The convention is held in the summer, usually in June (in the weeks before or after Shavuot), and was traditionally addressed by the Rebbe. In general, the Rebbe addressed the women three times a year: 1) At the convention; 2) in an address to the graduating class of Beis Rivkah, as well as counselors going to summer camp; and 3) during the week prior to Rosh Hashanah.
In this Sichah, the Rebbe discussed the Sefirah of that day, “Yesod Sheb’yesod,” explaining its message to the Jewish woman, who is the “Yesod,” foundation, of the home – a role greatly emphasized in the days of preparation leading up to the Giving of the Torah on Shavuos, for the women were given precedence in the Giving of the Torah.
The Rebbe also discussed the weekly Torah portion, Behar, in which the Jewish people are instructed to observe the Mitzvah of Shemitah (Sabbatical Year) as soon as they enter the Holy Land. This teaches us that the first focus of the Jewish land – and the Jewish home – should be the tranquil sanctity of Shabbos. In this also, the women take precedence, for (a) they bring Shabbos into the home by lighting the Shabbos candles; and (b) it is traditionally the women who prepare the special Shabbos foods.
One year, the women baked a cake in the shape of a Sefer Torah. The cake was placed on the Rebbe’s table, a little to the left of his place – obviously positioned for the Rebbe to take with him.
As the Rebbe rose to leave after delivering his address, he paused and gazed at the cake. The crowd hesitatingly awaited his reaction. Then, in a moving display, the Rebbe lifted the cake, performing a mock “hagbah” (traditional raising of the Torah scroll for the congregation to see, before replacing it on the dais). The entire hall broke out in spontaneous applause – and the Rebbe immediately joined in; the crowd continued clapping until the Rebbe had exited the synagogue.
A similar story took place at the following year’s convention, when the women prepared a flower arrangement – and this time, the Rebbe took the whole arrangement with him.
In the picture, the Rebbe is looking at a presentation created by the women of Neshei Chabah, expressing the theme of that year’s convention – “Vechol Bonayich,” how Torah and Mitzvos bring ultimate peace to the world.