“Why is the “Mitzvah of Hakhel” on Succot and after the Year of Shmitta?

(Shmitta is the Sabbatical year – every seven years the land rests in Israel.)

Let me first tell you about the Mitzvah of Hakhel?
Picture millions of Jews, men and women and children including tiny infants and their great-grandparents all assembled in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. The regal King ascends on to a platform and reads sections of the holy Torah. The nation is inspired and invigorated. United as one people, they refocused on their true purpose to serve G-d, the King of all Kings!

Moshe instructed, “Assemble the people: the men, the women, the children, in order that they hear, and in order that they learn and fear the Lord, your G‑d, and they will observe all the words of this Torah. (Deuteronomy 31:10)

This “Hakhel” gathering took place on the second day of the holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles) following each Shmittah year and was a Mitzvah for every Jew, young and old.

The Kli Yakar provides a meaningful commentary
Hakhel is meant to bring Shalom – Peace to our nation.
The prerequisite for fostering the spirit of Hakhel – unity
amongst us is Shmitta and the Sukkos celebration.

How do Shmitta and Sukkot instill a spirit of unity and harmony?

During Shmitta, all the land belongs to G-d
and reminds us that it’s all a gift from G-d.

There are no distinctions between rich and poor
We cannot say, “I am better because I have more”.

Our land is not really our own so we ‘Let go!
We trust and ‘Let G-d’ run the show!

On Succot, we leave our comfortable homes and dwell
in huts that transcend all differences in ‘Am Yisroel’!

In the hot desert, surrounded by the clouds of glory
G-d protected every single Jew, as we know from history

The Sukkah is ‘G-d’s cloud’ and helps us to recall
that G-d’s love and care is for all, big or small.

When we recognize that the world belongs to G-d above
G-d is our partner, guiding us with unconditional love!

WE ARE READY for ‘Hakhel” – to collaborate and share without fear
that we may lose out by another’s gain or success this year.

We believe ‘G-d is infinite’, so ‘There is Enough’ for everyone!
We pray, “Bless us our Father, because we are One!”

Hakhel Gatherings, JGU Meet Ups and Collaborations
Friends, It’s time to gather for the 5776 (JGU) Hakhel Celebrations!

Today, we cannot gather in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem for Hakhel, but we can live with the Hakhel mindset of sharing our gifts from G-d, helping others to succeed and working together with a single purpose to serve our G-d, the King of all Kings.

Hakhel gives us the strength to unite with all types and gather for mini-Hakhel celebrations. We will surely merit the greatest ‘Hakhel Meet Up’ in the third Holy Temple in Jerusalem! May G-d protect all of our brothers and sisters in Israel and throughout the world and may we have true Shalom now!

The JGU ‘HAKHEL’ TEAM is ready for a great year of collaboration and JGU Unity Meet Ups and celebrations. ARE YOU READY?

With best wishes for a Shabbat Shalom & Chag Someach!
Nechama, Rabbi Laber, Susan, Leah, Rabbi Resnick and the JGU Team

P.S. Please send us pictures of your “Hakhel JGU Meet Ups” and we will publish it on our JGU platform!

Art Work by Chana Laber: The Sukkah is surrounded by Hashem’s words commanding us to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot in Parshas Emor. It Illustrates that when we dwell in a Sukkah, we are intrinsically surrounded by Hashem’s Presence and enveloped in his loving embrace.