Relive Hakhel!

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Relive Hakhel!

Viewing 37 posts - 1 through 37 (of 37 total)
  • Author
  • #2129832
    Menachem Shmei

    Every seven years, the year after Shmita was a Shnas Hakhel. All of the Yidden – men, women & children, gathered in the Beis Hamikdash on Sukkos to hear the king read inspirational pessukim from the Torah. The point was for Yidden to refresh the inspiration that they felt at Mattan Torah.

    (וילך לא, י-יג. רמב”ם הלכות חגיגה פ”ג. חינוך מצוה תריב. ועוד)

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe is מדייק from the Rambam that the entire mitzvah of Hakhel is to to inspire Yidden in yiras Shomayim and avodas Hashem (it is not just a REASON for the mitzvah, rather an essential part of it).

    Therefore, to a great extent, the mitzvah of Hakhel still exists nowadays.

    The Rebbe encouraged everyone to use out this year to gather Yidden together at every opportunity and share words of Torah and inspiration.

    Since Hakhel was done specifically on Sukkos, we should all try to use out this Sukkos of Shnas Hakhel as an opportunity to gather Yidden together b’achdus, and discuss words of Torah.

    This is for ALL Yidden, men, women (obviously in a proper halachic fashion) and children.

    May be zoche to truly use out the opportunity of this special year to grow in yiras Shomayim (“ויראו את ה’ אלקיכם”).

    Most importantly – may we spend this Sukkos gathered together with all of the Yidden in the 3rd Beis Hamikdash in the greatest Hakhel of all, “קהל גדול ישובו הנה” – and we will hear the Torah being read by Melech HaMoshiach!

    ראה לקוטי שיחות לכ”ק אדמו”ר מליובאוויטש חלק ל”ד ע’ 211 ואילך. ע’ 329 ואילך. ספר השיחות תשמ”ח ח”א ע’ 17 ואילך. ועוד

    Gut Yom Tov!
    Menachem Shmei


    Why are lubavichers always trying to push their own agenda as if it’s standard and accepted?

    There is no such thing, and there never has been, as “Shnas Hakhel” in reference to anything other than the fact that it is an easy way to refer to the year following Shmittah, due, of course, to Hakhel taking place then on Sukkos.

    A quick search of the latest version of the Responsa database shows that the expression Shnas Hakhel appears in the entire database only four times, with the earliest being from the Chida. And even that is only in reference to the event itself taking place that year.

    There is also no reference to the importance of a gathering on Sukkos.

    If the Lubavicher rebbe wanted to have his chassidim do something in memory of Hakhel, that’s fine with me, but it’s just another case of lubavich inventing something that the entire world is expected to agree with.

    Reb Eliezer

    Shemita is related to shabbos. In seven years there are 52 shabosim per year with a total of 7 x 52 = 364 shabosim plus one day left over per year from 365 days generating another shabbos with a total of 365 shabbosim in seven years as explained by the Yismach Moishe. We rest a year from planting to make up for things growing on shabbos. So, Hakhel on Sukkos after shemita emphasizes the holiness of shabbos like Vayakhel does.


    One fascinating aspect of Hakhel is a mitzva to bring gerim. Bringing children is often discussed, but gerim? I apologize that I do not remember the source for the below (my thoughts are in []).

    Are these converts? Then, they are already included into previous groups. Then, it means (righteous?) non-Jews who lived among us. Is it a mitzva for them? It can’t be – they have 7 mitzvos and this one does not seem to fit into any, so this could not be the 8th …. [AAQ: furthermore, mitzvos bnei Noach seem to be universal, they do not presume that they need to live in traveling distance from Yerushalaim]. Then, it means it is a mitzva for us to bring gerim to Hakhel. Can we order them? [AAQ: Beis din arresting Palestinians and taking them to Har Habayis?]. This can’t be also. Thus, the conclusion is that we should behave in such a way that gerim would want to join us.
    [AAQ: Sounds a little bit like proselytizing, but it is once in 7 years, not a daily thing and corresponds to R Salanter’s approach (I don’t think he meant non-Jews though) – one should always argue for Yiddishkeit – sometimes even with words ..]

    [AAQ: an alternative explanation: mitzva for non-Jews to establish a system of justice would make it reasonable to them to go to Hakhel to learn about it. This may be complimentary to the main argument – we encourage them because they need it. Of course, when they come to Hakhel, they will hopefully see and hear things that will help them to improve their understanding of justice.]

