Why do certain communities say shemini chag haatzeret haze and not chag shemini atzeret haze like all the other festivals (chag hasukkot, chag hapesach). Why is the word chag in the middle of the name?

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    Welcome Benza at MY and thank you for the question! Please note that we do not write in all caps. – Kazi bácsi Sep 27 at 9:09
  • You would see the answer if you would cite the whole phrase, as I added in Hebrew. It starts with "ביום השמיני", on the 8th day [of Succos, which is] Chag Atzeres. In other words, Hashmini refers to Beyom, not to Chag Atzeres. – Al Berko Sep 27 at 10:52
  • @alberko the phrase is ותתן לנו... את יום שמיני חג העצרת הזה and Shmini might refer to Yom, but that's not so conclusive – Double AA Sep 27 at 11:26
  • @DoubleAA It's simple Hebrew. Why "might"? Azeres is the Succos' 8th day. – Al Berko Sep 27 at 16:49
  • @AlBerkon In Hebrew we call the 8th day of Sukkot שמיני עצרת. No one says they are visiting their uncle for עצרת. The word Yom might refer to the whole holiday name שמיני חג העצרת, just like Yom in יום חג המצות refers to the whole holiday name. That's the simplest understanding – Double AA Sep 27 at 16:51

This is addressed by R. Mordechai Yaffe. He explains that the formulation that you suggest could imply that there are eight holidays in the year or that each day of Sukkot is considered it's own holiday, both of which are false:

Levush O.C. 668:1

אבל אין לומר יום חג שמיני העצרת הזה שהיה משמעותו שהוא חג השמיני הנקרא עצרת וכו' וא"כ היה משמע לשונו שהוא החג השמיני וזה שקר שאין לנו שמנה חגים בשנה וגם אין לומר שקאי על הסוכות לבדו ונאמר שכל יום מימי החג הוא חג בפני עצמו שזה גם כן שקר כי אין נקרא חג בפני עצמו אלא יום השמיני לבדו שהוא חג בפני עצמו לענין פז"ר קש"ב

It should be noted, though, that some did/do have the formulation as you suggest, including Rambam:

Rambam Seder HaTefilot

וכן בשמיני עצרת אומר את יום טוב מקרא קדש הזה את יום חג שמיני עצרת הזה זמן שמחתנו

Since Shemini Atzeres is the defined by "The 8th day abstinence (from work)" when we introduce the festival in Shemone esrei we say ...ותתן לנו את יום, we have to refer directly to the 8th day by saying יום שמיני then after we declare this 8th day is special to us because Yom tov :חג העצרת הזה.

If we said יום חג העצרת הזה one would mistakenly think its Shavuos which is also called עצרת

If we said יום חג עצרת שמיני הזה that would mean its the 8th festival, which is not true because there are only 2 Festivals 1 on the first day and 1 on the last day (in the Torah) in the middle one permitted to do Melacha.

If we said יום חג השמיני עצרת הזה that would also mean its the 8th festival, which is not true because there are only 2 Festivals 1 on the first day and 1 on the last day (in the Torah) in the middle one permitted to do Melacha.

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    The last day of Pesach is also called Atzeret. Maybe we'd think you meant that. And in Chul on the eighth day of Pesach it could be a real problem. – Double AA Sep 27 at 11:35
  • @doubleaa good question excuse my ignorance Pesach is called שְּׁבִיעִי עֲצֶרֶת as you quoted not שמיני עֲצֶרֶת. simchas torah in chutz laaretz is called shmini atzeres because in the time of the unfixed calender they thought it might be the 8th day no one calls it tshii atzereres, so too 8th day Pesach is called Shevii atzeres because in the time of the unfixed calender they thought it might be the 7th day no one calls it Shmini Atzeres so there is no confusion – user15464 Sep 27 at 15:42
  • "If we said יום חג שמיני עצרת הזה that would also mean its the 8th festival" No it wouldn't. It would mean "this festival of Shmini Atzeret" as the OP says. – Double AA Sep 28 at 11:53
  • "said יום חג השמיני עצרת הזה" The OP specifically asked about יום חג שמיני עצרת הזה so why don't you address it directly. You're dancing around her question with your own assertions about what other options may mean – Double AA Sep 28 at 12:01

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