From the day he first met the Rebbe in 1959, my father Reb Zalmon Jaffe ע"ה dedicated his life to use every opportunity to make the Rebbe happy and to serve as the Rebbe’s public-relations man in England.
He always encouraged people to write to the Rebbe, not necessarily when they had problems, but to keep contact always. He only wanted to write good news, to make the Rebbe happy. He did not want to be a Tzoros-Chossid and only write when he had a problem.
He revelled in relating stories about the Rebbe and of the achievements of his Shluchim. This is one of the reasons why he wrote his famous My Encounter with the Rebbe, to whet people’s appetite to visit ‘770’ themselves.
My father always had a knack for writing and when it was suggested to him that someone should keep a diary of their experiences at ‘770’ he jumped at the opportunity. He went on to publish thirty two volumes of My Encounter With The Rebbe!
The Rebbe would provide comments where necessary and always encouraged my father to increase the number of pages every year. That my father managed to do this was one of the Rebbe’s greatest miracles!
The Rebbetzin was his most famous fan. My father would always be certain to present a copy of his diary to the Rebbetzin as soon as he arrived in New York. When they met again, it was obvious from her questions and comments that she had read every page.
My father had an avid readership and his Encounters were known to be addictive. After starting to read one of the books it was difficult to put it down before reaching the end. The books comprised a synthesis of humour and seriousness, Torah and anecdotes. The common thread that ran through the Encounters was the connection that our family had with the Rebbe. This gave the books a charming and cherished personal touch.
Unbeknown to most readers, in addition to his books, my father maintained an extensive correspondence with the Rebbe. For forty years he had the privilege of the Rebbe’s inspired advice on practically every matter.
When my son-in-law, Rabbi Avremi Kievman offered to put the letters in order, I accepted without hesitation. When he then suggested publishing them in a book, I knew that this is what my father would have wanted, to make the Rebbe’s advice available to everybody!
I gratefully agreed to publish these letters, knowing full well that this would give my father much nachas and joy, and that the project would also be of help to others.
I thank Avremi for all his hard work and his wife, my daughter Golda for her forbearance in this project. May Hashem grant them both, together with their family, much success in their Shlichus in Liverpool.