On Yud-Beis-Yud-Gimmel Tammuz, the Previous Rebbe was released from prison in Soviet Russia. We are so grateful to HaShem that we call the month of Tammuz Chodesh HaGeulah, the month of redemption.

The Previous Rebbe himself explained that his release was not just a private matter. One year after he was released, he wrote a letter to the chassidim about the celebration of these days. In the letter, the Previous Rebbe writes: “It was not myself alone that HaShem redeemed on Yud-Beis Tammuz, but also all those who love the Torah and fulfill its commandments, and also all those who bear the name ‘Jew.’ ”

What did the Previous Rebbe mean by “all those who bear the name ‘Jew.’ ”?

Three boys in fourth grade might help us understand. One is Yosef Yitzchak Cohen whom everyone calls Yossi. The second is Yosef Yitzchak Levin, whom everyone calls Yitzi. And the third is Yosef Yitzchak Stein, whom everyone calls Itchie. These boys were all given the name Yosef Yitzchak and that is their real name, but everyone calls them by their nicknames.

Every member of our people bears the name Jew. Many of us bear this name proudly. We are proud to be Jews and we do our best to behave in a way that lives up to our special name.

There are some people who have not been taught that the name Jew is important, that it is an honor and a responsibility. Although they know that they are called Jews, they don’t mind when they themselves or others ignore this name.

And there are people who have not even learned that they are called Jews. Other people may call them by this name, but they themselves do not even consider it their name.

The Previous Rebbe was thinking about all Jews in his letter. He is saying that the redemption of Yud-Beis Tammuz is important not only to the lives of chassidim, not even only to others who keep the Torah and its mitzvos. It affects all the Jewish people, even those who are merely called ‘Jew’ by others.

And this is exactly what has taken place ever since the first Yud-Beis Tammuz. Immediately after his release, the Previous Rebbe began spreading Torah with increased energy, reaching out to all Jews throughout the world, and making them proud to be called Jews.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 329ff)