I've recently returned from a seven-day speaking tour, lecturing all across Europe. (Read my travel diary in my blog above...) It was an amazing experience to meet such a diverse group of people, some in small Jewish communities where the struggle to remain connected to Judaism is real. It was incredible, as well, to meet and get to know a little bit about the lives of the shluchim (Chabad emissaries) courageously stationed in these small communities, who persevere in their mission of igniting Jewish souls and spreading the light of our heritage.

In one of the communities, in The Hague of Holland, I was shown a letter that was written by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, to my own grandfather, Rabbi Dov Yehudah Schochet, who served as rabbi to this community after World War II.

The letter so unnerved me that long after I returned home, it still haunts me.

The Rebbe writes to my grandfather in 1949, four long years after the war had ended. He tells my grandfather that many Jewish parents, terrified of the approaching Nazis, entrusted their children to the care of orphanages run by nuns or priests, in a desperate attempt to spare their children's lives. Now, years after the end of the Holocaust, many of those children still remained in these environments, being fed Christian doctrines along with their daily fare.

The Rebbe pleaded with my grandfather—and no doubt wrote similar letters to many other persons in position of influence—to "do whatever is in your power to find and save these children." He continues, chillingly, "For every day that these children remain in these foreign environments, their parents in the Afterlife suffer terrible agony for their sons and daughters."

Ominous words. "Save the children...every day...suffer terrible agony."

We are now more than half a century after the Holocaust, but the words of the sixth Chabad Rebbe still ring true, though in perhaps a slightly different context.

Assimilation is widespread in every community and in every country. I witness it in each and every one of my travels—and even back at home in as thriving a Jewish community as Toronto. There are far too many Jewish children in "foreign" environments that need to be "brought home" —shown the beauty, wisdom and depth of their own heritage.

Indeed, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, made this his mandate, sending out his emissaries to literally the four corners of the world – places as remote as Korea, Alaska and Tijuana – in order to save the Jewish children and reconnect them to their heritage. It is a daunting battle, but one which is being fought by valiant and courageous soldiers, who are taking it on, one Jewish soul at a time.

But as the letter to my grandfather reverberates through my mind, I think, too, how these words apply on an abstract level, to each and every one of us. And how the letter perhaps summarizes the mandate of Chassidic teachings.

The Chassidic movement began at a time when the Jewish people were experiencing a state of spiritual unconsciousness. The laws, or the body of the Torah, may have been observed, but lacked the passion, warmth, enthusiasm and vibrancy of the soul of the Torah.

These profound fiery teachings aimed to melt the ice enveloping our souls by unveiling the spiritual landscapes of our souls, our lives, and our world.

Life in exile means a distance, detachment and obstruction from our Source. No matter how comfortable we may feel in our homes and communities, we are in foreign territory, far away from the core essence that our souls crave—a genuine connection with our Creator.

These lofty, holy teachings were revealed – under great self-sacrifice – in order to "save the children." The children – you and I – children of G‑d, who may not be aware of just how alien and distant we have become. Our impassiveness just proves how spiritually lethargic we are, and how much we need to be brought home.

And for every day that we remain disconnected, in our alien environment of exile, our Father in Heaven is in terrible agony, awaiting a complete reunion—with each and every one of His children.