One of the highlights of our trip to the Rebbe is our visit with the Rebbetzin at her home on President Street. The Rebbetzin is a very charming and friendly person. She always makes us feel very much at home. After two or three hours when we take our leave, she usually expresses deep regret that we “have to leave so soon.”

Lately, we have been arranging two visits with the Rebbetzin during each stay in Brooklyn.

On our first visit, after exchanging pleasantries, the Rebbetzin informed us that the Rebbe brought home a Tanya for her to see and she had examined it minutely. She exclaimed how she, too, was enthralled with it. It was well beyond her highest expectations.

The Rebbetzin stated repeatedly, during the course of our almost three-hour visit, how much she and the Rebbe loved the Tanya. It was just beautiful – beautiful! Such a lovely production – a classic!

She said the Rebbe had divulged to her that “Reb Zalmon” had been in yechidus for an hour and that the Rebbe had thoroughly “enjoyed it.” The Rebbetzin said she hoped I would continue to make the Rebbe happy as I have been doing. That is the ikar (the main thing). Don’t take notice of what people are saying.

I read the Rebbetzin some excerpts from my diary. We also showed her some photographs. We were delighted when she chose to keep some for herself. The Rebbetzin was her usual gracious and elegant self. We enjoyed nice refreshments – unlimited supply of ice-cold pineapple juice and fresh strawberries. She expressed a desire to see Hindy, Shmuel, and their children and we made up that we would bring them on our second visit next week.

I asked the Rebbetzin whether she would be pleased to officially receive the members of the Tanya committee, as they wished to present her with a leather-bound Tanya autographed by the board.

At first she demurred a little (she dislikes ceremonious events) and said she would be quite satisfied to accept this special Tanya signed and presented by me alone. However, upon reflection, she agreed and said she would be delighted, honored and gratified to receive an official delegation representing Anash (the Lubavitch community) of England.

We arranged this next appointment for the following Sunday afternoon, Sivan 15 (May 25). First, Roselyn and I arrived at 2:45 p.m., and we apprised the Rebbetzin of the following arrangements: the Tanya delegation representing the United Kingdom would arrive at 3:30, and at 3:45, Hindy, Shmuel, and their eight children would present themselves.

I pointed to the camera that I brought with me and reminded the Rebbetzin that (four months ago when I had visited her Yud Shevat time) she had agreed to allow herself to be photographed during this visit. I indicated that we would like to take the photograph before we left.

Roselyn and I were having a pleasant chat when, at the stroke of 3:30, there was a knock on the front door. The delegation had arrived to pay homage to our Rebbetzin. I got up and joined them. I introduced the various members to her. (She had met some of them before.)

The Rebbetzin, who is only a small lady, sat at the table, her personality filling the entire large room. No queen receiving her faithful and loyal subjects could have looked more regal and gracious than our dear Rebbetzin.

Rabbi Sudak made the presentation. On the inside cover of the Tanya was a beautifully inscribed parchment that read, “To our gracious and esteemed Rebbetzin, with best wishes from the Anash of England, presented by the committee.” Here followed the four signatures (of Nachman Sudak, Hershel Gorman, Bernard Perrin and Zalmon Jaffe) and the date.

The Rebbetzin was tremendously pleased and expressed her warm appreciation.

We then discussed various aspects involved in the production of the Tanya. She also inquired after the welfare and health of each of our families, and at 3:45 the delegation – besides me – took their leave.

Ten minutes later our own “gang” arrived. After the usual introductions, each child performed for the pleasure of the Rebbetzin and for the reward of a couple of sweets (candies) from the Rebbetzin that were piled in a bowl on the table. The Rebbetzin had a grand time. Yossi (11) quoted a portion of gemora with all the explanations. Mendy (9) recited a mishna, also with explanations. Chaya and Golda (8 and 6) each told a story. Pinchas (5) quoted some Chumash. Chana (4) sang a niggun and even Zelda Rochel (2 and normally very shy) sang some (unintelligible) tune. Sholom Ber (15 months old) gave the Rebbetzin a nice toothless smile!

The children stayed for about thirty minutes and everyone enjoyed themselves.

I later heard that someone offered Yossi a record in exchange for the candy he had saved from the Rebbetzin.

He very sensibly refused.

Shortly after the Lews left, Roselyn and I took our own leave. But first we had a picture to take! I ascertained whether it would be okay to take the picture now and the Rebbetzin agreed.

I pointed my camera and peering through the camera lens, I beheld a most beautiful portrait of our dear Rebbetzin. All I had to do was push a button. But all was not so nice. I could readily note that the Rebbetzin was truly not happy with a portrait being taken of her. She did not actually say anything, but her eyes “said” enough!

I decided to forgo having a picture of our Rebbetzin.1

Many people ask me, “What does the Rebbetzin look like?” “What does she wear?” and so forth. When we are with the Rebbetzin we are uninterested in, and therefore can never recall, what she wears; besides which, it is totally irrelevant.