As we reflect upon the miraculous days of Gimmel Tammuz through Yud Beis Tammuz there are many stories and lessons that we admire and from which we are greatly inspired. What is most important however is not just our admiration and praise of these events but the practical implications these days have upon our daily lives. This sentiment is clearly reflected in the Hayom Yom for Yud Beis Tammuz where a quote from a letter from the Rebbe says that there should be Fabrengens held on Yud Bais Tammuz. The Fabrengens will result in reinforcing set times for Torah study that will impact all areas of life both physically and spiritually.
Rabbi Groner once told a story that took place around Channuka time. Rabbi Groner was not feeling well and the Rebbe told him to go see a doctor. When he returned from his appointment the Rebbe asked what the doctor said. He answered that the doctor gave him some medicine. The Rebbe told him that if you place the medicine on the shelf and just admire it and appreciate it, it will not make you better. If you open it, remove its contents and use it, then it will help you get well. So too, the Rebbe continued, it is with the Yom Tov of Channuka. If our forefathers, after miraculously winning the war and finding the jar of oil, placed the jar on the shelf in a museum and admired it and then told our children about it, there would not have been the Yom Tov of Channuka. We had to actually open the bottle and use its contents! Only when we used the oil did the miracle occur and the menorah remained lit for eight days. And because we used the oil we now have the Yom Tov of Channuka.
So too each one of us has a new opportunity every day. Every day we wake up and say Modei Ani, we thank Hashem for life, and praise Hashem for all of the greatness of life. But with all that we need to use our lives to their utmost. On Yud Bais Tamuz we internalize this message. That not only do we praise, admire and get inspired. We most importantly utilize every opportunity to accomplish all that we can.
The day of Gimmel Tammuz teaches an essential lesson of how best to carry out our resolutions to accomplish our purpose in the world. This year, the day of Gimmel Tammuz fell out on Monday night and Tuesday. In the year 5687-1927 the arrest and liberation of the Previous Rebbe occurred on the first day Rosh Chodesh Tammuz (the 30th of Sivan) on a Thursday. On Rosh Chodesh they informed the Rebbe that he was going to be sent out of prison into three years of exile to the city of Kostroma. Since it was already Thursday the Rebbe asked when he would arrive in the city of Kostroma. Their answer was; Shabbos. The Rebbe informed them that under no circumstances would he travel on the Shabbos. Only after many special efforts in government circles was it agreed that the Rebbe could stay in the prison until after Shabbos and travel on Sunday the 3rd of Tammuz.
According to many opinions in Halacha the Rebbe could have left on Thursday. This was a dire situation. The government had first decided that there would be the death sentence, lo aleinu. That was overturned and commuted to ten years of hard labor. That was also overturned and he was down to three years of exile. In the Rebbe’s writings it was found that the cell that the Rebbe was in was on death row. Every night he heard the authorities removing people from their cells. Some screaming ensued, and then there were gunshots; and then there was silence. No one knew who would be next.
There were other options. He could have just left due to the danger, and refused to travel later, or get a letter from a doctor etc.. Nevertheless, in these circumstances the Rebbe refused because he knew that they would use the fact he left in order to get to Kostroma on Shabbos for their anti Yiddishkeit propaganda whether or not he actually arrived there on Shabbos. And then it would be too late. He knew the impact this could have on all of Russian Jewry and how it could cause them to weaken in their resolve to keep Torah and Mitzvos come what may. Guarding Yiddishkeit among Russian Jewry is the very cause he had been moser nefesh for until now that had caused his arrest in the first place. Once again he was moser nefesh, but here in a situation of most eminent danger. He knew that it was possible that this refusal could anger the authorities. He knew that these authorities were forced to release him by those above them due to pressure and this could cause them to reverse the decision to allow him to leave.
What is the lesson do we take from the geula of the Friediker Rebbe on Gimmel to Yud Beis Tammuz. Recently, there was a story involving a woman travelling on a Friday from Cincinnati to JFK. The flight was diverted to Baltimore due to bad weather. Her goal was to be in Crown Heights for Shabbos. Their connecting flight was delayed. Since candle lighting was at 8:15pm, she wasn’t sure at 5:00pm whether to board the plane. In the end she got on at 6:00pm, but the plane was delayed on the runway. At 6:45pm they still hadn’t taken off. She was together with another frum woman and they asked the supervisor to deplane. Their request was denied. A Shlucha found out what happened and called the supervisor to prevail upon him to let them off. The supervisor said; “G-d will forgive them”. She replied; “neither you nor I have the authority to speak for G-d; now please, these women need to get off before Shabbos” The supervisor agreed to bring the plane back and allowed the women to deplane at 7:45 pm. They rushed to the Shliach of Maryland’s home and arrived 7 minutes before shkiah! This woman was later asked why she decided to get on the plane at 6pm knowing that it was just over two hours until Shabbos . “What me?” “There was another frum woman who was older and more experienced; she said that we could make it”
She could have stopped and asked herself, “Its 6pm Erev Shabbos, why take a chance? There could be a delay?” All too often, we believe in the computer schedule, the weather report, and the good traffic and we don’t think ahead about the eternal value of the Shabbos. The Rebbe never for a second lost focus of the essence, he thought far ahead. He did not rely on what he heard alone. He knew that he was the Nasi, and his impact, for now and what was at stake for the future. We need to learn to do this in our way as well.
In everything we attempt to accomplish we need to focus on our commitment and responsibility for others. We need to have great concern for how others perceive what we do. Even if we have a heiter and however good an explanation we may have for what we have chosen, still, they will see what was done, and that leaves a lasting impression.
A good Yom Tov and a Good Shabbos