Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Shmini Atzeret - why Sukkah YES and Lulav NO?

Originally published 10/2/07, 4:00 PM, Eastern Daylight TIme.
Why do we sit in the Sukkah in the Golah on Sukkot but do not take the Lulav etc. on Shmini Atzeret? This question has bothered me since I was a kid - AND there are MANY reasons given.

  1. Why are Hanukkah and Purim observed only 8 and 1 day respectively in the Golah? Why not add a day?
  2. Why is Sefirah done on the 2nd day of Passover as definite and not done on both 2nd and 3rd keeping 2 counts out of doubt?
Answer: The above are only Derabbanan. Extrapolate to Sukkot. Sukkah is D'orraito through ALL 8 Days while Lulav is Derabban after day 1. [Except in the Mikdash, but the mikdash, of course, never has a sfeika d'yoma anyway.]

So Sukkah on the 8th day in the Golah is a "S'feik D'oraitta l'humra" while Lulav is a "S'feik Derabbana l'kulah."

Q: But Rabbi - why isn't this answer given?
A: Wolpoe's Rule #1 of Oral Law -
We often know the WHAT to Do, but we do not always know the WHY!
This model seems to me more straightforward than the various answers I have seen given over the years!

Gmar Tov,

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