This letter was addressed to Mr. Dov Padover with whom the Rebbe became acquainted when they both lived in war-torn France.

B”H, the third day of Chanukah, 5705

Greetings and blessings,

On several occasions, I inquired of Mr. Bezborodko concerning you and your family. I was happy to hear that you have settled here and that you and your family are doing well. And now I am happy to receive your brief letter although you do not mention anything about yourself.

Your letter awakened within me memories of the time we spent in Vichy and Nice, each one of us in conditions in which he was not accustomed.

When a person is uprooted from the setting to which he has become acclimated, in the time before he becomes accustomed to his new situation and responsibilities, he reveals patterns of behavior that reflect his inner nature without the ornaments and embellishments that society demands.

Very frequently, these patterns of behavior reveal the hidden good within this person, a good that perhaps he himself was not aware of because it was covered with a layer of conventional manners. He will be fortunate if he does not allow these patterns of behavior to become hidden again when he reaches a tranquil situation.

Such spiritual concepts apply — and to a much greater extent (qualitatively and quantitatively) — when a person is found in a situation which requires mesirus nefesh. For hidden and essential powers are revealed in such a situation and it is possible to change one’s life from one extreme to the other.

Thus [we can appreciate] a “measure for measure” relationship. For mesirus nefesh — conduct opposite a person’s nature — he is granted a miracle — something above the nature of the world at large.

This concept also applies with regard to a larger sphere, our nation as a whole. “In those days, this season,” [at the time of the Chanukah miracle,] the Jews, a small nation among the peoples rose up against the powerful Greek kingdom. And as a result, [G‑d] “delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak and the many into the hands of the few.”

With Chanukah blessings and good wishes to your entire family, “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson

P.S. I instructed that several of the texts from our publishing house which will certainly interest you be sent under a separate cover.