סיון תשכ"ט - ר' זלמן יפה (אנגלית)

מתוך Yomanim

קפיצה אל: ניווט, חיפוש

It is now eleven years since I have been personally visiting the Rebbe, mostly with Roselyn, my wife.

I well recall our very first private appointment with the Rebbe – our first “yechidus.” We asked Rabbi Chodakov, the Rebbe’s personal secretary, at what time we were due to see the Rebbe. He replied “chatzos - at midnight!” To an Englishman, eight or even nine o’clock at night was very late for a conference, but midnight? It seemed absolutely crazy.

Today, when I am offered an appointment at 2:00 in the morning, I ask “Why am I so lucky to have such an early yechidus?”

תוכן עניינים

"Quick Hello"

For Shavuos this year we arrived at 770 from England at about 7:00 p.m. Rabbi Chodakov informed me that the Rebbe would be addressing the annual N’shei Chabad conference in about half an hour’s time in the large hall; after which it was proposed that the women and girls, from out of town only, would form a line past the Rebbe who was sitting alone at the table flanked by Rabbi Chodakov and Rabbi Groner. They would be allowed just a couple of moments each to speak to the Rebbe.

Rabbi Chodakov suggested that after the file-past of women and girls had finished, we could then “tag along” and say “Sholom aleichem” to the Rebbe.

We rushed like crazy to get to the hall before 8:00 p.m. There were about 500 women and girls present and all anxious to speak to the Rebbe. Although only the out-of-town ladies were supposed to file past, all the 500 insisted upon joining the queue. Instead of waiting an hour, we waited seven hours, till three in the morning. However, it was well worth it as we enjoyed an unforgettable experience. We were the last in the line. There were now three girls ahead of us. Each would hand the Rebbe a letter, which took the Rebbe a few moments to read. Upon finishing each letter, without any hesitation, the Rebbe would reply. “You must continue to do this or that.” “Stay at college,” “Rabbi Chodakov will loan you 250 dollars to finish the course; pay back when you are able.” “Go to camp this year and take this group and that course.” Each girl was tremendously pleased and uplifted when she moved away. The girl immediately before us burst into tears - of joy, she said - on going to see the Rebbe for the first time.

Then it was our turn. The Rebbe smiled and asked, “Why did you not come before Shabbos Mevorchim and catch another farbrengen?” (Later, I told Berel Futerfas that the Rebbe made a joke about our coming for Shabbos Mevorchim. He said that the Rebbe does not make jokes, so he is now preparing for next year’s flight to arrive in time for that Shabbos.)

The Rebbe asked me whether we farbreng in Manchester. “Yes,” I said, “every Shabbos Mevorchim.”

“Oh, you will have to change your name to Kfar Chabad.”

We were staying at the apartment above the Lubavitcher kollel, which also adjoins the back of 770 in Union Street, and which actually belongs to the Rebbe.

“Where are you staying?” asked the Rebbe.

“Union Street,”

“Ah, good, Unity - Sholom”.

Oh, I am a real chossid now, and I am well and truly at home at 770, where people trample on my feet with relish, and push me with their hard elbows. Especially when it gets really crowded, and the place is jam packed with people, all joining the crush of humanity. Mind you, I am becoming quite an expert myself at this. On the other hand, it is an amazing and unbelievable sight to see the hall jammed tight with people and not an inch to spare. Then, when the lookout gives the signal that the Rebbe is on his way, a sudden hush falls on the assembly and, as if by magic, a large clearing is formed, through which the Rebbe passes on his way either to the platform during a farbrengen or to his own special place during a shul service.

Incidentally, the Rebbe never keeps the congregation waiting at the shemaor amidah.

After services on Shabbos and Yom Tov, the Rebbe wishes everyone “Good Shabbos” or “Good Yom Tov” very quietly. A pathway is again miraculously cleared for him. I normally start a niggun so that the Rebbe is “played out” with a happy tune.

To my eternal surprise and astonishment, but also gratification, the Rebbe has continued to bestow upon me much honor. Many years ago, I had asked the Rebbe why he treated me with such honor, when, in fact, I had done nothing much to merit such favors. The Rebbe replied that it was not for the work that I had done, but for what I was going to do.

