A. The Mitzvah of Hakhel
Once every seven years, the entire Jewish nation would gather together in the Holy Temple, during the festival of Sukkot, and hear the Torah being read by the king. (Source 1)
We will later read a number of sources that describe the great Hakhel event in great detail.
A description of the event: the Mitzvah, it’s time and place, the contents of the reading, the language (Source 2) the publicity system (Source 3) bringing children (Source 4) and the principle behind the mitzvah (Source 5)
B. Sinai Reenacted
The reason behind the Hakhel gathering is to reenact the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Mere knowledge is insufficient, rather, one must create a spiritual experience and connection.
C. The Timing of Hakhel
Why was Hakhel celebrated specifically then, during the festival of Sukkot of the eighth year? The Torah, in its detailed description of the date, hints at an explanation.
(1) At the end of every seven years – at the beginning of a period (2) at the time following the Shemitah Year – after a full year of Torah study and spiritual elevation (3) during the Festival of Sukkot – the days that the Jewish People are occupied with Mitzvot (4) When all Israel comes to appear before the L-rd, your G-d, in the place that He will choose – at the holiest site of the Jewish people. It is at this point in time, and at this very place, that it is most appropriate to conduct the Hakhel gathering.
D. The Mitzvah’s Contemporary relevance
The Torah is eternal, and even in our days the mitzvah of Hakhel is practically relevant in its spiritual sense. Every one of us should “gather,” and utilize the opportunity to strengthen themselves and others in the commitment to Torah and Mitzvot.