    [AAQ: so presence of a large nuber of praying non-Jews on Har Habayit is legit at least once in 7 years. We just need to put loud speakers to make sure Torah reading is louder to whatever hate speech they have there]


    it’s a beautiful idea. the problem is, however, when we try to institutionalize our ideas without the advice and consensus of our generation’s Gedolim, we enter on to a slippery and very dangerous slope

    Menachem Shmei

    Reb RSo, no need to get so riled up when you see mention of Lubavitch.

    No one is trying to secretly impose any agendas on you. I think I made it quite clear in my post that this was a chiddush of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

    We know the rule in Torah – כל מה שתלמיד ותיק עתיד לחדש בתורה הכל ניתן למשה מסיני.
    (ראה מגילה יט, ב. ירושלמי פאה פ”ב, ה”ד. שמו”ר רפמ”ז. ויק”ר רפכ”ב. קה”ר פ”א, ט. פ”ה ח. שו”ת רד”ך בית ה’ חדר ג’. תורת העולה ח”ג, פנ”ה. הקדמת הש”ך עה”ת. אור תורה להה”מ ר”פ תולדות. אגה”ק קו”א ד”ה להבין פרטי ההלכות.)

    The Rebbe, a huge tzaddik and tremendous talmid chochom, can definitely be מחדש in Torah, especially as a means for encouraging Yidden to add in avodas Hashem, just as countless gedolim have done throughout history.

    The Rebbe clearly explains what led him to be מחדש the term “שנת הקהל”, with many sources (as is usual throughout the Rebbe’s hundreds of seforim).
    See here:
    הערה דיבור המתחיל: שנת הקהל

    If you choose to use other minhagim to add in your avodas Hashem – suit yourself. The Rebbe did everything he could to have Yidden add in their Yiddishkeit (not just for non-frum Yidden, but for every Yid possible). If you’re not interested, no problem. But no need to bash others.

    The Chofetz Chaim put a tremendous emphasis on the lashon harah. Should that offend someone who puts an emphasis on other things?

    Any true gadol and leader in Klal Yisroel can and should make a big shturem about ideas which he feels are important for strengthening our shmiras Torah u’mitzvos and yiras shomayim.

    No one will argue with the fact that when Yidden gather together to discuss words of Torah, this has a tremendous effect on them. If you don’t want to call this Hakhel – no problem! But it shouldn’t upset you if others use Hakhel as an inspiration to add in achdus and inspiration.

    With love,
    Gut Yom Tov!
    Menachem Shmei

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    no need to get so riled up when you see mention of Lubavitch

    In intetest of fairness – no need to get all riled up when someone expresses difficulty or concerns that they back up with an explanation that can be answered.

    Menachem Shmei


    Geirim seems to be referring to Geir tzedek.
    The chiddush of geirim is that even though they may not understand the words of the Torah, they still come, since it’s not just about understanding, but the general feeling of awe with all of Klal Yisroel standing together.

    ראה רמב”ם הלכות חגיגה פרק ג ה”ו:
    וגרים שאינן מכירין חיבין להכין לבם ולהקשיב אזנם לשמע באימה ויראה וגילה ברעדה כיום שנתנה בו בסיני.

    RE loudspeakers:

    Since the idea is not just to understand, rather the general feeling – there is no need for everyone to be able to hear. The main mitzva is just to be there, and have the right kavana.

    As the Rambam makes it clear at the end of the aforementioned halacha:
    ומי שאינו יכול לשמוע מכון לבו לקריאה זו, שלא קבעה הכתוב אלא לחזק דת האמת. ויראה עצמו כאלו עתה נצטוה בה ומפי הגבורה שומעה, שהמלך שליח הוא להשמיע דברי הא-ל.
    (This is not referring to someone who is deaf, since they are potur from Hakhel altogether (see Rambam שם ה”ב) – rather to those who are too distant from the king’s bima)



    Very bad comparison. The Chafetz Chaim, zt”l was the undisputed leader of world Jewry and his emphasis on Lashon Hara was first and foremost about these vital halachos which were being ignored.

    The Rebbe, zt”l was definitely not the undisputed leader of world Jewry, contrary to Chabad PR and in most areas was considered a daas yachid. Regardless of him mentioning it once or hundreds of times, Hakhel may be a nice Chabad custom and a big “Kiddush Lubavitch” (whatever that means) but it has zero halachic relevance to the rest of us.

