In connection with the festival of Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day of Assembly) our sages tell us a fine parable: A king once arranged a great feast and invited his dear princes and princesses to his palace. Having spent several happy days together, the guests prepared to take leave. But the king said to them: "Pray, stay one more day with me, it's hard for me to part with you!"

So it is with us, our Sages conclude the parable. We have spent many happy days in G‑d's house - in the synagogue. Some of the worshippers are unfortunately rare visitors. G‑d wants to see us an extra day in shul, and so He gave us an extra festival - Shemini Atzeret.

In some congregations it is customary to have hakafot on the night of Shemini Atzeret, just like on the following night of Simchat Torah.

We still eat our meals in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeret, though without the blessing "to dwell in the sukkah" (Leishev basukkah).

The reading of the Torah during the morning service of Shemini Atzeret is the portion of “Asser Te'asser," dealing with the commandment to give tithes. Sukkot is the Festival of Ingathering (Chag H'assif), when the harvest was gathered in from the fields. It was then the time to take off "tithe" in accordance with the commandment of the Torah and to give it to the Levites and the poor.

The "musaf" service is marked by the special prayer for rain.