The morning following our arrival, Friday, Sivan 3 (May 24), the Rebbe’s car arrived at 770 and I was, once again, left alone with the Rebbe, since everyone else rushed away and disappeared as soon as the car approached [out of awe or reverence. –Ed.].

There is a well-known parable in chassidus regarding G‑d’s presence during the four weeks prior to Rosh Hashanah, that it is time when the “King is in the field.” Normally, if one wished to visit the king, he or she first had to see the commissionaire, then the under-secretary, afterwards the minister, etc. until, in a rare case, one might get lucky and be allowed into His Majesty’s presence. Once there, he has no privacy and instead finds the king surrounded by myriads of officials and nobles. On the other hand, if, perchance, one should meet the king while he was out walking in the field, the king can be approached much more easily and a more intimate tête-à-tête could then take place.

Similarly, a personal meeting with the Rebbe first has to be arranged with Rabbis Chodakov or Groner. One could consider himself fortunate if, months ahead of a date, he or she has booked an appointment. When the selected date arrives, one may still have to wait for hours while earlier appointments are being seen. It is inevitably very late, 2 o’clock in the morning on average, when one finally enters the Rebbe’s sanctum. Even once inside, Rabbi Groner pokes his head in every minute or so, to give a subtle hint – sometimes not so subtle – that many others were still waiting their turn.

Is it not much better to meet “the king in the field?”

Here I was all alone with the Rebbe, the street deserted, not a soul to be seen anywhere, and no one telling me to “make it brief.”

As the Rebbe walked towards me, I wished him “Sholom Aleichem.” The Rebbe seemed pleased to see me and responded with “Aleichem Sholom.” The Rebbe inquired whether Hindy had brought any of the ainiklach (grandchildren) with her. “I have received letters from a number of them,” added the Rebbe.

I responded that Hindy had indeed brought letters, but those were from her children who stayed in London. I then added that being presently in a “Hakhel year,” Hindy had even brought her “babies” – in fact all three of them – including Sholom Ber, who was only ten weeks old and could not even hold his head up properly. [In times of yore, during the Sukkos festival of a Hakhel year – once every seven years – visitors to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem would even bring along their tiny babies. –Ed.]

The Rebbe was very pleased and, while broadly smiling, indicated that next year [Shavuos] they should bring all of their children, not only the babies. [See chapter four, when Rabbi Shmuel and Hindy Lew traveled to New York with their eight children. –Ed.]