Shabbat comes in at 6.54 pm; ends 7.53 pm
The commandment for Hakhel (Assembly) is found in Parsha Vayelech: “Hakhel, Assemble the people – the men and the women and the infants, and your convert who is in your town – in order for them to hear and in order for them to learn to fear God, and they will make sure to fulfill all the statements of this Torah”.
Medieval commentator Rashi, asks why the children also came to Hakhel and answers with a quote from the Talmud (in Masechet Chagiga 3a): “The children bring merit to those who brought them”. Modern rabbi, Natan Adler, rhetorically asks, why bother bringing the children if they will disturb the adults ? That is why, he answers, the Talmud explains that by bringing our children we will receive “merit” – which outweighs the loss of the adults being disturbed and not hearing every word perfectly.
In other words, sometimes you have to be a little bit less rigid in order to educate the children. This message especially rings true during the High Holidays. When a child is brought to shul and has the opportunity to listen to the Torah reading and hear the Shofar blowing – a tremendous impression is made which can bring them closer to serving God and being part of the Jewish community.
Rabbi Paul Arberman.