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Living in the Hut
October 13, 2008, 7:54 am
Filed under: SHIMINI ATZEROT, succah, Succot | Tags:

Shimini Atzerot    October 6 2015

The real meaning of Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Binding) is a Divine mystery of awesome significance. It is the final time of spiritual harvesting of the work we have done in Elul, RoshHashanah, Yom Kippor and Succot. Simchat Torah is a part of Shemini Atzeret. “Atzeret” can be translated as assembly or collection. As on this day, we assemble within ourselves a STOREHOUSE OF ENERGY which will fuel our efforts through the remainder of the year, as its JOY energizes our continued efforts through the year.

Shemini Atzaret is the spring of the Torah, to water the tree, which is planted in the garden, and it’s roots and branches are like the “axis of the world” (Isa. 40:20), they all are leading to her.

Shemini Atzeret is the day of Divine Judgment for Rain. On it we make a special prayer for rain.Rain, descends from the skies. It alludes to “Ruach HaKodesh” (the Holy Spirit) ultimately, and as the sages say, there is no water but Torah. Concerning this David prayed, “As the hart panteth after the water brook, so panteth my heart after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). Water is the foundation of all life on earth. We could not live without it. In fact, water forms about 80% of our physical human bodies. Shemini Atzeret also is called “The Eighth Day of Assembly” as after Elul, RoshHashanah, Yom Kippor and the intense seven days of Succot God longs for his people an does not want to see them leave and go back to their homes and normal secular activities so there is one more day of closeness. It is as the “encore” of a concert. Shemini Atzeret is a very intimate union and, which follows after the universal Feast of Sukkot. It is a close family union, with much deeper more profound insights and depth of meaning and spirituality.

Shemini Atzeret is the beginning of the planting season. From this point we are able to work hard to nurture our NEW BEGINNING that we developed from the flow of Divine energy from Elul, RoshHashanah, Yom Kippor and Succot. On Shemini Atzeret we seek God’s help so we may GROW AND DEVELOP our NEW BEGINNING. Shemini Atzeret is the completion of one cycle, and the beginning of another NEW cycle. God begins the “rain” in order to produce a new crop and a new harvest! Shemini Atzeret represents the beginning of a new RAINY SEASON, during which the earth is nourished by rain from the heavens. Spiritually, then, it represents the pouring out the NEW flow of Divine energy of the New year. 7 as in the 7 days of Succah represents completion, as the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, which completes the week so “eight” represents “A NEW BEGINNING.” In the future Temple described in Ezekiel, we find that there will be seven steps that lead into the outer court (Ezek.40:22, 26); however, there will be eight steps that lezd from the outer court to the inner court (Ezek.40:31, 34, 37). Also the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests required seven days of being set apart (Lev.8:35), but it was on the “eighth day” that they were anointed as “priests,” thus “A NEW BEGINNING.” Circumcision too, is to performed on the EIGHTH DAY (Gen.17:12).

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David was the “eighth” son of Jesse, thus also beginning a “new dynasty” in Israel when he became king (I Sam.16:10-11; II Sam.7:12). “Shemini Atzeret” is the “staging ground,” THE THRESHOLD of a the NEW BEGINNING of the NEXT PHASE of God’s Plan. There are 8 sides in a cube.

The sages in Gemore and Midrash describe Shemini Atzeret like this :

During the week of Sukkot, seventy bulls were brought as Mussaf offerings on the altar in the “Bet Hamikdash” (Temple). On Shemini Atzeret, only one bull is sacrificed. The seventy bulls the Jews offer to God for the seventy nations of the world. The one bull of Shemini Atzeret is brought to the God for the unique nation of Israel. This is as a king who had held a festival for seven days and invited all of the country’s inhabitant (the nations of the world) to the seven days of feasting. When the seven days of feasting were over, he said to his friend (Israel), ‘Let us now have a privae meal together, just you and I.

Rabbi Noach of Lechowitz explains, The theme of Shemini Atzeret may be better understood if we think of it in terms of a BRIDE AND GROOM. During the wedding, they are both decked out in a wardrobe of exquisite, elegant clothes and jewelry. However, when they come together in their private chamber, they remove their garments and jewelry. Concerning this Rabbi Shneur Zalman teaches that Shemini Atzeret is not identified with any specific symbol. It is not celebrated matzah, shofar, or lulav. As by the time we reach Shemini Atzeret we should have reached a state of happiness that requires no external symbols. Its joy stems from the depth of man’s inner self, his own Soul.


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