Today is Yud Beis Tammuz, the first of two days in which we commemorate the release of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, from imprisonment under Soviet rule. Through the grace of G-d, the Previous Rebbe escaped being sentenced to death, and was instead punished with 3 years of exile, for his attempts to spread the light of Torah- something which was defined as a ‘counter revolutionary activity’. However, less than a month later, he was freed, in what can only be described as a miracle, and we remember this incident through farbrengens, additional Torah study, and davening.
Yud Beis Tammuz teaches us to never give up. Even when death seemed imminent, the Previous Rebbe survived. Even when exile loomed, he persevered. And as he persisted with his dedication to Hashem and His Torah, he found himself freed mere weeks after the ordeal began. Just as Parshas Balak teaches us that we can transform curses into blessings, Yud Beis Tammuz reiterates the lesson, reminding us that we can transform negatives into positives, if only we trust in Hashem.