It was nearly 11:00 p.m. when we arrived at 770 on Monday night, Iyar 19, 5730 (May 25, 1970). I immediately went to see Rabbi Chodakov to ascertain the earliest possible moment when we could see the Rebbe.

“Well,” he said, “yechidus is on Thursday, and I will try to fit you in; but, if you wish to see the Rebbe sooner, then you can go in straight away. Rabbi Gutnick of Australia is now with the Rebbe; as soon as he leaves, you can enter the Rebbe’s presence.” Of course, if I accepted this offer for tonight I should not be allowed in again on Thursday; so, “Which day do you prefer?” What a question to ask!

Leaving Roselyn at the apartment (which the Rebbe had kindly loaned to us), together with our grandsons Yosef Yitzchok and Menachem Mendel Lew, I rushed to 770 and took my stand outside the Rebbe’s door. It was now midnight and, as Rabbi Gutnick had been with the Rebbe since 11:00 p.m., I expected to enter at any moment.

Suddenly the door opened. I was caught unaware as Rabbi Gutnick emerged. I looked at my watch, it was 2:00 a.m. I had been waiting for two hours.

It looked liked Rabbi Gutnick had some tough issues for the Rebbe, as the Rebbe looked very tired and perhaps even sad. Nevertheless, the Rebbe gave me a lovely smile of welcome. He remarked that I must be tired because, by my English time (which was five hours later), it was now 7:00 in the morning, and I had been up for twenty-four hours. I admitted that before I entered the Rebbe’s sanctum I was indeed tired, but now the Rebbe had certainly made me wide awake.

“How are your children and grandchildren and daughter-in-law? It is the first time I have seen her.” The Rebbe was referring to earlier this year, when my son Avrohom, and his wife Susan, and their children, visited the Rebbe. I wondered what the Rebbe meant, when he said it is the first time he had seen her, as she had been here before that.

“Yes,” replied the Rebbe, “but she was not your daughter-in-law then.”

I took this opportunity to tell the Rebbe that my daughter-in-law, Susan, wished to send special warm regards to our Rebbetzin and to say how impressed she was with her grace and charm, as she made Susan, Avrohom and the children so welcome at the time of their visit for Purim.

The Rebbe remarked that he had deliberately refrained from telling me to come on that Purim flight. “I took no chances, in case you would not come for your regular Shavuos visit.”

The Rebbe was very upset and perturbed when he heard that there were rabbonim leaving Manchester’s 35,000 Jews hefker (devoid) of adequate rabbinic leadership whilst they removed themselves to Israel for personal benefit. It is against the din, against the Shulchan Aruch, to leave a community without first seeking and obtaining a replacement. The Rebbe was surprised that a great posek, such as a leading Rabbi of Manchester at that time, should ignore the din because it suited him. The Rebbe was also offended at the nerve of another Rabbi, who requested that the Rebbe send a replacement from America to work for less money in a small community whilst he cleared off to Israel.

What can the Rebbe now answer people like our Lubavitcher shochtim in Manchester (who have begged the Rebbe to allow them to leave, but are being restrained because the Rebbe would not allow Manchester to be left without adequate kosher meat) when they see their so-called superiors leaving the town without compunction? I remarked that one of these rabbonim was over retiring age.

The Rebbe interjected “Rabbonim do not retire at any age. Moshe Rabeinu did not retire. It was a disgrace to give rabbonim five-year contracts.”

The Rebbe took great exception to people asking for a brocha for something that they had done or decided upon, without even first consulting the Rebbe regarding its legitimacy.

The Rebbe then requested me to provide a Rashi kashe (question) for the following Shabbos. I reminded the Rebbe that this year we came especially for Shabbos mevorchim, as the Rebbe himself had requested last year. So why should I have to work for an extra farbrengen, since on Shabbos mevorchim the Rebbe would hold a farbrengen in any case? Well, the Rebbe still persisted that he would like a Rashi question from me.

