On Thursday, 10/4, at 10:30 am EST and 4:30 pm in Jerusalem, a special gathering will be held at the Western Wall under the auspices of the President of Israel.
Once every seven years Jews from all over the world are called to stand together in Jerusalem. This year, Jews from all over the world are called to stand with Israel.
Hakhel, literally a gathering, is one of the last commandments in the Torah. Hakhel is first mentioned in the Bible as part of Moses' instruction to the people just prior to their entry into the Land of Israel. It is an inherent part of the seven-year agricultural cycle. During the seventh year, the Shmittah Year, the land is to lay fallow, unburdened by the farmer's plow.
On the Succot holiday immediately following the seventh year, the people of Israel would gather in Jerusalem at the Temple, and the King of Israel would read selected portions from the Torah. Hakhel was a gathering of momentous proportions, as Jews of all ages from all over the country gathered together to reaffirm their unity as a people and their commitment to Jewish traditions. In 1987, Hakhel was celebrated by over 100,000 Jews of all ages who gathered at the Western Wall, in the presence of leaders of Israel and the Jewish world. As part of the celebrations, the president of Israel, the late Haim Herzog, read from the Bible.
Succot 2001 is the prescribed time for Hakhel as the current Shmittah year draws to a close. This year's Hakhel ceremony promises to be the biggest ever, and will be a celebration of Jewish unity and solidarity.
The holiday of Succot will be the official opening of the Hakhel year. For more information about Hakhel events, please check in with the Israel Ministry of Tourism.