1. It is customary that, after having spent a certain amount of time in the study of Torah, the service of prayer, and having joined together in accepting resolutions to carry out good deeds in the future, we meet together once more before the guests depart for their homes. The purpose of this meeting is to stress that our separation will be only geographic.

Therefore, we gather together again, men, women, and children. This gathering is held in a holy place, a synagogue and a house of study. The concept of unity is further emphasized by the Hebrew word for synagogue, Bais Knesses, which literally means, “house of gathering.” There, Jews join together, presenting their prayers as a communal entity, not as individuals.1

The activities carried on in these places also express the concept of unity. One of the major elements of our prayers is the Shema which proclaims, “the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is One.” Since G‑d is “our G‑d,” He relates to the Jews with a special closeness as evidenced by the verse, “My son, My first-born, Israel.” Accordingly, G‑d’s transcendent oneness is also reflected within the Jews, creating unity among them. Even when they are, “scattered and dispersed among the nations,” they are “one nation.”

This oneness is reflected in our preparations for prayer, when even before we recite the opening prayers, we declare, “I accept upon myself the fulfillment of the mitzvah, ‘Love your fellowman as yourself.’ ” We emphasize that we love our fellow Jew in the same manner as we love ourselves.

This oneness and love is expressed when Jews gather together. Their actual joining together is a more powerful expression of these feelings of love than a verbal statement. Accordingly, this love will surely continue in the days which follow, even after we part from each other.

The expression of Ahavas Yisrael will nullify the reason for the exile, unwonted hatred between Jews, and thus, lead to the Messianic redemption, when together, we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael, Jerusalem, and the Bais HaMikdash.

The unity of the Jewish people is also expressed in the time of exile. Although “darkness covers the earth, and a cloud the nations,” oneness characterizes the Jews. This oneness is expressed by the fact that all Jews,2 no matter where they are found, direct their prayers to a single place, Jerusalem, and more particularly, to the Bais HaMikdash. Thus every Jew, men, women, and children, gives expression three times a day3 to the concept of Jewish unity.

In addition to the above, there is a unique dimension to the present gathering because it is being held in the days directly following the fortieth anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s passing, a time when G‑d grants us, “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear,” giving each individual the potential to become a new entity.

This, in turn, should bring about new and deeper expressions of unity among the Jews. Even though each is involved in a different aspect of Torah study, different mitzvos, and different means of earning a livelihood, they are joined together by an essential connection.

This point is also expressed in the weekly Torah portion which describes the song sang by Moshe and the Jewish people4 after the miracle of the Red Sea. The singular form of the verb “sang,” yashir is used, reflecting how, through the influence of Moshe, the Nasi, all the Jews joined together as one.5

Our Sages also interpret this word as an allusion to the Messianic redemption.6 Indeed, the unity expressed in this communal singing is the force which will bring about the redemption. Similarly, this unity is expressed through the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah — which is also connected to the Messianic redemption, because “tzedakah brings close the redemption.” Tzedakah establishes unity between the giver (a mashpia) and the recipient (a mekabel). Furthermore, that unity is twofold since the recipient also gives to the donor as our Sages declared, “More than the donor does for the poor person, the person does for the donor.”

This concept is also connected with the present day, a Wednesday. Wednesday is the day when both the sun (mashpia) and the moon (mekabel) were affixed in the heavens.

All the above will lead to the song of redemption that will be sung in the Messianic age. This is also related to the song of the day7 which concludes, “Come, let us sing to the L‑rd...” for the ultimate expression of our songs of thanksgiving will be in the Messianic age when we will all proceed together to Eretz Yisrael, Jerusalem, and the Bais HaMikdash.