(1) It is a positive commandment to assemble all of Israel - men, women and youngsters - at the end of every sabbatical year, when they come up for the pilgrimage [on Sukkot], and to read sections from the Torah in their ears; sections which enthuse them about the commandments and strengthen them in the true religion. As it is stated (Deuteronomy 31:10-12), "At the end of seven years at the time of the sabbatical year on the festival of Sukkot. When all of Israel come to appear, etc... Assemble all of the people, the men, the women and the youngsters and your stranger that is in your gates, etc."
(2) Anyone who is exempt from appearing [on the holiday] is exempt from the commandment of hakhel (assembly), except for the women and the youngsters and the uncircumcised [who are obligated]. But the impure are exempt from the commandment of hakhel, as it is stated (Ibid.), "When all of Israel come" - and this one is not fitting to come. And it is a clear matter that those of indeterminate sex and the hermaphrodites are obligated [in the commandment], since, behold, the women are obligated.
(3) When would they read? At the end of the first-day holiday of the festival of Sukkot, which is the beginning of [the festival's] intermediate days, on the eight year [of the sabbatical cycle]. And the king would be the one to read in their ears, and they would read in the women's courtyard. And he would read while sitting, but if he read while standing, behold, this is praiseworthy. From where would he read? He would read from the beginning of the [book] of Deuteronomy until the end of the Shema section (6:9) and skip to "Vehaya eem shamoa, etc." (11:13) and [then] skip to "aser te-aser" (14:22) and read from "aser te-aser" in order, until the end of the blessings and curses - until "beside the covenant which He made with them at Horev"(28:69) and stop.
(4) How would he read? They would blow trumpets in all of Jerusalem in order to assemble the people and bring a large pedestal and it was [made] of wood. And they would place it in the middle of the women's courtyard and the king would go up and sit upon it so that they could hear his reading, and all of Israel that would go up [on the festival pilgrimage] would gather around him. And the sexton of the [Temple] synagogue would take the Torah scroll and give it to the head of the synagogue, and the head of the synagogue would give it to the Assistant [High Priest], and the Assistant to the High Priest, and the High Priest to the king, in order to enhance it with the multitude of people [involved]. And the king would receive it while standing and, if he wanted, he would [then] sit, and [then he would] open and see [it] and bless in the way that every reader would bless in a synagogue. And he would read the sections that we stated, until he finishes and rolls [it] and blesses after it, in the way that we bless in synagogues. And he adds seven [other] blessings and these are them: Accept, Lord our God, Your people Israel, etc.; We thank You, etc.; You have chosen us from all of the nations, etc. until, Who has sanctified Israel and the [special] times - in the way that we bless in prayer, behold these are three blessings according to their [usual] structure; the fourth is [that] he prays for the Temple, that it should stand, and concludes it, "Blessed are You, Lord, Who dwells in Zion;" the fifth is [that] he prays for Israel, that their kingdom should stand, and concludes it, "Who chooses Israel;" the sixth is [that] he prays for the priests, that the Power should accept their service, and concludes it, "Blessed are You, Lord, Who sanctifies the priests; the seventh is that he supplicates and prays within it according to what he can, and concludes it, "Save, Lord, Your people, Israel, since Your people needs to be saved, Blessed are You, Lord, Who hears prayer."
(5) The reading and the blessings should be in the Holy Tongue, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 31:11), "and you shall read this Torah." [Implying that it be] in its language, even though there are those that speak [other] languages present.
(6) And converts who do not recognize that they are obligated to direct their hearts and to attune their ears to hear with fear and reverence and joy trembling like the day on which [Torah] was given at Sinai. Even great sages that know the Torah completely are obligated to listen with exceptionally great concentration. And one who is unable to listen should direct his heart to the reading, that Scripture is established to strengthen true faith. And he should see himself as if now he is commanded and from God he heard it, that the king is an agent to cause the words of God to be heard.
(7) When the day of hakhel falls out on Shabbat, we push it off to after Shabbat, because of the blowing of trumpets and supplications, which do not preempt the Shabbat. We have finished the laws of the holiday offering, with Heaven's help.