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Does "החג" include שמיני עצרת?

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I commonly see "החג" (or "חג"), literally "the holiday", explained as referring to the holiday of Sukos. I wonder whether it's correct or whether, as I suspect, it refers to the combined celebrations of Sukos and Sh'mini Atzeres. The reasons for that my suspicion are:

  • that the prayer for rain is said on Sh'mini Atzeres, and the mishna in Rosh Hashana says that God passes judgement about rain on "החג";
  • that Shulchan Aruch, OC 644:1, says that we say halel on "all the eight days of החג‎"; and
  • that the combination has no other name that I know of, so it makes sense to give it this name, whereas Sukos has another name, so doesn't need a new one.

Do any sources explicitly address the possibility the "החג" refers to the entire period? Do they accept or reject it and why?

Why should this post be closed?

2 comments

Other examples of חג including the last day is the braitas on Megila 5a and 32a as well as the last mishna there, in particular the elaboration in the tosefta 3:3 ובשאר ימות החג בקרבנות החג... בשמיני ביום השמיני AA​ ‭ about 1 month ago

Taanit mishna 1:3 says 7 marcheshvan is 15 days after חג. So either חג goes through 22 Tishrei or Tishrei has 29 days, no? AA​ ‭ about 1 month ago

1 answer

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Rosh Hashanah 16a.15 provides an example where חג can only mean the first seven days, since the pouring of water didn't take place on the eighth day (Sukkah 4:1). Since it's also interpreting Rosh Hashanah 1:2, which you referred to, it's likely that the חג in connection to the judgment about rain is also referring to the first seven days.

Obviously חג isn't limited to the first seven days, since you already have an example to the contrary. But I think this is enough to prove that it can't be assumed to include the eighth day, and probably doesn't include it in Rosh Hashanah 1:2.

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This is not a good proof. The Gemara says the water libation happens on החג. That is true regardless of the length of החג. Just like one could reasonably say I must eat maror on pesach. AA​ ‭ about 1 month ago

@AA My point is that the Gemara gives the judgment over water as the reason for the water pouring. It's logical that the judgment would be at the same time as the action performed because of it. It's not stated explicitly, though, so I only claim it as likely user8078‭ about 1 month ago

On its own, perhaps, but given the other context of water and חג from taanit, not as compelling. It's important to be clear what's literally "proven" and what's not AA​ ‭ about 1 month ago

@AA No one said "proven." But in my opinion the beginning of Ta'anit supports my reading. Apparently everyone agrees that rain would be mentioned from the beginning of the holiday if not for the fact that it's not a blessing then user8078‭ about 1 month ago

You said "an example where חג can only mean the first seven days". Did you mean "can mean only the first seven days"? I read it as "only can mean the first seven days". AA​ ‭ about 1 month ago

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