simchas Torah

Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Sh'mini Atzeres: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

In issue #47, we mentioned that we were given the commandment to take the Lulav and Esrog so that we would have a reminder during Sukkos that the happiness we feel on the holiday is to be directed towards Hashem. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that on other holidays, we do not need such a reminder because of the various commandments associated with the day. One example is by Passover, because we have the commandments to eat Matzo and Maror, no further commandment is needed to assure that the focus of our happiness on the day is directed towards Hashem. The Sefer HaChinuch adds that by the holiday of Shmini Atzeres (which is the eigth day of Sukkos), although we have no special commandment on the day, we do not need anything to focus our happiness on Hashem. Why is this the case?

In Vayikra 23:36, the Torah tells us "...on the eight day, you will have a holy is a day of detention ("Atzeres")...." The Sefer HaChinuch writes that the Sages have told us that in reality, Shmini Atzeres is not the eighth day of Sukkos, but rather a separate holiday, which occurs at the end of the Sukkos holiday. What was the reason why Hashem commanded us to observe this day as a holiday? The Sefer HaChinuch explains that Sukkos is the last holiday of the Jewish calendar (if we consider the month of Nissan as the beginning of the year, and Pesach the first holiday). By giving us this holiday of Shmini Atzeres, its as if Hashem was telling us "Please, stay with me one more day, as it is difficult for me to part with you." Hashem, out of his great love for the nation of Israel, finds it hard to "leave" his children at the end of the holidays. Therefore, He added on one more day, so we, the nation of Israel, can spend one more day with Hashem before our "departure."

Now that we understand the spirit behind Shmini Atzeres, we can also understand why we need no added commandment to assure that our joy stays properly focused. As the whole essence of the holiday is that we are spending a little more time with Hashem before we "leave" (as we will not be "returning" until Pesach), our mind will be focused on Hashem throughout the holiday. No added reminder is necessary, as there is nothing to distract us from remembering our close binds to Hashem on this day.

Check out all of the posts on Elul and Rosh HaShana. Head over to to access the YomTov Page. Then click on the icon for the holiday of your choice.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.



View Complete List

Evil Without
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

The Buck Stops Here
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

The Final Letters Spell 'Emes'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Nobody Ever Promised We'd Understand
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

A Superior Primary Education
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Small Bang
Shlomo Katz - 5761

> Bereishis Tidbits
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

One Man
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Know that you Know Nothing
Shlomo Katz - 5755


A Tree Grew in Manhattan
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Reality Check
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Shabbos Bereishis -- Bridge
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Delayed "Ki Tov"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

In the Bias of the Beholder
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

It Was a Misunderstanding...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

"Special Mitzvos" Earn Divine Favor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information