We had visited Brooklyn five times during the past five years, twice in the month of Shevat and three times in Tammuz. Hindy had now informed us that she was expecting her first baby around Shavuos time. So what better time than Shavuos could we choose to charter our next flight to see the Rebbe?

(This trip was the start of our annual “pilgrimage” to visit the Rebbe in Brooklyn for the festival of Shavuos. This we continued until we spent twenty-nine Shavuos holidays with the Rebbe, thank G‑d!)

We arrived in New York on Iyar 29, 5724 (May 11, 1964). Hindy rented an apartment for us opposite hers, on Montgomery Street in Crown Heights, and we spent a lovely Shavuos Yom Tov in Crown Heights with the Rebbe.

The baby was due shortly after Yom Tov. Almost one week after Yom Tov, late on Sunday afternoon, which was Sivan 13 (May 24), Hindy was taken to the hospital and we were now becoming anxious about our return flight home, which was scheduled to leave on the following Sunday evening. There would be no problem if the baby was a girl, but a boy had to be born before 8:30 p.m. to ensure that his bris would take place on the Sunday before we left for home.

By 11:00 p.m. the baby had not yet arrived, so we retired to bed.

At 4:00 the next morning, there was a great banging and clamoring on our front door. Roselyn rushed down to find out the news. But it was Debbie Epstein, a dear friend of ours from Manchester. She had only just arrived in New York and had now taken advantage of our invitation that she should spend a few days with us in order to see the Rebbe.

Roselyn was terribly disappointed and her face fell. Not because it was Debbie, but because she had expected news about the baby. A few hours later, however, we did learn that Hindy had presented us with our very first grandson, who was later named Yosef Yitzchok Lew.

For Shabbos, parshas Behaaloscho, we were not anticipating a farbrengen from the Rebbe. During our yechidus on Thursday night, Sivan 17 (May 28), I mentioned to the Rebbe that I wanted the Rebbe to consider honoring us with a farbrengen, since our chartered flight was leaving back to England that Sunday night, and therefore, this farbrengen would be a good ending for our many travelers.

The Rebbe said “A farbrengen takes preparation.”

I told the Rebbe “Then we could have the farbrengen without the maamar.”

“The sichas also take preparing.”

“We could all sing for a while, and meanwhile the Rebbe will find something to say.”

“I would not be able to hold out for too long without talking.”

I said “the Rebbe will do whatever was necessary and perhaps there will be a farbrengen after all.”

In the end, the Rebbe did hold a farbrengen. In fact, the Rebbe also included a sicha about a bris during the farbrengen.

Shmuel’s mother had sadly passed away just two weeks earlier. (We actually arrived to New York on the day she passed away.) During the sicha about a bris, The Rebbe mentioned this when he said that a bris was a joyous occasion, “even when the father of the child was, at the very same time, in a sad time personally.”

On Sunday night, Sivan 20 (May 31), needless to say, the chartered flight back to Manchester took off without us. (I had to pay £150 extra for staying over that one extra day. Roselyn remained with Hindy for the following two weeks.)

The bris was on Monday, Sivan 21 (June 1) at 770. We provided a sumptuous seudah for the yeshiva students and baalei battim. I was a little surprised when the Rebbe refused the honor of being sandek. The Rebbe explained that there were already a good many people who were extremely envious of the friendliness that the Rebbe had been extending to me and to my family, especially so in regard to officiating at Hindy’s wedding. The Rebbe maintained that the jealousy of these people would know no bounds if he accepted this great honor.

He felt that, for our own sakes, he should refuse. I realized that, as usual, the Rebbe was quite right and so we asked Rabbi Chodakov to be the sandek.