    With love, please proselytize elsewhere.

    Menachem Shmei


    There’s no point in rehashing old endless discussions and arguments. Too much ink has been spilled in YWNCR on the “Who is a greater gadol” competition.

    I feel that if someone respectfully posted a request “to all of klal yisroel” from his own, unknown Rosh Yeshiva or teacher (e.g. to say a certain kapital of Tehilim every day, to use out a certain day to give extra tzedaka, etc.) – no one would bat an eyelid. Some people would be inspired to follow, others would ignore it and move on in life.

    I cannot fathom why people are so disturbed from my posting the call of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to add in achdus in honor of shnas hakhel. If it doesn’t interest you, move on to the next subject.

    I don’t know. Maybe now that we are so close to the geula, the satan is using every means at his desposal to sow machlokes among Yidden.

    May Hashem help us overcome this stumbling block and merit the Geula shleima, וקהל גדול ישובו הנה.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Menachem, I’m staying out of the politics but addressing your semantics/integrity of post.
    That was not how you presented it, and that was not his complaint. You are wrong that we need to just let people use whatever names they want for whatever gatherings as long as they are for good. If I call for gatherings in the sukkas on wednesday and say to serve a seuda and proclaim your desire not to leave Hashems side, are you wrong to call me out on my cry for inspiring closeness. Point is, you can’t always cry anti lubavitch when someone argues your point, especially when they are specific. (As opposed to just name calling). In your words, if you don’t like it, move along. Tired of the victim hood game.

    Have a wonderful yuntiff


    Thank you GadolHadofi and SyagLChochma for explaining my point so clearly. Just to reiterate, the problem that I see, and I have seen many times in the past, is that Lubavichers tend – and from my experience it is intentional – to push the view that what their rebbe said has to be accepted by all as correct and the obviously proper way to lead one’s life. Most of the chareidi world do not accept that.

    Mo’adim lesimcha and a gut kvittel

    Menachem Shmei


    You’re right, we can’t just let people use whatever names we want for things. For that we have our gedolim. It is for this reason that I made it clear that this was started by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

    Meanwhile, no one had any substantial issue with Hakhel. Their only problem with it was that it has no support from Gedolim besides the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and they don’t consider the Rebbe to be a דעה.

    In other words, they didn’t argue against my point at all, rather they just said that they don’t hold of the gadol who made this point, meaning that there is some sort of animosity to the Rebbe.

    To this I expressed my disapointment that Yidden haven’t learned to accept that just because they don’t accept a certain gadol (either for a good reason, or out of ignorance, which I fear is usually the case) that doesn’t mean that they should bash others who do accept him and spread his teachings (obviously, in a respectful way. Like starting a topic on a forum).

    If someone would have asked an actual Torah question on Hakhel, I would have never responded about achdus and ahavas yisroel. I would have researched the answer like any idea in Torah. If someone says “stop proselytizing what the Lubavitcher Rebbe says” – that seems to be sinas chinam.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    מפני קדושת המועד לא באתי עהח”ת

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    “Their only problem with it was that it has no support from Gedolim besides the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and they don’t consider the Rebbe to be a דעה.”

    That is not what he said. That is a rewording with a slant.

    “In other words, they didn’t argue against my point at all, rather they just said that they don’t hold of the gadol who made this point, meaning that there is some sort of animosity to the Rebbe.”

    Again false. He gave reason why he didn’t like it, and then pointed out that only a daas yichid did. Don’t play games.

    In your first posts you seemed like a decent guy who was sincerely interested in discussing Torah points as Torah points. The shift then began and now you are turning into just another “victim of anti lubavitch” seeing everything through that warped lens and calling everyone out as haters. Please, can we drop this and go back to your original plan or do you choose to just cry poor me on a hilltop til a chaser tells you to find a new hobby.

    Menachem Shmei

    Syag, RSo, etc.

    The Rebbe published several talks where he discusses the idea of Hakhel from a halachic standpoint, explaining the ideas which he said.

    Please let me know the questions/issues that you find with the idea of Hakhel (aside from the fact that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is a daas yochid, and was the first one who promoted it) and I will look into it.

    מפני קדושת המועד לא באתי עה”ח

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    My comments to you were about your distortion of poster’s comments and incongruous responses. If you aren’t addressing that, then please leave my name off.