Last year, I asked the Rebbe again why I was so favored and recalled what he had said to me on the previous occasion - that it was for the work I was going to do and not for what I had done.

The Rebbe smiled and said, “The same applies today!”

Meals with the Rebbe

I was invited to join the Rebbe for Yom Tov meals once more, together with about a dozen or so other men. Obviously, this was always a very great honor. Enjoyable, dignified, but oh, so tense! After all, we were dining with our own royalty. This year, however, the atmosphere was happy, thank G-d, like a family get together!

Someone asked the Rebbe what the Lubavitch custom was in regard to decorating the shul with flowers in honor of Shavuos . This apparently is the custom in most shuls. The Rebbe answered that in his home town (Nikolayev, Ukraine) they did practice this custom. Someone else pointed out that many shuls do not.

The Rebbe said, “The gabbai from Manchester is present, we can verify with him what their custom is.”

I answered, “Indeed all the shuls in Manchester have flower arrangements on Shavuos, besides the Lubavitch shul.” I then asked what the custom was here.

“What is the question?” asked the Rebbe, “you are here yourself!”

I explained to the Rebbe that I was wondering if the beautiful new colorful garden I had seen outside 770 had something to do with this Shavuos custom. The Rebbe informed me that the garden had nothing to do with that custom; in fact they set it up, not shortly before Shavuos, and not even shortly before Lag B’omer, but a while before that, and it had nothing to do with this custom in the Shulchan Aruch.

On the first day of Shavuos, before luncheon, we partook of coffee and cake in the adjoining room. The Rebbe was not present, but the (Previous) Rebbetzin, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, welcomed her guests and presided over the gathering. She had a warm and gracious smile for everyone, a typical, charming “Queen Mother.”

Earlier during davening shacharis, I was surprised that the “ho’aderes vho’emunah” and “Kalie Atoh” sections were not sung. Therefore, at the meal on the first day, I mentioned to the Rebbe that in Manchester we sing those songs during davening.

“Ess iz ah gleicher zach,” (it is very appropriate) said the Rebbe. “Do you sing it every Shabbos?” (Referring to “Ho’aderes”.)

“No,” I replied, “only on Yom Tov.”

Does the Rebbe think we should sing it every Shabbos? I was trying not to think how many members we would lose if we took an extra ten minutes over the davening each week.

The Rebbe came to my rescue by saying, “Okay, only on Yom Tov.”

So on the second day of Yom Tov, for the first time in a few years, we sang during shacharis. At the meal on the second day, I thanked the Rebbe for giving the green light.

The Rebbe said “You should have mentioned it before, and we would have sung it the first day too. Since you now deserve a commission, sing another song.” (This commission, would later become useful as a bargaining counter for an extra farbrengen.)

We then discussed Lubavitch problems in Manchester . I recounted how we were expecting a £20,000 grant from the government that we desperately needed, and how in the end we got it.

The Rebbe said, “Next time ask for twice as much, £40,000!”

The Rebbe’s brother-in-law, the Rashag, then pointed out that from certain seforim we might be able to learn that we did not need a farbrengen on Shavuos.

“Good,” said the Rebbe. “Then we will all have a rest.”

“Oh no,” I said. “We will not let you off!” This caused a broad smile from the Rebbe and much laughter.

The Rashag said to me, “You must come more often.”

The Rebbe intervened and said, “Everyone has his z’man (time) for coming, and since he has davened Rosh Hashono and Yom Kippur at the omud for so many years, he has a chazoka and cannot come during that time.” The Rebbe paid me some very nice compliments.

I was always given the honor of leading the bentching at one of the four meals of Yom Tov. This means that I had to drink the whole goblet of wine and make a brocha achronah, whilst everyone remained seated and quiet.

Good Yom Tov

The first night of Shavuos, at 3 in the morning, following “tikun leil Shavuos,” the Rebbe said a maamar, a forty-five minute, deep and penetrating talk on chassidus, tough and difficult - for me at least. After the Rebbe left at 3:45, Rabbi Yoel Kahan repeated the entire maamar. It is uncanny - like a human tape recorder.

