Rabbi Binyomin Katz relates:
The day was Simchas Torah night, 1968 = During the farbrengen, the Rebbe stressed Jewish education for children, even if the results seemed unpromising. He brought an example from a story found in Isaiah, where the Prophet insisted that children be taught Torah even under the direst of circumstances. Although in the end only two were taught, in this merit King Sancheirev was defeated.
“And even if the yetzer hora, Evil Inclination, will try to convince you that this is only an ancient tale and not pertinent to our day and age, then we have a more modern example too.
“There are a number of Jews who sit confined to very cumbersome circumstances for quite a long time now. Observance of Torah and mitzvoth are strictly outlawed. Their children were born into this way of life and have been raised this way as well. They too may ask – what sense does it make to educate our children in the way of Torah? It will be difficult for their children to lead normal lives.
“But the truth is this: they continue to give a Torah education to their children, and successfully so. There are those of them who don’t even entertain the thought of ever being able to leave.
“I know of a bochur, student, who is already at marriageable age and still does not believe he’ll be able to leave. I received a letter from him; the mere sending of a letter alone is dangerous to him. There he asks me – not for a blessing that he’ll be able to leave; for that he’ll need a miracle and he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of one. He barely has enough food to eat, but that is not what concerns him. Why he has to face such challenges on a daily basis, I don’t know.”
The Rebbe wept. “So he writes in his letter that he has disturbing thoughts that haunt him during davening, and he seeks my advice on how best to deal with them. This issue bothers him to the core, for if it weren’t so, he wouldn’t put himself in danger to resolve it.
“Why does Hashem present him with such trying challenges? He did not deserve this!
“But this boy asks no such questions. In truth, the existence of the entire world is due to him. But he does not know that, and in truth, that wouldn’t concern him anyway.
“Now let’s compare our own ‘hardships’ that we face here to those of that boy in Russia. This is no ancient ‘tale’ from the past. The bochur exists where he is right now, and I have the actual letter here!”