The Shelah states1 that all Jewish festivals, including those of Rabbinic origin, are related to the Torah readings of the weeks in which they occur.

Understandably, this also applies to the Festival of Liberationof the 12th-13th of Tammuz, which celebrates the release of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe from Soviet incarceration and exile to which he had been sentenced for his selfless dedication to the propagation of Judaism.

The festival of the 12th-13th of Tammuz is thus related to the Torah portion of Balak, during which week it falls this year. In what way are the two related?

Our Sages tell us2 that Balak hated the Jewish people with a passion. He therefore endeavored to harm them in every conceivable way, up to and including hiring the sorcerer Bilaam to curse the Jewish people.3

The same was true with regard to those who arrested the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. As he himself wrote in a letter,4 his religious work was “permitted according to the laws of the land.” The arrest resulted from the efforts of those who sought to disrupt “those who observe the laws of Moshe and Israel,” although this disruption was “in opposition to the laws of the land.”

The hatred of these people to Judaism and to observant Jews was — like Balak’s — so great that they were ready to contravene the laws of the land, so long as this would hinder the Previous Rebbe’s sacred work.

Balak and Bilaam dismally failed in their nefarious quest; so much so, that instead of Bilaam cursing them as he was hired to do,5 he ended up blessing them. So, too, regarding the liberation of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe: the very same people responsible for his arrest were forced to assist in his release, expending efforts to allow the Rebbe to leave the country.6

This highlights the fact that the Rebbe’s miraculous release took place in a manner that could even be clothed in nature. Rather than nullifying the bounds of nature, the miracle of his release was so lofty that it took place in a natural way.

* * *

Generally speaking, there are three paths of Divine conduct in relation to this world:7 a) the natural day-to-day conduct of this world; b) miraculous conduct that transcends and negates the bounds of nature; c) miraculous conduct of so high an order of Divine revelation, that rather than negating nature it is able to clothe itself within nature.

Concerning the latter manner of Divine conduct, at this level, nature itself is so permeated with spirituality that it agrees and lends itself to the miracle. Such was the miracle of Purim. Although clothed in nature, it was clear to all that it by far transcended nature. Such, too, was the miracle of the 12th-13th of Tammuz, wherein the same people who ordered the Rebbe arrested, later ordered his release.

The Previous Rebbe merited this manner of miracle because his very being was permeated with actual and total self-sacrifice. Indeed, his work of spreading Judaism in Russia necessitated self-sacrifice for each and every aspect of Torah and mitzvos.

Our Rabbis tell us8 that Divine service infused by self-sacrifice reaches so lofty a level that it transforms nature itself into a vessel for G‑dliness. The Previous Rebbe’s unstinting self-sacrificial service thus resulted in a miracle of the highest order.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, pp. 237-238, 300-306.