    Menachem Shmei,

    Yasher Koach for sharing this beautiful thought from the Rebbe.

    Gut Moed


    Menachem, if you hold virtual writing is kesiva, and therefore assur, why does leaving your name out and writing Hebrew letters make a difference? I would think it’s the opposite, because some rishonim hold that the only kesiva that’s assur med’oraysoh on shabbos/YT is lashon kodesh, and all other languages are mederabonon….so i think you’re making the shailoh worse by writing Hebrew and not English if you’re going to address the opinions that hold that virtual writing is assur


    As for what the lubavitcher rebbe calls hakhel…is there a question of bal tosif to call a minhag by the name of a mitzvah deoraysoh when that mitzvah is not applicable?


    Also, the rambam often gives taamei mitzvos. By the same logic, we should write shem Hashem and attach it to our arms all day, since tefilin is to awaken ahavah and awareness of Hashem, so if you can’t wear tefilin all day, why not do that?


    Regarding the idea that “stop proselytizing” is sinas chinam – that would be true if the statement was made in a vacuum. It’s not. People say that(including me) because many in chabad believe that they must spread their torah – not “the” torah, but specifically their chasidus – for a jew to be complete, and for the geulah to come. Chabad are the only group who sends troops of their bochurim to other communities to educate them in their ways, multiple times a year. They show up in our yeshivos unannounced, open liquor without having the consent of the administration, and talk about theit chasidus. Does bobov, satmar, ger, vizhnitz, etc…go and proselytize? No!

    Please do this on a different thread instead of taking this one in that direction.


    “Yasher Koach for sharing this beautiful thought from the Rebbe..

    For the first and perhaps last time in a long time, 110% agreement with R’ Yosef. I suspect there are even some closet misnagdim lurking in the CR who could care less as to the provenance of this vert. Yasher koach and gutten moed to the OP (and UJM).

    Menachem Shmei

    UJM, Gadolhadorah,

    You’re very welcome,
    Of course, despite all different דרכים, we can always find things which we can agree upon.


    RE Tefillin:

    Good question.
    In לקוטי שיחות חלק לד ע’ 211 ואילך, the Rebbe addresses the difference between תפלין, ציצית, וכדומה and Hakhel.
    In short: Although the kavana is very important by putting Tefillin, it is not a part of גוף המצוה. Whereas there are certain מצוות (e.g. מצות תפלה) that the kavana is part of the mitzva itself, and not just a condition to fulfilling the mitzva.
    The Rebbe is מדייק there from lashon harambam that Hakhel belongs to the latter catogory, thus strengthening נצחיות המצוה.
    The Rebbe explains this at length with many sources, and he also explains where in the pesukim the Rambam learned this from.

    If you are indeed interested in learning (“תורה היא וללמוד אני צריך”), I would suggest you take a look here:

    RE בל תוסיף
    Obviously, no one is ch”v saying that this is actually the mitzva of Hakhel itself nowadays (ראה לקוטי שיחות שם הערה 38). I don’t think that borrowing the name of a mitzva בשם המושאל constitutes bal tosif, but if your rov says so, I guess you should obey.

    Ah gutten moed!

    [P.S. RE Writing on Chol Homoed:
    I haven’t put much thought into it. I am used to writing in Lashon Hakodesh, and I usually add מפני קדושת המועד. So I guess when I’m typing I do the same sometimes. I haven’t really looked into the differece between typing and writing (though I would assume that typing is much more linient), nor the difference between English and Lashon Hakodesh. Maybe you can be more מאריך about this in a seperate thread.]


    The pri megadim writes that there are three mitzvos which kavanah is crucial, since the Torah writes “lemaan” by them: sukkah, tefillin, and tzitzis, but I’m not referring to kavanah, I’m referring to doing something ad-hoc that resembles a mitzvah but isn’t the mitzvah itself.


    Many poskim allow typing, if you’re not going to print, because it’s merely lighting up tiny light fixtures on a screen. I don’t see why adding “because of kedushas hamoed I’m not signing” – is there a source for omitting one’s name as a mitigating factor in kesiva in general? Isn’t it just more words that are being written? And like i said, lashon kodesh is, if anything, more of a shailoh, because everyone holds it’s writing deoraysoh (on shabbos and YT)

    Menachem Shmei

    “since the Torah writes “lemaan””

    See aforementioned sicha – footnote 17, for the difference between the lemaan of tefillin, tzitzis, etc. and the lemaan of Hakhel.

