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Monday, June 26, 2017 2 Tamuz 5777



12th of Tammuz
It was late Wednesday night, June 15, 1927.  At that time, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, sixth in leadership and father in law of the present Lubavicther Rebbe, was living in Leningrad, in one of the apartments in the spacious building that had once belonged to Plechanov, a crony of the czar, at the corner of Pantilomanskaya Street and Machavaya Street.
The Rebbe had just finished hours of private audience – yechidus – at which he received chassidim who used to consult with him in their hundreds on their wide-ranging issues.
There were fixed times set aside for these sessions, and when they came to an end that night, he sat down at the table for the evening meal, together with his son-in-law, R. Shmaryahu Gourary, and two of his daughters. (The youngest daughter was not at home at the time.) The Rebbe was exhausted, and had recently not been well.
The doorbell rang.
“It’s the Cheka agents,” the Rebbe said with certainty, as if he already knew the identity of these midnight visitors. Then, calming his frightened family, he added: “Whoever they may be, and whatever their purpose, I place my trust in the One Above: whatever He wills, that is what will be.”
The door burst open noisily and two young men appeared, dressed in civilian clothes. Behind them stood armed policemen. And indeed, they were agents of Cheka, or GPU, the Soviet State's Political Directorate of Internal Affairs Bureau.
“We were dispatched here by the GPU,” announced the tall, bespectacled young man who appeared to be the leader of the group. His seemed determined and intelligent. “Is this the home of Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, who is known as the Rebbe of Lubavitch?”
The Rebbe’s answer was cool and measured: “If you didn’t know the name and the address, you would certainly not have come here. So why do you ask?”
The other visitor, who was short and swarthy, joined in: “So you don’t want to answer?”
“I don’t know if I am obligated to answer you,” said the Rebbe, “because I don’t know of any transgression of mine that should spur the GPU to dispatch its agents at such an inappropriate hour.”
His calm and deliberate manner apparently upset their equilibrium.
Thus started the dreaded arrest of the Previous Rebbe under the brutal Communist regime. 
On the third of Tammuz, after 19 days of imprisonment in the dreaded "Spalerka", the Rebbe was sentenced for a three-year exile to the remote city of Kostrama.  Summoned to the prison office at midday, he was informed that he was allowed to visit his home until evening, but if he did not report to the railway station in time to catch the 8:00 PM train to Kostrama, he would be returned to Spalerka.
His home was soon packed with followers, and at 7:00, when it was time to set out for the station, he took leave of his family privately.
Thousands flocked to the station to bid him farewell. As soon as he arrived there he was tightly surrounded by guards – three GPU officers, a number of policemen and soldiers, and two senior personnel from the department of criminal investigations. Many chassidim wanted to accompany him at least for a few stations, but the GPU prohibited the sale of any tickets for that train. So it was that on his journey, the Rebbe was accompanied by one of his daughters, a close friend, and his son-in-law, R. Shmaryahu Gourary.
Kostrama was a big city with only about a hundred Jewish families – simple folk who were far removed from Torah scholarship. They had only one synagogue, and whenever the Rebbe came there to pray, it was filled with Jews who had not set foot inside it for years. 
After a week in Kostrama, on Tuesday July 12, 1927, corresponding to the 12th of Tammuz, 5687, the Rebbe was granted a complete reprieve.
At 10:00 AM on Thursday, July 14th, escorted by two representatives of the local Jewish community, the Rebbe left Kostrama for Leningrad as a free citizen.

Therefore each year on these days, Jews all over the world celebrate spiritual freedom from oppressors and oppression.

* * *

Three Weeks
In the Summer, we have an t annual mourning period called The Three Weeks. This is when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our launch into a still-ongoing exile.
The period begins on the 17 of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, a fast day that marks the day when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans in 69 CE.
We reach its climax and concludes with the fast of the 9th of Av, the date when both Holy Temples were set aflame. This is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that many other tragedies befell our people.

Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach. May that day come very soon, and then all the mournful dates on the calendar will be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness.

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