After every Shabbos and Yom Tov farbrengen, there is a chazorah. I have strayed into the shul at 1 o’clock in the morning after the end of Shabbos, and found about fifty yeshiva boys listening to Yoel Kahan repeating all the sichas and the maamar from that day’s farbrengen. Many pull him up and correct him and/or help him out. One of the yeshiva boys is, at the same time, writing it all down in special shorthand; and by Monday, the entire farbrengen is already in print.

This does not refer to a mid-week farbrengen, like Yud Tes Kislev, when the Rebbe uses a microphone and all the proceedings are also recorded on tape.

On the second day of Yom Tov, at 8:00 p.m., the Rebbe led the usual Shavuos farbrengen. There is a long platform at one end of the large hall. The Rebbe sits alone at the table surrounded by about 100 rabbonim. In the well of the hall, the baalei battim sit at tables surrounded by tier upon tier of benches on which stand the yeshiva boys, reaching almost to the roof, something like a large auditorium. About 1,000 people are present normally and, on special occasions, even double that number. The Rebbe wishes everyone l’chaim and, during the course of the farbrengen, one takes the opportunity of saying “l’chaim” to the Rebbe. The Rebbe will say a sicha, a twenty to thirty minute talk on the parsha, or on another timely theme, followed by a niggun and more sichas. Normally, a maamar is also said by the Rebbe, during which everyone stands and listens enraptured and quietly for the forty minutes or so duration.

During this farbrengen, the Rebbe said a strong sicha about bringing up children. The Rebbe explained that our guarantors at the giving of the Torah were the children. The Torah is Toras Emes - truth. It cannot be changed or altered; it is the truth! The parents were not accepted as guarantors, only the children. A parent using his own ideas, doing away with a particular mitzvah, has demonstrated something to his child. Then the child takes away two more; he uses his so called “head” to justify that.

Much of this is up to the Jewish women, the mothers! They teach their children the proper way; even a few-weeks-old child is being imbued, like when the mother sings a Yiddish lullaby to the baby about Torah being the best way. Or even before the child is conceived, by the parents keeping the laws of family purity. Then we can be assured that the child will be perfect and, in turn, will be a perfect parent and then grandparent.

During the farbrengen, the Rebbe asked me why I was “unemployed.” for I had not said “l’chaim” for a while.

During the course of the farbrengen, we also had visits from New York City Mayor Lindsey who was seeking reelection and from some other local political candidates.

This farbrengen took seven-and-a-half hours and ended at 3:30 a.m., when the Rebbe started distributing kos shel brocha - wine from havdalah- to everyone who filed past him with a cup into which the Rebbe poured wine. This took another hour or more.

(Last year during a farbrengen, the Rebbe handed me his large plateful of cake. “What should I do with it?” I asked the Rebbe.

“Zei vellen dir vaizen vos tzu ton mit dem” (they will show you what to do with it), said the Rebbe, looking at the yeshiva boys.

I was practically mobbed and just managed to salvage a few pieces of cake for my wife!)

Kinus HaTorah

On the Sunday after Shavuos, 8 Sivan (May 25), the usual kinus hatorah (Torah gathering) was held from 4:00 p.m. until 10:30. Roshei Yeshivos and other prominent speakers addressed us and delivered deep talmudic passages called pilpulim. The Rebbe is not present at these functions.

I am generally also asked to speak, which this year I did for ten minutes. I reminisced about the yeshiva boys who used to learn at 770 back in 5719 (1959) when the Rebbe had only the small shul upstairs. It was much too small. Now, ten years later, even the huge shul was much too small.

I related how those yeshiva students were now spreading Lubavitch doctrines and working for Judaism all over the world. Among them is my son, Rabbi Avrohom Jaffe, and son-in-law, Rabbi Shmuel Lew, Rabbis Nachman Sudak and Faivish Vogel. It is fascinating.

I told them how I had asked the Rebbe for a brocha that I not be a “tzorrus chossid” (“troubles” chossid) and write only when in trouble; all I wanted to do was write to the Rebbe every couple of weeks, relating good news.

I then told them a moshel (parable) about people who live at the source of a river and often do not realize the blessings and benefits that same river gives during the thousands of miles of its flow down to the sea. The same could be said in regard to the Rebbe. Here in Brooklyn, the students did not always realize that thousands of miles away the “river” was flowing stronger and larger than ever, bringing untold blessings upon so many thousands of people and families.