I was happy to inform the Rebbe that our mikvah in Manchester was very nearly ready. But I was not too pleased, as I only used the mikvah on special occasions. If we now have a beautiful mikvah on our own premises, it would not be right for me to pass by without using it. I would have to arise earlier in the morning and change my routine.

I delivered the message from Manchester Lubavitch that we wanted Rabbi Chaim Farro to assume the leadership of all Lubavitch activities in Manchester as soon as possible.

“But not before Yud Beis Tammuz”, said the Rebbe. “It would be cruel.”

The Rebbe went on to say that because an extra family was coming to Manchester did not mean that the rest of the workers could take it easier. Avrohom is still rov of the shul and is to carry on as hitherto. All must continue to work as hard, if not harder, than at present.

“Chaim Farro’s job is to see that everybody works HARDER!”

The Rebbe said he was pleased that __ had been helping at the Lag b’Omer parade. He hoped she would continue her efforts for Lubavitch, and that her daughters would support us, too.

The Rebbe was keen to hear about the progress we were making regarding printing the bilingual edition of the Tanya, containing the original Hebrew together with the English translation.

The Rebbe was obviously disappointed that four of our young friends in Manchester had still not arranged shidduchim yet.

We discussed business matters for a few minutes and the Rebbe had a jolly good laugh when I explained to him that Avrohom took off a whole day from business to arrange the Lag b’Omer parade.

In honor of this past Pesach, as was the usual practice before special days in the calendar, the Rebbe sent us a cable. The identical greeting would have been sent to all Lubavitcher communities around the world. At the end of the cable the Rebbe conveyed that there should be “niflous” (wonders). For some reason, the cable that arrived for Manchester said, “nifleee niflous” (which in Hebrew actually means “wonders of wonders”). I brought the cable with me to New York and I now showed it to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe laughed and said it was a brocha from the post office!

Last year I was told to bring Yossi with us to Brooklyn on this trip. I therefore reported that, “as requested, we have carried out the instructions and brought Yossi with us.”

“You mean Yosef Yitzchok,” said the Rebbe.

We also brought along Shmuel and Hindy and their other four children: Mendy (4), Yenta Chaya (3), Golda Rivka (1) and baby Pinchas.

By now it was 3:05; I had been with the Rebbe for an hour and five minutes. Before leaving, I presented the Rebbe with five bottles of mashke that the Rebbe could distribute at a farbrengen. The Rebbe wanted to know “at which one.”

I replied, “Any one. It is for the Rebbe to give to whomever he wishes.”

“Is it from Manchester?”

“No,” I replied, “from me. Surely the Rebbe can find some deserving person or cause to whom to give the mashke.”

The Rebbe admitted that he had stopped giving mashke at the farbrengen because it “got out of hand.”

I told the Rebbe that though I appreciate receiving from the Rebbe’s cake, the mashke lasted longer and was easier to distribute back in Manchester, as the cake became hard and stale after a week.

The Rebbe wanted to know if there was any special reason I had brought five bottles.

“Not really, but the U.S. Customs allows us to bring in five bottles free of duty.”

“What will I do with five bottles?”

“Take them home.”

“But I don’t like vodka,” answered the Rebbe.

Once again, the Rebbe then showed his humility by saying, “Mr. Jaffe, I thank you for coming to see me!” What a wonderful and unique Rebbe we have. That such a great man and Tzadik should actually thank me for coming to see him was so unheard of that it left me speechless. The Rebbe then actually offered to take me home in his car.

I believe that the Rebbe looked very much happier and more sprightly than when I entered an hour before. Rabbi Chodakov told me to wait a moment whilst he went in to see the Rebbe. He came out beaming and said, “You put the Rebbe in such a good mood!”

“Thank G‑d for that,” I said to myself.

Incidentally, the following Thursday evening was the last official yechidus for two weeks (until after Shavuos). The Rebbe had over seventy yechidus appointments, ending at 5:00 in the morning.