And Shabbat is the Holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly. In the Land of Israel, it's also Simchat Torah; here in חו״ל (the Diaspora), Simchat Torah follows Shemini Atzeret.
We all know what Simchat Torah means. But what about Shemini Atzeret?
As it turns out - חז״ל (Our Sages, of blessed memory) also had a problem with Shemini Atzeret.
- In some ways, Shemini Atzeret is the Eighth, Concluding Day of Sukkot. Why else would 'Eighth' be its very name? But Pesach also has concluding days - known simply as Pesach 7 (and in the Diaspora) Pesach 8.
- And in other ways, Shemini Atzeret is its very own holiday. For example: we are not required to eat / dwell in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeret. We are allowed to (of course) - but we don't have to. And we already wrecked our Lulav and Etrog on Hoshana Rabba. As Chabad tells us:
The day after the seventh day of Sukkot ... is a mysterious Jewish holiday. In some respects, Shemini Atzeret is considered as part of Sukkot, but in other respects it is a distinct holiday unto itself.
The enigmatic nature of the day is perhaps most overt in the way the Torah introduces it.
After Sukkot, during which all nations, Jews and non-Jews, celebrated and brought sacrificial offerings to the Temple, G‑d makes a special request of the Jewish people (Leviticus 23:36):
On the eighth day [from the start of Sukkot], it shall be an atzeret to you . . .
The commentator Rashi elaborates that the term atzeret, literally “holding back,” is one of affection, as a father would say to his children who are departing him:
Your departure is difficult for me. Please stay with me for just one more day!
After all the other nations have gone home, G‑d asks the Jewish people to “hold back” for one more day of celebration—Shemini Atzeret.
Which of course brings to what is left, after all these years, of Abq Jew's mind - the Bob Willis-Tommy Duncan Western swing song Stay A Little Longer.
Here performed by the award-winning bluegrass band The Grascals (formerly Dolly Parton's back-up band and opening act).
Featuring (on banjo, of course) Kristin Scott Benson, 2023's IBMA's Banjo Player of the Year (for the fifth time) and 2018 winner (see Shemini Atzeret: Stay A Little Longer!) of the Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) Prize of Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
Kristin Scott Benson, 2018 Steve Martin Prize
for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Recipient
The next frontier of the digital age: robots doing mitzvahs.— Tablet Magazine (@tabletmag) October 4, 2023
Video from author and Tablet contributing editor Dara Horn, who trained this Boston Dynamics robot to shake the lulav. And yes, the robot lives in their house—it's named Spot and it's their only pet. pic.twitter.com/etD8taM5WM