Yechidus

Our yechidus was the following night, Monday, 9 Sivan (May 26) at 8:30. The Rebbe said I must not tell anyone about this special yechidus, as all would want the same early appointment. [When we finally came out at 9:45, (maariv should have been at 9:30), only about 150 students were waiting for us. They all knew about this yechidus!]

Upon entering, the Rebbe stood up and told Roselyn that it was nice to give her sholom aleichem again, for the second time, and asked her to be seated. She sat, with paper and pencil in her hand, ready to write down the vital points that would arise.

I told the Rebbe that so far I had a wonderful time socially and now it was time for a business discussion.

The Rebbe asked Roselyn whether she had given permission for me to leave her and eat the Yom Tov meals with the Rebbe. When Roselyn answered in the affirmative, the Rebbe said he hoped she did not mind. Roselyn replied that as the Rebbetzin had made this sacrifice, so could she and was pleased to do so. The Rebbe said that his Rebbetzin had made this sacrifice for forty years.

Roselyn replied “biz ah hundred un tzvansig” (until 120). The Rebbe smiled appreciatively. In fact, during the whole one and a quarter hours the Rebbe was laughing and smiling most of the time.

I told the Rebbe about my speech at the kinus hatorah the previous day, about not wanting to be a tzorrus chossid.

“Did you not give a moshel as usual?” asked the Rebbe.

I was surprised, because I did not remember ever having given a moshel before. But, the Rebbe gets to know everything! So I told the Rebbe what I had said about people living at the source of the river who could not appreciate what was happening many hundreds of miles away. The Rebbe seemed to like it.

I reported about the many complaints I was receiving from people who had no replies from the Rebbe to their letters. I said, “l’havdil, the Queen of England has a private secretary who just acknowledges her letters.”

The Rebbe said that was not for a chossid. But yet, he was looking for some nusach (standard responses to be applied to various requests) that would satisfy not only his correspondents, but also himself. We discussed business and family, Lubavitch and communal problems.

I realized it was now 9:30, so I said, “The Rebbe will want to daven maariv.”

The Rebbe replied, “Vail ess shtaite in Shulchan Aruch!” (Because it states so in Jewish Law; - not just because “the Rebbe wants.”)

“True,” I remarked, “but it does not say one need daven at 9:30 p.m.; it could again be 3:30 a.m. like the other night.”

“Yes,” said the Rebbe, “that is so; but it was getting a little ‘tight’ for s’firah.” [The counting of the Omer, which needs to be completed before dawn.] He advised us to come for our next yechidus at the “usual” time, in the early hours of the morning, so that no one would be jealous.

The Rebbe then disclosed to me that he had received an anonymous letter from Detroit, “upon which even a “ב"ה” (a blessing to G-d) appeared on the top,” telling the Rebbe to go back to [the town of] Lubavitch and to not interfere with people in America and pester them to do mitzvos.”

The Rebbe agreed with me when I said I thought that it was a good sign to get such a letter.

I told the Rebbe that it reminded me of a Lubavitcher who once phoned me in Manchester at 7:00 a.m. and once called Bernard Perrin at 2 a.m.

The Rebbe said, “He must have been keeping 770 hours.” When we mentioned Avrohom, the Rebbe said he always addresses him as HoRav Avrohom in his letters.

The Rebbe asked me if I liked the apartment in Union Street. I replied that it was ideal, especially as it was only seconds away from 770. I added that we would like to avail ourselves of its use for every Shavuos.

We want a Farbrengen

Last year, upon learning that there would not be a farbrengen one Shabbos, I asked the Rebbe and, in the end, we had a farbrengen.

Now, here once again this year, after the above-mentioned yechidus, I realized that I had not asked the Rebbe for a farbrengen for the coming Shabbos. And after that one, there was still another Shabbos, too.

In addition to which, all the students at 770 were driving me crazy to ask the Rebbe for a farbrengen. Under no consideration would they ask the Rebbe themselves. Although they all wanted a farbrengen so badly. When there was an expected farbrengen on a Shabbos or Yom Tov, some students walked the six miles from the Borough Park neighborhood especially to be present. They said they could not have the chutzpa to ask for one; but poor me, I had to be the scapegoat. Well, since I wanted the farbrengen too, I had no option but to ask.

