The festival that falls on 22 Tishri and is the eighth day of the festival of Tabernacles. Shemini means ‘eighth’ and Atzeret is usually translated as ‘Solemn Assembly’, thus ‘the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly’, although Atzeret may mean ‘adjunct’; so that this festival is understood to be a complement to Tabernacles as Shavuot is to Passover. According to the Rabbis, Shemini Atzeret is also a festival in its own right in some respects. It is mentioned as a separate festival in the book of Leviticus (23: 36) and in the book of Numbers (29: 35) in the list of festivals. There are no special rituals for Shemini Atzeret except that on it the special prayer for rain called Geshem (‘Rain’) is recited during the Musaf (‘Additional Service’) of the day. In Israel Shemini Atzeret is also the festival of Simhat Torah but in the Diaspora Simhat Torah is celebrated on the next day, though it is still referred to as Shemini Atzeret. As the culmination of the penitential season from Rosh Ha-Shanah to Yom Kippur and of the festive season of Tabernacles, Shemini Atzeret is the most joyous festival in the Jewish calendar, though the joy is expressed in a less boisterous manner than on Purim.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.