Rav Shneur Zalman replied: “Before answering your question, please tell me if you believe with all your heart that the holy Torah is not a storybook or history book; each and every word in the Torah has an eternal message that is applicable to each person in every generation.”
“I believe,” said the minister, “that the Torah is eternal and applies to everyone at all times.”
The Baal HaTanya said: “Now you’ll be able to understand this verse. Hashem created each person with a purpose. Every person has a mission to fulfill, and as the years go by, Hashem calls to him and asks: ‘Ayekka -- where are you? What have you accomplished? What have you done to fulfill your mission?’” He continued: “You are so many years old, with so many months and so many days. G-d is asking you, ‘Ayekka -- where are you? What have you done with your life?’”
The minister was very moved by the tzaddik’s explanation, and even more so when he heard the tzaddik tell him his exact age to the day. The penetrating question of “Ayekka -- where are you?” shook him to the core. He promised the tzaddik to do everything possible to free him from prison.