The following is a freely-translated excerpt from a letter the Rebbe wrote in the fall of 1961 to a Jewish woman living in Madagascar:
…It was with pleasure that I received regards from you and your husband, through Rabbi Joseph Weinberg, upon the latter’s return from his visit in your community. It was a double pleasure to hear from him about your and your husband’s warm and willing response to the task of unifying the Jewish families in your area and bringing them closer to the practice of Judaism; especially that your husband has taken it upon himself to teach the children, which is of increased importance in our times, for today it is the children who influence their parents.
Certainly you and your husband are aware of the principle of “specific divine providence”—a principle that is a mainstay of our faith in general, and of the teachings of Chassidism in particular. “Specific divine providence” means that every event, great or small, that occurs in the world, whether involving an inanimate object, a growing thing, an animal or a human being, in its every detail and sub-detail, does not occur by chance, G-d forbid, but is specifically ordained by G-d as part of His intentions and purpose in His management of the world.
Therefore, it goes without saying that when a Jew finds himself in a distant corner of the world, far from his homeland, far from any established Jewish community, this is certainly not by chance. This Jew should see himself as an emissary of the Omnipresent through whom G-d’s word may reach also this corner of the world, bringing about an increase of justice and righteousness among all its inhabitants, and spreading the teachings and observances of Judaism among its Jews.
In such a case, one should not look upon the number of individuals that one has the opportunity to influence. Our sages have said, “Whoever upholds a single Jewish soul, it is as if he has upheld an entire world.” If this is true at all times, how much more so does it apply to our generation, after the destruction, Heaven forfend, of such a significant portion of our people. Today, every surviving Jew is a “brand salvaged from the fire” who must not only fulfill his own role, but also take the place of those who perished in sanctification of G-d’s name…
Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Yanki Tauber.
. Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a.
. Zechariah 3:2.
. Igrot Kodesh, vol. XXII, pp. 9-10.