When I started to lose my ability to speak, it made me aware of the power of speech. I had to decide what is truly worth saying. Now, unable to speak, I dream of what I would tell my family if only I could.

If I could talk, I would tell my kids how much I love them and how proud I am of them. How lucky we are to be G‑d’s children.

I would tell them to be kind and to use their talents and gifts to serve G‑d, and to lift others up.

I would tell them to smile a lot and be positive. There is nothing better than helping or making another happy, even if it means taking a loss.

I would tell my daughters how pretty they look in their holiday outfits.

I would tell my boys to tuck their shirts in.

What would I tell my wife? Now, that is none of your business.

Words are powerful. When used correctly, they can lift up a spirit. When abused, they can destroy.

Our children and spouses ache for our recognition and love. Especially during the holidays, when we spend so much time together. With so much to do—mitzvahs, prayers, cooking, cleaning—they could be ignored, or worse, mistreated.

They value our words and remember them.

Our actions are equally, if not, more important. Create a loving atmosphere; focus your attention on them. Listen to what they have to share with you. They want you to know them and be proud of them.

When you have set a loving atmosphere at home, they will be ready to listen to you as well.

In the Torah portion Vayelech, we have the mitzvah of Hakhel. “Assemble the people: the men, the women, and the children ... in order that they hear, and in order that they learn and fear the L-rd, your G‑d, and they will observe to do all the words of this Torah.”

The mitzvah of Hakhel happened during the Sukkot holiday following a Shemittah (Sabbatical) year. All the Jewish people would assemble. The king, standing on a podium built for the occasion, would read selections from the book of Deuteronomy, including the Shema, for all to hear.

While most mitzvahs are stated without the reason, here the Torah tells us the reason: “In order that they hear, and in order that they learn and fear the L-rd, your G‑d, and they will observe to do all the words of this Torah.”

The mitzvah of Hakhel was done at the Temple and lead by the king, both of which we don’t have today. Do we see this mitzvah as unobservable today?

Hakhel is unique among Temple-related mitzvahs in that at least parts of it can be observed even now. This is because the reasons for this mitzvah are part of the mitzvah. True we have no king, true we have no Temple, but the reasons, “in order that they hear, learn, fear G‑d, and observe the words of this Torah,” can still be implemented.

How is the Hakhel done today? Any time this year, gather your family, friends or community. The goal is to strengthen their feeling towards G‑d and the Torah.

The prerequisite is that you are “assembled,” meaning all of you are in a state of togetherness, with love. Togetherness sets the mood and opens the heart to hear words of meaning and chizuk (strengthening), “in order that they hear ... .”

Consider making a Hakhel get-together with your family and friends. Create an atmosphere of togetherness—speak to their hearts with love and kindness. And make your spouse and children feel important during the holidays and every day of the year.