1. A gathering of Jews is always a source of happiness. The Previous Rebbe explains that G‑d Himself takes pleasure in such a gathering as a parent takes pleasure when his children join together in unity.

We are all G‑d’s children, as it were. The Baal Shem Tov explains that G‑d loves each Jew like parents love an only son who was born to them in their old age. Indeed, this metaphor is restrictive, for G‑d’s love for a Jew is infinite as He, Himself, is infinite, and cannot be appreciated by a limited human being.

Accordingly, a gathering of Jews brings pleasure to G‑d. He rewards those who brought Him this pleasure by granting abundant blessings of both a spiritual and physical nature. Because of our limitations, we cannot appreciate the infinite nature of these blessings. Although we may see them as limited, they will continue to have effects in the future, influencing our children and grandchildren forever.

This surely applies regarding a gathering of Jewish women, who are each individually described as akeres habayis, a term which can be interpreted as “the essence of the house.” This concept is given greater emphasis tonight when in the counting of the Omer, we counted the sefirah, yesod sheb’yesod. That term is literally translated, “the foundation of the foundation,” a term appropriate for Jewish women for they are each the foundation of their homes. Though this is a great responsibility, G‑d grants each women the potential to serve in this capacity in her own home and to influence the homes of the other Jews living around her.

In particular, a mother’s behavior will influence her own daughters who will understand that a Torah home is a source of blessing, and accordingly, structure their own homes in this manner. They, in turn, will be blessed with children and grandchildren occupied in Torah and mitzvos.

The blessings generated by the Torah are emphasized by the blessings recited in the evening service which describes Torah as “the length of our days.” This implies, not only that we will be blessed with long life, but that our lives will be “long,” filled with true content and thus, filled with Torah and mitzvos.

These positive qualities will be increased from day to day. This is emphasized in the manner in which we count the Omer. Rather than say, “Today is the second day...,” “Today is the third day...” and the like, we say, “Today is two days of the Omer,” “Today is three days...,” indicating that each day includes within it the service of all the previous days and then, contributes a further dimension of growth itself.

2. It is customary to connect these gatherings with a lesson from this week’s Torah portion. Indeed, the portion read last Shabbos provides us with a lesson particularly appropriate to a women’s role within her home. That portion begins: “When you enter the land... the land will rest as a Shabbos unto G‑d. You shall sow your fields for six years... and in the seventh year, you shall rest.”

Even though the resting of the land, the Shemitah year, is not observed until six years have past, the Torah mentions it first, indicating that this should be the goal and purpose of settling the land. The six years of agricultural work should be dedicated to preparing for the seventh year when there will be a greater potential to devote oneself to the education of one’s family, to the study of Torah, and to the fulfillment of mitzvos.

This is particularly relevant to young couples who are first setting up their homes. They must realize the importance of establishing “a Shabbos unto G‑d” as the purpose around which their home revolves, trusting that He “in His goodness, sustains the entire world with grace, kindness, and mercy.” Thus, they will not be troubled by financial worries and will live their entire lives in a Shabbos-like manner, proceeding from strength to strength in positive activities.

Primary among these activities should be tzedakah, charity. To emphasize the importance of this mitzvah, a woman should permanently affix a tzedakah pushka in the kitchen where she prepares food for her family. Giving tzedakah will not cause the family any lack. On the contrary, our Sages taught: “Tithe so that you will become rich.” Surely, this applies to those who give more than a tenth, increasing their donations to one fifth of their income. [Particularly, at present, when women also earn a livelihood, it is appropriate that they give generously to tzedakah.]

This should also be accompanied by an increase in Torah study which will allow for the realization of the prophecy — which serves as the theme of the convention — “All your children will be students of G‑d.” This, in turn, will lead to, “great will be the peace of your children,” for they will be not be worried by health problems or financial difficulties.

This is particularly appropriate at present in the days preceding the holiday of Shavuos, the “season of the giving of our Torah.” May we merit the blessing traditionally given by the Previous Rebbe, to “receive the Torah with happiness and inner feeling.”

As is customary, this gathering will be concluded by distributing money to be given to tzedakah. Everyone, even young children, should — each according to his ability — add to this amount.