We are presently in a year of Hakhel. The Rebbe demands from each one of us to be a “Hakhel Yid”: to utilize every opportunity to make Hakhel gatherings of Jews which strengthen Yiras Shomayim, encourage Mitzah observance, and increase Jewish unity. The Rebbe’s shturem about these activities is known, but why such a shturem? With a fuller understanding of the subject, we can, with Hashem’s help, give ourselves over to the Rebbe’s inyan of Hakhel with even greater inner chayus (in addition to loyal kabbolos ‘ol).
First, let us note that Hakhel is not a time period, it is an event. An event which occurs once every seven years in the year after a Shmitta year, the year called Motzei Shvi’is.1 Hakhel is a mitzvah which is performed in the year of Motzei Shvi’is. By understanding more about Motzei Shvi’is, we can understand better the role of mitzvas Hakhel.
At this point, let us note some of the dramatic events that occurred in Hakhel years:
- 5713 — all of Russian Jewry was in danger from Stalin’s “Doctor’s Plot“, nd they were miraculously saved upon the sudden death of Stalin as a result of that year’s Purim farbrengen.
- 5727 — the Jews of Eretz Yisroel were threatened by five Arab armies, and miraculously saw the great victory of Six Day War.
- 5734 — the deadly surprise attack of the Yom Kippur war, which turned into a miraculous victory (“bigger than the Six Day War” said the Rebbe).
- 5741 — Eretz Yisroel was facing the threat of a nuclear reactor in Iraq, until the successful bombing of that reactor by the Israeli Air Force.
Also interesting to note that the four times that 770 Eastern Parkway, the Rebbe’s shul, was expanded took place in Hakhel years: 5720, 5727, 5733 (finished by erev Rosh Hashanah 5734, the Hakhel year), and 5748 (the laying of the cornerstone (“even hapina”) for the most recent expansion). But what’s the connection with Hakhel? Continue reading