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The description of the Mincha and libations and the majority of wording (and trope) fof the Succot sacrifices described in B'midbar 29:12-29 are identical except for the following changes:

1st day (of Succot) Numbers 29:16:

וּשְׂעִיר־עִזִּ֥ים אֶחָ֖ד חַטָּ֑את

and one he-goat for a sin-offering

2nd day (verse 19):

וּשְׂעִיר־עִזִּ֥ים אֶחָ֖ד חַטָּ֑את

3rd day (verse 22):

וּשְׂעִ֥יר חַטָּ֖את אֶחָ֑ד

4th day (verse 25)

וּשְׂעִיר־עִזִּ֥ים אֶחָ֖ד חַטָּ֑את

5th day (verse 28):

וּשְׂעִ֥יר חַטָּ֖את אֶחָ֑ד

6th day (verse 31):

וּשְׂעִ֥יר חַטָּ֖את אֶחָ֑ד

7th day (verse 34):

וּשְׂעִ֥יר חַטָּ֖את אֶחָ֑ד

8th day (verse 38):

וּשְׂעִ֥יר חַטָּ֖את אֶחָ֑ד

Why the difference in wording for these days? It looks like the majority uses a short version, but, days 1, 2 and 4 differ from the others. Is there something special about these specific days that warranted different phrasing?

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I don't remember where I saw this explanation, it was a while ago. It might have been in one of these, either in Pinchas or in the Yom Tov volume.

They quote someone who suggested that one of שעיר and שעיר עזים refers to Edom and the other refers to Yishmael. I don't remember which is which (although the Ibn Ezra in the פירוש הארוך in Shemot 23:19 says that a שעיר is older than a שעיר עזים, which would indicate that the שעיר is Yishmael).

Based on the Midrash quoted in Rashi that the 70 bulls refer to the 70 nations, they note that 35 of the bulls are on the same day as a שעיר and 35 are on the same day as a שעיר עזים, indicating that Edom and Yishmael each rule over half the nations.

I don't think they mention anything about the שעיר on Shemini Atzeret.

Personally I'm not fully satisfied with what I've said here, it's an interesting starting point but deserves further development.

  • I'm partially satisfied for now. B"N, I'll view what's in the link, later. I'm optimistic that it will improve my satisfaction :-) Thanks for the interesting insight. – DanF Jul 19 '16 at 14:00
  • I've heard this p'shat before. Sheini Atzeres is separate from Sukkos; its se'ir refers to us in Klal Yisrael. – DonielF Jul 20 '16 at 13:24
  • @DonielFilreis I understand it's separate, but you haven't explained why we are represented more by a שעיר than a שעיר עזים. And if I'm remembering right Rashi says the bull, not the goat, refers to Klal Yisrael. – Heshy Jul 20 '16 at 13:34
  • Yeah, I know there were some questions I didn't answer. I don't remember the answers, though. But I do agree it's still problematic at this point. I'll bli neder do some digging. – DonielF Jul 20 '16 at 13:42

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