After handing the Tanyas to the Rebbe, while we were still standing on the Rebbe’s platform, the Rebbe delivered a six-minute sicha. The following are some of the points:

The Torah is comprised of both a “revealed” and a “concealed” (i.e. mystical) aspect. Earlier in the farbrengen, we concluded a Talmudic tractate; an integral part of the revealed Torah. Chassidic teaching expounds on the concealed and inner dimensions of the Torah.

The Torah itself was presented to the Jewish people in two formats: the written Torah and the oral tradition. However, first we were presented with the written parts of the Torah, and that was on Shavuos.

The book of Tanya, a primary source of the esoteric and concealed Torah, is known as the “written Torah” of chassidus. Therefore, the Tanya has a unique connection with this evening, this being the night before Shavuos.


We find that Moshe Rabeinu translated the Torah into all seventy languages before he passed away. Translating Torah is a two-way process: The words of Torah are translated into a specific language, enhancing and elevating that language (to Torah). At the same time, the words of Torah are “enhanced” in that they are now accessible to anyone who is familiar with that language.

Everything in the Torah must also serve as a lesson for future generations. The particular lesson from Moshe’s translating the Torah is that all facets of the Torah should continue to be translated into every language possible. This lesson not only pertains to the revealed parts of Torah, but also to the concealed teachings, allowing everyone to be fully conversant with all aspects of the Torah.

It is especially significant that this translation is in English, the language spoken and understood by the majority of the Jewish people today, including in America where a vast quantity of the Jewish people reside.

The English language was imported to these shores hundreds of years ago by people who left England to settle this land. (And in fact, the language itself is called English.) It is, therefore, appropriate that the Tanya, translated into English, was also brought to these American shores from England.

It has to be remembered that the English language is only an outer garment, a vessel. This edition of the Tanya is a new “vessel;” but the contents consist of the same old, precious and good “aged wine.” The original Hebrew constituent must never be changed or tampered with,

G‑d forbid. Not under any circumstances whatsoever.

We are taught that everything connected with the Torah and mitzvos should be beautiful. This edition of the bilingual Tanya is beautiful. The next edition should be even better, and the third, better still.

[The Rebbe extended his blessings to] all those who had taken part in the production of this edition. They should go from strength to strength in their learning of the Torah, in their performance of mitzvos and in chassidus, in a happy, contented and joyful manner, until we are privileged to greet our righteous Moshiach speedily and in our days.

[The Rebbe concluded by extending] a hearty “yashar koach” (thanks) for giving him and all the assembled such “nachas ruach” (spiritual satisfaction) and joy, by bringing this Tanya in time for Shavuos.

Following this sicha, the Rebbe called upon various “English citizens” (and their sons) to come up to the dais.

The Rebbe called out: “Vu iz [where is] Tiefenbrun? Vu iz Shmuel Lew? Nem dee kinder oichet [bring your children too].”

The Rebbe then asked, “S’iz doh noch eimitzer fun Eingland?” [Is there anyone else here from England?] Rabbi Chaim Farro and Mendel Katsch were called up.


As the Rebbe’s dais began filling up with all of the Rebbe’s (and Her Majesty’s) British subjects (the original four – we who had presented a Tanya before the last sicha – still remaining on the platform), the Rebbe turned to me and said, “You are the ‘governor’ of the United Kingdom, breingt ahertzu alleh Einglisher citizens [bring all English citizens up here]!”

The Rebbe handed to each adult a letter and vodka, and cake for the boys. It was a most impressive scene. The Rebbe definitely knows how to orchestrate something on a grand scale.

And then, with the English contingent all standing and literally surrounding the Rebbe on his dais, and to everyone’s absolute surprise and joy, the Rebbe himself commenced the singing of the “Alter Rebbe’s Niggun” (the signature tune of the first Chabad Rebbe – the author of the Tanya.) This was the first time [and the only time. –Ed.] that the Rebbe himself commenced the singing of this hallowed niggun – at least in public – by singing the first bars of this tune. Everyone present at this historic moment was singing with extra feeling and emotion; it was the climax of an already unique and exciting farbrengen.

At the conclusion of the niggun, the Rebbe handed Rabbi Sudak the rest of the cake, saying: “Upgeben dee froyen [distribute this to the women].” The Rebbe then turned and said: “Farro iz doch oich a rov [Farro is also a rabbi],” and he gave Rabbi Chaim Farro the rest of the wine and said to him: “Upgeben dee froyen voss zainen gekumen fun Eingland [distribute to the women who came from England].”

The Rebbe then began singing his father’s Simchas Torah niggun and with everyone standing, singing and clapping, the Rebbe left the hall.

This entire farbrengen with the presentation lasted less than two hours.

After the farbrengen, I, together with scores of others, waited outside the Rebbe’s room. Many hundreds more were lining the walkway and the street. We all wanted to show our thanks and appreciation to the Rebbe.

Suddenly, the Rebbe’s door opened and we spontaneously burst out singing the Simchas Torah niggun as loudly as possible. The Rebbe emerged from his study with a wonderful and happy smile, swinging and twirling the Tanya in tune to the niggun, whilst urging us on with his other hand to sing louder and faster. With sprightly steps the Rebbe reached his car and left for home.

I then noticed Roselyn standing by with a proud, beaming smile. She offered me wine and cake that she had received from the Rebbe. Roselyn was in an extraordinary circumstance, as she was now in the position of giving me such items. It was her turn and she rather liked it.