And the 16th mitzvah is that we are commanded to gather the entire nation on the second day of Sukkos following each Shemittah year, and to read before them certain verses from the Book of Deuteronomy.

The source of this commandment is G‑d's statement1 (exalted be He), "You must gather together the people: the men, women, and children." This is the mitzvah of Hakhel.

In the beginning of Kiddushin2 our Sages say, "Women are exempt from all positive commandments which are time-bound." The Talmud then asks, "But Hakhel is a time-bound positive com­mandment,3 and women are obligated?!" The conclusion at the end of the discussion is, "One cannot learn from general principles."4

The details of this mitzvah, i.e. how one reads, who reads and what is read, are explained in the seventh chapter of tractate Sotah.5