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Dvar for Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

Moshe introduces the mitzvah (commandment) of Hakhel (assembly), where every seven years, all men, women, and children assemble, and the king reads the Torah (31:12). While it makes sense for men and women to be there, why would children be required to attend? If anything, their presence may distract from the experience as parents struggle to control their young children.

Surprisingly, Lekach Tov suggests that the children’s attendance is not only not distracting, but in fact, essential for creating a positive experience for the entire family unit, especially the younger members. As the passuk continues, “so that they hear, and learn, and fear G-d” (31:12). The first step of an experience is just being there, even before we learn anything. Once we are old enough to comprehend, learning and revering follows. Creating positive experiences for our children to enjoy will lead to increased engagement and enhanced commitment.