On Wednesday afternoon, Sivan 4 (May 14), the Rebbe went to the ohel again, returning for a late mincha.

There had been much discussion and surmising on when and how the Tanya would be formally presented to the Rebbe. In general, in such circumstances, we could expect the Rebbe to receive a delegation in the privacy of his study, where there would be a short, formal procedure. Since there was a good likelihood of a pre-Shavuos farbrengen tonight, we surmised that perhaps shortly before this farbrengen the Rebbe would call us in to his study for this presentation. But, as of this afternoon, when the Rebbe left for the ohel, there was no word from the Rebbe regarding any Tanya presentation tonight or even a farbrengen, for that matter. In the end, no one could have ever conceived the spectacular manner or form in which the presentation actually took place.

The Rebbe returned from the ohel at 8:35; after sh’kiyeh (sunset). Mincha was a few minutes later at 8:40. Following mincha, Rabbi Chodakov went into the Rebbe’s room and came out with an announcement that at 9:30, only a half hour’s time, there would be a farbrengen (this would be following maariv).


A few minutes later, we received a message from the Rebbe, through Rabbi Groner, that at the end of the farbrengen, the Rebbe would like the members of the committee to formerly present six of the leather-bound Tanyas to him.

Before the commencement of the farbrengen, before the Rebbe entered, Leibel placed a box with some of the Tanyas under the Rebbe’s dais. We were now all ready.

It was quite a short farbrengen – about 90 minutes all told – and it included a regular pre-Shavuos maamar. My usual seat is in the well of the hall, just facing the Rebbe. Towards the end of the farbrengen, the Rebbe gave me a signal. The exciting moment of the presentation had now arrived! I immediately jumped up to move toward the Rebbe’s platform and Bernard followed right on my heels. Rabbi Sudak, already on the platform, was a step ahead. Hershel was dragging his feet.

We were now all together on the dais. Rabbi Sudak took a Tanya from the box under the table and went forward to present it to the Rebbe. The Rebbe was literally beaming with pleasure.

The Rebbe accepted the Tanya and said, “Ah groisen yashar koach” (Thank you very much). He later handed Rabbi Sudak some vodka and the Rebbe’s pastoral letter published for Shavuos.

I was the next in line. Rabbi Groner was excitedly and hoarsely whispering, “Come on, come on, quickly, quickly.” In order to accelerate the proceedings, I took two Tanyas from the box and handed them to the Rebbe.


The Rebbe took them and asked “Tzvei? Un einer far vemen?” (Two? And [the other] one is for whom?)

What a question to ask! What a temptation! All I had to do was say it was for me and I would be the proud owner of a wonderful leather-bound Tanya, one of the first twelve to be printed, given to me directly from the Rebbe’s hands in front of thousands of people and broadcast live throughout the world.

I then contemplated what my colleagues’ reaction would be. I know how I would have felt if the positions were reversed. I reluctantly replied, “They are both for the Rebbe.” The Rebbe smiled and accepted the Tanyas. (He later also handed me the vodka and letter and wished me l’chaim.) Bernard and Hershel then followed.