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A 2nd day of Yom Tov is observed outside of Israel because of sfeika d'yoma - (doubt which day Rosh Hodesh was declared, and thus, which day is the 1st day of the holiday.)

The Torah states that one should sit in the succah for 7 days. Thus, outside, of Israel, since we are not sure which day was the 1st day of Succot, I would think that this would mean that we should sit in the succah for eight days. Thus, if that's true, why should there be a debate about this. Furthermore, since sitting in the succah is a Torah commandment, following the rule of safel brachot D'Oraitah lehacmir, (in cases of making blessings related to a Torah-bound mitzvah, we are stringent), it seems that we should be making the bracha on this, as well. So, why don't we do this?

marked as duplicate by Yishai, mevaqesh, Danny Schoemann, Isaac Moses, Gershon Gold halacha Oct 8 '15 at 13:45

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  • "we are not sure which day was the 1st day of Succot": I'm sure which day is the first day of Sukos. The second day is a rabbinically imposed requirement (or required custom), not an actual doubt. – msh210 Oct 7 '15 at 22:52
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    "following the rule of [safek] brachot D'Oraitah lehacmir, (in cases of making blessings related to a Torah-bound mitzvah, we are stringent), it seems that we should be making the bracha on this": There is no such rule AFAIK. Where reciting the blessing itself is a divinely-imposed obligation, we act l'hachmir, but not when the b'racha is merely related to a divinely-imposed obligation (like the b'racha on living in a suka). – msh210 Oct 7 '15 at 22:54
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The most basic explanation of the issue is that the day becomes a tarti disasri, a self contradiction. How can it be both the last day of Succos and Shmini Atzeres?

I've heard many drashos trying to explain in depth what the issue is to actually enjoin it as a multiplicity of days, but I will offer one that seems simple.

The wording used in the Tur siman 668 as to why we don't make a blessing on sitting in the succah is " ואין מברכין על ישיבתה שאם כן היינו עושין אותו חול. We don't make a blessing on sitting in it, because we will then have made it mundane."

Seemingly, the issue is not that the day will then be both the holiday of Succos and the holiday of Shmini Atzeres, this would not be a problem if both days were actual holy days. The problem is that the last day of Succos is in fact Chol Hamoed, thereby less holy than the actual holiday of Shmini Atzeres. We cannot have a day that is both holy and unholy.

Other drashos have revolved around Shmini Atzeres and being so intrinsically connected that mixing them is a bigger issue than mixing say Chanukah and Shmini Atzeres would be.

Of course to what degree one takes issue with this contradiction of days is how various minhagim were established, don't sit in the succah at all, sit during the day not the night, sit without a bracha, or sit with a bracha. See the Mishna Berurah in the aforementioned siman.

  • This may seem like a silly "rebuttal", but, it seems that, in a sense, we are overriding a contradiction. If Sucot is supposed to be 7 days, then it should be 8 days outside Israel. Is there something that dictates that if we might think that the 8th day is really the 7th, that means that, perhaps, we should BEGIN Shmini Atzeret a day LATER than in Israel, b/c perhaps the 9th day is really the 8th day, and we should have 10 days to celebrate in total, leaving our 8th day as Hol b/c maybe it really is the 7th day? – DanF Oct 8 '15 at 15:23
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    I'm sorry, I'm not really following. The saffek goes both ways. The saffek of succos turns the seven into eight. The saffek of Shmini Atzeres turns the one day into two. They overlap one day, the 'eighth' of succos, and the 'first' of Shmini Atzeres. There is no need for a tenth. – user6591 Oct 8 '15 at 15:30

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