Sunday night, Shevat 14 (January 26), at 12:20 a.m., I entered the Rebbe’s study for yechidus.

The Rebbe began by saying: “Sholom Aleichem, Reb Zalmon.” The Rebbe then got right into things and asked, “Why did not Mrs. Zalmon Jaffe come with?” The Rebbe was upset. (Emphasizing “Mrs. Zalmon” was a direct reproach to me, for generally, when the Rebbe writes to my wife he refers to her as Yacha Reizel – her own Hebrew name – not Mrs. Zalmon). “You should have persuaded your wife to accompany you,” said the Rebbe. The Rebbe reminded me that he had stated [a few years ago] that I must come to Brooklyn with my wife, and here I was without her!


I protested that I had written a letter informing the Rebbe that this time Roselyn was remaining at home.

“I thought this was a threat and that you would ultimately persuade her to come with you,” the Rebbe remarked.

Regarding the Tanya, I indicated to the Rebbe that we were expecting the first twelve leather-bound copies to be ready “in a few months.”

To which the Rebbe inquired, “Months?”

We made a list of those who would receive one of these first copies of the Hebrew/English Tanya. The Rebbe would receive, of course, copy number one.

I gave regards to the Rebbe from the Rebbetzin. I informed him that she really looked lovely.

I requested from the Rebbe a farbrengen for this Monday, Tu B’shevat.

“Another farbrengen?” exclaimed the Rebbe! “Yesterday the Rebbetzin and I missed our Shabbos seudah [meal] and the cholent, and so did many other families.”

“We could have a short farbrengen,” I persisted.

The Rebbe said he would need to ask his wife and then added, “I will try my best.”

In England, and in all probability elsewhere, these two responses would mean farfallen (hard lines), nothing doing! However, with the Rebbe it means exactly what it states. So, since the Rebbe would do his best, I felt we could be assured that there indeed would be a farbrengen this Tu B’shevat!

This past Shavuos the Rebbe told me that Hindy (my daughter) and Shmuel Lew should bring all of their children to New York next year. I gave the message over to them the way I had understood it, that next Shavuos they are to come to New York with all of their eight children ka”h.

As you can imagine, traveling from England to New York is difficult enough, even with two adults and a few children. But the sheer logistics of bringing eight children is quite another matter. Besides the major financial expense involved, where could one find a place large enough

to accommodate a family of ten? (There are no hotels in the Crown Heights area.)

Additionally, they were not certain whether the Rebbe meant that they were to all come together in one visit, or that it could be spread out over the course of this year. (In that regard, for this past Sukkos, Shmuel traveled to New York with his son Pinchas.) Before I left to New York for this trip, Shmuel and Hindy asked if I might verify the Rebbe’s precise intention.

Getting back to my yechidus, I now asked the Rebbe if I had conveyed the message correctly that the Rebbe wanted to see Shmuel, Hindy, and their eight children for this upcoming Shavuos.

I was correct.

In the Rebbe’s words: “You do sometimes change my messages and quotations a little, but on this occasion you are correct! I will be happy and pleased to see all of your daughter’s family for Shavuos – if it will not interfere with the children’s studies.”

I asked the Rebbe whether Roselyn and I would again be able to have the use of his apartment over the kollel. The Rebbe agreed to this. (I subsequently went to the kollel to inspect the apartment. Rabbi Michoel Slavin, who is in charge of the premises, had to go and obtain the keys. It was now always kept locked. I was glad to know that.)

Maybe it was my guilty conscience, but during Kiddush Levonah last night, when I said “Sholom Aleichem” to the Rebbe (it is a part of the service) I thought the Rebbe looked at me suspiciously. The Rebbe in any case replied “Aleichem Sholom.”

So I now “confessed” to the Rebbe that based on his instructions given last Shavuos, that it was a good thing to recite this prayer before a journey, I had done so in Manchester before leaving on this journey. Now that we were leaving for another journey – back to England in a day or so – I “cheated” and joined the Rebbe when he came outside for this service, even though I, obviously, did not repeat the prayers again.


The Rebbe said, one may join the tzibur [congregation] for Kiddush Levonah even if he has already said it previously. “One may not say the brocha again, but you can say the mizmorim [psalms contained therein].” The Rebbe added, “I was very pleased you wished me Sholom Aleichem.”

We talked about those newspaper articles against the Lubavitch movement. The Rebbe was annoyed that the person attacked the whole Lubavitcher movement and not him personally.

“The movement was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, shlita,” I respectfully disagreed. “Newspapers had to sell copies to increase circulation. What better way than to attack a great leader, and who greater than our own Rebbe? Even Moshe (and all the prophets) had trouble with their own Jewish people and only because they were doing G‑d’s Holy work.”

We discussed communal business and communal personalities and my family in Israel and England.

I intimated that since I was now here on a social visit (the Rebbe had expressly asked me to come) “I will therefore leave the ‘business’ discussion [brochos and so forth for my personal business affairs] until Shavuos.”

After a thirty-five minute yechidus, I reluctantly took my leave of the Rebbe.

A number of people objected to the fact that I was having yechidus during this visit because I always have my yechidus when I come for Shavuos. It was just eight months since my last yechidus and only four months to my next one. When I explained that this time I had come to New York specifically at the Rebbe’s behest they were satisfied.