Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly, immediately follows the preceding seven-day holiday, Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). Shemini Atzeret is related to Sukkot, but is its own holiday. Outside of Israel, it is celebrated as a two-day holiday, with the second day being Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in Torah). In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated simultaneously as a one-day holiday.
Shemini Atzeret means “the Eighth Day of Assembly.” Eight is a very significant number—it symbolizes that which goes beyond nature and its limitations. The covenant of circumcision is performed on the eighth day of a male infant’s life, and the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was inaugurated on the eighth day after seven days of preparation.
Shemini Atzeret is a holiday loaded with layers of meaning. Listen as Ralph Messer explains the significance of this day as well as the lessons it has to teach.
(2-Part Teaching Series)