So I wrote to the Rebbe asking for two farbrengens. (Through this method of writing and leaving the letter in the Rebbe’s office, I normally received a reply on the same day). The Rebbe replied that as he himself had to open and read all the letters addressed to him, many of which were very confidential, this took a long time. He, therefore, had no time to prepare a farbrengen.

I wrote back saying:

In view of the enormous amount of correspondence which the Rebbe received, would I not be doing him a favor by not writing so often (every two weeks or so) and making more work for the Rebbe?

The Rebbe has said that my z’man (time) for coming to see the Rebbe was Shavuos. In the social and business department I was doing very well indeed, exceedingly well. I fully expect the same in the ‘learning department’, as talmud torah k’neged kulom (the study of Torah, equals all other mitzvos).

Furthermore, I think the Rebbe will agree that one farbrengen is not really a sufficient injection to last for twelve months. Since we find that brochos normally go in threes, as in birchas kohanim (priestly blessing), so too, I propose should it be with farbrengens; and I want two more.

And about the Rebbe not having enough time to prepare, I wrote the story about Winston Churchill who, when asked how much preparation he required for a speech, replied, “For a one-hour address I can start right away; for a twenty-minute talk, I need an hour of preparation; and for a three-minute address, I need a week’s preparation.” So, l’havdil, our Rebbe does not need any preparation for a five hour farbrengen.

Well, Thank G-d, there was a farbrengen that Shabbos, Sivan 14 (May 31) parshas Nosso. It was a very lebedik and freilich farbrengen. During the farbrengen, the Rebbe wished me Mazel Tov for two of my daughter Hindy’s children’s birthdays, Yossi (now age 5) and Yenta Chaya (2). He told me to take a bottle of vodka and make a farbrengen in London, not at Lubavitch House but at Shmuel and Hindy’s home.

The Rebbe said “The children were to be the iker orchim (main guests) and, after they had finished their share of the vodka, everybody else could then partake of the drink.”

(This extraordinary and unlikely birthday party subsequently took place with the children sitting “on top”, with about forty or fifty adults present; and I told stories about the Rebbe).

An interesting sicha was the one about bikurim (the first fruits, one brought to the temple in Jerusalem). The Rebbe said that this also referred to unusual and unexpected business deals, on which maaser should be paid immediately.

After the farbrengen, the yeshiva boys thanked me, and began nagging me right away, for another farbrengen for the following Shabbos.

After havdalah, I was at the door of 770 when the Rebbe was leaving. I was alone - everybody else had fled - when the Rebbe approached. I held the door open and wished the Rebbe, “Gut voch.”

The Rebbe smiled and wished me the same and asked: “tzufridden?” (satisfied?)

“Yes,” I said, and then, thinking about the following Shabbos, added “so far so good!”

After having said this, I was terribly ashamed of my boorishness and chutzpa. The following day I decided that I had to apologize for my lack of good manners, and sent a contrite and sincere letter of apology to the Rebbe, but still expressed hope for another farbrengen.

770 Life

The next day, the Rebbe received a brand new Cadillac from a wealthy follower who had often received, and is still receiving, the beneficent and successful advice of the Rebbe in his business problems. He sends a new Cadillac to the Rebbe every year.

We were also shown the new library and sumptuous offices next door, which we do hope the Rebbe will soon make use of. Although we always refer to Lubavitch House as 770, this building is now only a small part of the five or six huge buildings on Eastern Parkway owned by Lubavitch. I am not referring to our numerous schools and yeshivos in New York. (One new yeshiva costs $3 million to build.)

The following day I saw Rabbi Chodakov in his own private office, and I could not get a word in edgewise. The telephone was ringing continuously :Israel, England, Australia, besides local Canadian and USA calls. The general office is busier, even with three telephone lines. A young man wanted to see the Rebbe.

“The earliest is four months,” he was told, but he could send a letter.

A man had arrived from Uruguay with his son; he only wanted to look at the Rebbe. His wish could be granted at mincha. A yeshiva student brought in an old man and showed him a pair of tefillin, and said, “these are tefillin.” He helped the old man to put them on. The man made the brocha and recited shema; the boy then thanked the man, and the man, with tears in his eyes, thanked the boy.