    While kavana is necessary for Tefillin, it is not גוף המצוה, rather מתנאי המצוה, as opposed to תפלה.
    See more at length in לקוטי שיחות חלק כב ע’ 116 ואילך.
    See also בית אלקים להמבי”ט שער התפלה פ”ג.

    [P.S. Again, I never looked into the dinim of writing. My rov has guided me to follow the Rebbe’s behavior in this case, and he would sign his chol hamoed letters with מפני קדושת המועד לא באתי עהח”ת, so that’s what I do as well.
    But again, you are probably right that this does not apply to virtual writing]


    Menachem, the lubavitcher rebbe doesn’t seem to address the pro megadim, which is brought in the mishnah berurah. Do you think he argued with the pri megadim or was not aware of it?


    I wonder why the lubavitcher rebbe would end off letters that way – it’s just writing more words. Why is signing a name and the omission thereof relevant to kesiva on cho”ham?

    Reb Eliezer

    The Bach indicates that by three mitzvos we find lemaan, tzitzis, tefilin and sukkah were kavonoh lekatchila matters. He says even bedaived but we don’t follow that.

    Reb Eliezer

    Live and let live!


    You’re right, it’s the bach – i got the names mixed up


    I have thought about this quite a bit over the last day and the problem as I see it is that the Lubavicher rebbe puts together 2 and 2 and come up with results that he wants to. (My use of the present tense is not meant to signify that I believe he is alive 🙂 )

    There is no Hakhel nowadays, and the year is not any more special that any other year, but we now have thousands of lubavichers BELIEVING that it is different (and perhaps more holy – I’m not sure about that), and that there is an inyan in making gatherings all year long.

    Even when Hakhel did take place it was a once-off affair and did not last any longer than it took for the king to read sefer Devarim. (Perhaps there were other additional tefillos that I don’t know about. Please excuse my ignorance.) The year itself carried no more significance.

    Ask a lubavicher and he will surely tell you that the year is special, even nowadays.

    (I realise that I’m on my soapbox now, but why waste the opportunity…) It’s the same as lubavichers not sleeping in the sukkah. It doesn’t concern me that they don’t – why should it be my business? But what does concern me is that many lubavichers don’t even know that it says in Shulchan Aruch Harav that you have to, and that they consider those of us who do sleep there ignorant!

    Another example is not eating Shalosh Seudos. I was told by a prominent lubavicher some years ago that to eat Shalosh Seudos is a “kulo al pi chassidus”.

    In a nutshell, do whatever you want, but for Heaven’s sake stop claiming that your aberrations are the best way. They are not.

    Menachem Shmei


    The Rebbe clearly mentioned the ב”ח several times in the footnotes of the חלק לד sicha (see footnotes 30, 31. Also see 18).

    The Rebbe is not arguing with the ב”ח or the פרמ”ג, since he does not say that kavanah is unnecessary, rather that it is not עיקר גוף המצוה (aside from unique cases).

    “or was not aware of it”

    The Rebbe was aware of the פרמ”ג about למען, and he quotes it several times.

    For example:

    1) In a letter to Rav Avrohom Chaim Noeh in 5712 (אגרות קודש חלק ה ע’ קי ס”ו, also in לקוטי שיחות חלק כט ע’ 500).

    2) לקוטי שיחות חלק לד ע’ 140 footnotes 5, 12, 46 (over there the Rebbe give a lengthy שקו”ט regarding the reason why the Mechaber brings the טעמי המצוות for mitzvas sukka.)


    Rso – while i don’t think the entire year is special, there is a certain significance to motzi shmitah, as chazal say it’s an opportune time for geulah.

    As I said, we aren’t going there. 


    bal tosif is usually adding numerically to a defined mitzva, like adding lemon to arba minim. Woman blowing shofar is not bal tosif.


    Who’s talking about women blowing shofar? I was thinking that calling something that’s not a mitzvah by the name of the mitzvah, giving the impression that it’s a mitzvah,is adding to the Torah


    Avira, thanks for clarification. Question is whether their statements, whatever they are, I am not planning to read up about it, has any Torah value? Can it be classified as zecher to hakhel, or a Torah lecture, etc – then it is an expansion of a mitzva that may be right or not, but not bal tosif.

Viewing 37 posts - 1 through 37 (of 37 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.