Succot: Why 8 Days?

Question

Hi Rabbi , why does the holiday of Succot last for eight days instead of seven days like Passover? Ty

 

 

, , 1 month

Answers

  1. Regarding Succot the Torah writes: “On the first day it shall be a day of rest and on the eighth day it shall be a day of rest.” But we know that the mitzvah of living in the succah lasts for seven days, not eight. What is the significance of the eighth day?

    The number seven represents the physical world, eight the spiritual. For seven days the succah shows us that the world is temporary. Just as we rejoice in the succah, which is a temporary structure, so too must one rejoice with the notion that life is temporary. Life is temporary? How can we rejoice?

    The answer is the eighth day. On the eighth day, Simchat Torah, we do not take the four species and we do not sit in the succah. It would seem that the festival of Succot is over. But it is not so.

    Simchat Torah, which begins anew the yearly cycle of reading the Torah, is a Yom Tov. This shows us that the Torah extends through the physical realm and beyond. Torah is the source of all creation and life, existing forever. So if one understands that the eighth day, Simchat Torah, gives meaning and life to the other seven days, then one rejoices. True joy comes when one discovers the real meaning of life.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team