A few years ago Rabbi Shemtov joined our group on the flight from Manchester to Brooklyn without asking permission from the Rebbe, and Rabbi Shemtov kept away from the Rebbe. He was afraid. I asked the Rebbe not to be angry with him, as it was my fault.

“Ah,” says the Rebbe, “then I have two people to shout at now!”

I had once complained to the Rebbe that he never replied to my letters from Manchester and I had to write again. The Rebbe said, “It was worth it as I had another nice letter from you because of that.”

On Shabbos, services usually finished about noon (beginning at 10:00). The farbrengen always started punctually, normally at 1:30. Once, I arrived at 1:33 and the Rebbe was already sitting at his place on the platform. He gave a sign as if to ask why did I come so late.

Many years ago, when Avrohom wanted to grow a beard, he asked the Rebbe if he could do so. I have since asked many people to guess what the Rebbe answered, and not one has ever got the right answer. He replied, “You must ask your mother.”

Another example of the Rebbe’s attitude is when I pointed out an ironic situation to the Rebbe: a woman was interrupting her work on Friday evening to light the Shabbos candles. The Rebbe replied, “At least she had fulfilled a mitzvah.”

Visiting the Rebbetzin

We were delighted to receive a phone call from the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, inviting us to come and see her, in the Rebbe’s and her home. This was a great honor that we accepted with alacrity. The Rebbe would, by design, not be home during this visit.

Roselyn and I arrived at 8:00 p.m. and enjoyed an extremely happy two hours with the Rebbetzin. Tea and delicious cakes were served.

The Rebbetzin agreed that it was most important to make the Rebbe freilich, especially at the Yom Tov tish, and agreed that if you want a thing badly, like a farbrengen, you must ask for it. It is so obvious. She intimated that there would be a farbrengen on the next Shabbos, too! She also said that she was in the next room during the Yom Tov meal, and heard how we were enjoying ourselves.

She asked Roselyn, “Are you not frightened when walking at night here?”

I joked about them not touching us because we are not Americans, like the story of the Maggid (preacher) who was preaching in a shul and all the congregation were in tears of emotion because of what he was saying. Only one man remained unperturbed. Afterwards, when asked by the Maggid why he was the only person not inspired, he answered, “I am not a member of this shul!”

We also discussed family and various other matters. I also told a few more jokes.

A very pleasant evening indeed. I hope the Rebbetzin enjoyed herself as much as we did.

Second Yechidus

The weeks soon passed and it was now time for our second yechidus.

We were to go into yechidus late Thursday night, Sivan 19 (June 5), at about 2:00 a.m. We ultimately did not go into the Rebbe’s room until 5:45 Friday morning! The time taken for a yechidus varies from one minute to three hours, so it is usually hard to ascertain the exact time one is due in.

Whilst we were waiting, we met Rabbi Yehuda Paldy, an Israeli journalist and activist on behalf of the “Who is a Jew?” campaign. He had broken his leg twenty years ago and, after three operations, it was decided that nothing further could be done for him. He could only walk leaning heavily on a big stick. He had been coming to see the Rebbe for three years now. On this past motzoei Shavuos, whilst he was receiving his wine during kos shel brocha, bent double over his stick, the Rebbe asked him why he still walks with a stick. He should now leave it behind. Rabbi Paldy smiled and the Rebbe said it was not a joke. “You don’t need a stick.”

So, he now walks fine without a stick. The men and boys who saw him previously walking laboriously with a stick still cannot believe it. This is Rabbi Paldy’s own story, and he is keeping the stick as “Exhibit A” for a constant reminder.

A yeshiva boy going in before us used to be a first class hippy and a drug addict. He has now been at the yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, Israel for twelve months!

Upon entering the Rebbe’s room, I said that since the last farbrengen I had received a windfall, bikurim! I explained that when I went to pay the agent for our landlord of the apartment, he refused to take my money. So I had brought the rent to the Rebbe as bikurim.

