1. This gathering is being held, as it is every year, in the days preceding the holiday of Shavuos, “the season of the giving of our Torah.” However, just as we must view the Torah as “new” each day, so, too, each year, we must bring out a new lesson focusing on a different dimension — and translate that lesson into practical action, for “deed is most essential.”

This concept is related to the mitzvah of counting the Omer. On the surface, one might ask: Of what value is our counting of these days? They will pass whether we count them or not.

The answer is that it is human nature that when something is of no value, we neither count it or pay attention to it. However, if it is important and valuable, we constantly count and recount it. Similarly, these days, beginning from the day after we became a free nation, are important. Therefore, the Torah which shows us how to fill these days with light and energy, teaches us to add to their importance and value by counting them.

Furthermore, we do not only count the days as a whole, each individual day is counted and a blessing is recited before the counting. This is unusual. For example, when we recite the blessing, Shehecheyanu, over the purchase of a new garment, even though we appreciate the garment when we wear it in the days that follow, the blessing is only recited on the first occasion the garment is worn. In contrast, when counting the Omer, each day, a new blessing is recited.

One of the lessons that can be derived from this is: From a superficial perspective, the counting of the Omer appears to be one continuum, with one day no different from the next. However, G‑d gave the Jews the knowledge to appreciate how each day is unique and must be lived with new energy. We can gain this energy through our connection with the Torah which is called the Torah of life and brings life and vitality to all aspects of our experience.

This is particularly relevant to the Jewish woman. Torah calls her akeres habayis — a term which also means — ikro shel bayis — “the essence of the house.” She creates the home environment, filling it with the spirit of Torah. G‑d gives her special powers to accomplish this task. He is the Creator of the world and controls its destiny, i.e., He, and not the laws of nature, controls the world and directs it to its ultimate purpose, to become a dwelling place for Him. G‑d has given the power to make the world a dwelling place for Him, to make each individual home, “a sanctuary in microcosm,” to Jewish women.

When counting the days of the Omer, rather than state, “Today is the __th day of the Omer,” we say “Today is __ days of the Omer.” This implies that we include, not only the day we are counting, but also the previous days. This reinforces the lesson that “nothing is ever lost” and we have the potential to — and Torah teaches that we should — correct and perfect any service that was lacking in the previous weeks (or months or years).1

For example, if one previously participated in the construction of a Torah institution or a charitable organization, at present, one can review what one did and evaluate one’s previous efforts. This will grant one the potential to add to those efforts and correct any lack that existed.2 On the contrary, there is always special joy when one finds a lost object. Similarly, when correcting these “lost” opportunities, one should feel special joy. This joy will bring out greater powers of understanding which will increase one’s success.

Another example, a teacher who educated children: The relationship that was established between them should be preserved. Even if they are now studying in a different place, one can still maintain ties with them and try to influence their behavior. Thus, if a teacher taught students about the laws of Kashrus, Taharas Hamishpachah, or lighting Shabbos candles and learned afterwards a new dimension of those laws, herself, she should try to impart this understanding to the students she previously taught.

She should explain that this is very important to the students’ material and spiritual success because it strengthens their connection with G‑d, the source for all blessing. It will add success in all matters including the spreading of Judaism and the affairs of one’s home. It will bear fruit which will produce other fruit as in the metaphor, the fruits produced by one tree produce other trees and fruit for generations to come.3

To summarize: Each Jewish women and girl must work to see that her house is filled with light and holiness according to the directives of the Torah. G‑d gives this potential to every Jewish woman. This is brought out by the mitzvah of lighting candles on Sabbath and Yom Tov. This mitzvah adds new light to the home — therefore, on Yom Tov, the blessing, Shehecheyanu, is recited. Even though we do not necessarily perceive this — because of the limitations of our bodies — as new light, the Torah assures us that it is so. Similarly, the Torah assures us that we all possess a Jewish soul and thus, G‑d dwells “among them,” within each individual.

The gathering will be concluded by giving each person money to distribute to charity. This will increase G‑d’s blessings to the entire Jewish people wherever they are for whenever a Jew does a mitzvah, he brings added blessings to the Jews throughout the world. Through these activities, we will merit the Messianic redemption, the “new light which will shine on Zion.” May it be now, immediately.