3 (Gimmel) Tammuz is the anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing. Chassidim don’t make eulogies; they tell stories: messages that communicate who the person who passed away is and hint at what we can do to perpetuate his values.

There was a young boy who grew up in Curacao, a Caribbean island that is part of the Netherlands Antilles. There were no Jewish schools on the island at the time and so he was sent to the local Catholic school.

He never adjusted to the school there and as he grew older, the situation went from bad to worse. Partially, it was because of his Jewish identity and partially, it was because of the difficulties all children face when growing up. His father didn’t know any way out and struggled with his son’s inability to adjust. One night the father had a dream. He saw himself as a young child, sitting on his grandmother’s lap. She was saying to him: “Anytime you are in trouble, the one who can help you is the Lubavitcher Rebbe.” This was the first time he had ever heard of the Rebbe.

The next morning the father went to his shul, a small building near his home. He asked the caretaker to unlock the door for him and went over to the Aron HaKodesh (holy ark), poured his heart to G‑d, and turned to leave.

* * *

On a January day in 1984, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, a roving Lubavitch representative, received a telephone call at home from Rabbi Chodakov, the Rebbe’s senior aide: “The Rebbe wants you to go to Curacao immediately.’

When the Rebbe gives a chassid a directive, he does not hesitate; he acts. Rabbi Kotlarsky took the next available flight to Curacao. Arriving at the airport and not knowing where to go or what to do there, he hailed a taxi and requested to be taken to the synagogue.

Now there are two synagogues in Curacao, one of which is a historic landmark. By a force greater than chance, the taxi driver, however, took Rabbi Kotlarsky to a small, neighborhood shul instead. Rabbi Kotlarsky saw a man leaving the synagogue. He introduced himself as an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The man nearly fainted; he had just poured out his heart, praying for his son. He told Rabbi Kotlarsky about his son’s difficulties and Rabbi Kotlarsky was able to convince the boy to go to New York for summer camp and then to Yeshivah. There the boy began to flower.

His thankful father wrote a letter to the Rebbe expressing his gratitude. He signed it: “A small Jew from Curacao.” The Rebbe answered the letter warmly, but objected to the title the father had ascribed to himself. “There is no such thing as a small Jew,” he wrote. “Every Jew has a soul that is an actual part of G‑d.”

Looking to the Horizon

In one of his letters the Rebbe writes that from childhood on, he would dream of the coming of Mashiach and the redemption that he would initiate. And upon his assumption of the leadership of the Chassidic movement in 5710 (1950), he made this the expressed goal of our entire generation: In doing so, he gave each one of us the privilege and the responsibility to do our part to make Mashiach’s coming actual fact.