The Rebbe confirmed what we had surmised:

The sicha during the farbrengen on [the previous] Shabbos, which was your grandson’s birthday, was intended for Yosef Yitzchok, who bears my father-in-law’s name, since he was now a ben chomesh l’mikrah. He will be six next year and you must bring him with you next Shavuos. You can again stay at the apartment in Union Street.

The Rebbe said that he now wanted to ask me a question. “Why do I think, after all this time since Rashi’s commentary became widely accepted - some 800 years - has no one asked questions on Rashi until 1966/7/8?”

I answered the Rebbe, “The world has never had such a great scholar, a godol hador, like the Rebbe before, who could answer those questions on Rashi. Nor, have we have ever had someone who could ask such questions on Rashi.”

I reminded the Rebbe of his promise to have these Rashi sichas put into print for posterity. I then put in an aside about a farbrengen for the next Shabbos.

“Ah,” says the Rebbe, “you are smuggling in a farbrengen. If you will ask a question on a Rashi, then I will answer it on Shabbos.”

We discussed problems still left over from the previous yechidus, like Lubavitch in Manchester, shechita board, shul and so forth. There was also plenty of humor too.

We left the Rebbe’s room at 6:30 a.m.! We were not the last people to go into the Rebbe for yechidus that night - sorry, morning now!

I then took Roselyn home and returned to 770 to daven. At 9:40 a.m. the Rebbe left for home! Since 8:00 the previous evening, the Rebbe had not had any food, nor drink, no pause. And, incredibly, he was as fresh now as at 8:00 the night before. What a Rebbe!

After davening that morning, I started to work on finding a Rashi question. Now, instead of “is there a farbrengen tomorrow?” (I was told that 50 students had already arrived from the Newark yeshiva), everyone was asking, “What is your Rashi kashe (question)?” I was most annoyed with all of them. They fussed and congratulated; but, when I pointed out that everyone should try and send in a Rashi question, all became afraid again. They were good at giving me advice which I, of course, ignored.

I took a hint from Rabbi Zalmon Shimon Dvorkin’s shiur, which I had attended during the week.

In this week’s sedra, Behaaloscho, third posuk, it says that Aaron did what G-d commanded him to do. What does this mean? Would we expect him not to have done so? Why does Rashi have to say, “shelo shino,” that he did not change anything from what G-d commanded him to do?

Rabbi Zalmon Shimon explained that Aaron, who was the High Priest for thirty-nine years, lit the candles with the same warmth on the thirty-ninth year as he had on the first year. I did not like that explanation and I wrote to the Rebbe my question. (At the subsequent farbrengen, the Rebbe did not talk about this Rashi question, he did say, though, that he had spoken about this on a previous occasion for about two hours and I should ask the yeshiva boys about it.)

Rabbi Yitzchok Sufrin, who had addressed us so well on the way to New York on the plane, and helped with the bentching and tefilas haderech, suggested that I ask the Rebbe about his opinion on “mesan’echo,” (Bamidbar 11:35), which I did.

At the farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke for one-and-a-half hours on this, and connected it to the situation in Israel, too. G-d does not have to kuma (get up) and fight. He confounds their deliberations. They will ultimately destroy themselves. We must not return one inch of Eretz Yisroel to the Arabs.

There was a special sicha for us too, a tzeischem l’sholom (go in peace). It is no use coming to see the Rebbe once a year and that is all. We had plenty to do when we were away from the Rebbe. He gave me a wonderful smile and said, “Now it depends on you.”

After havdalah, I again held open the door of 770 for the Rebbe and said, “Gut voch. Everything is now perfect, except for one thing.”

The Rebbe was pleased and said it was a better reply than the previous week. “And what was that, ‘except for one thing?’”

I replied, “Because we are going home tomorrow and leaving the Rebbe.”

“Tomorrow is still in another day, and I will see you again. In any case, Moshiach may come and everything will be changed.”

The next day, Sunday, Sivan 22 (June 8), our buses left from 770. The Rebbe came outside to see us off. Someone asked me why the Rebbe gave me so much kovod. Did I give plenty of money? Work hard for Lubavitch? Or, what was the secret?

I replied, “Men darf machen dem Rebben freilich.” (We have to make the Rebbe happy). That’s all - in every possible way!

I suggested that they try it, too, just for once!