This year, on the first night of Shavuos, we started the Yom Tov dinner around 10:00. There were 12 people present on this occasion.

The meal started with the usual somber and dead quiet, that lasted for about ten minutes. There was never any talking or singing until the fish was served and eaten.

I then asked the Rebbe if I may sing a niggun.

The Rebbe said “Of course, but first you need to say l’chaim.”

After saying a l’chaim, I started the old Lubavitcher niggun of “ach lelokim.” (Tehillim 62:6-7) After the next course, we sang “hinei matov” and finally “Uforatzto.” I then remarked that I was pleased that at last, even at 770, we were having “Uforatzto.”

The Rebbe answered “It is only a hascholo (beginning).”

On the first day of Shavuos, before luncheon, we partook of the customary milchig (dairy) kiddush, but we only had coffee and cake (not cheesecake) in an adjoining room. The Rebbe was not present during this “milchig” meal. After a one hour break, we sat down - with the Rebbe, too - for Yom Tov lunch.

A very happy atmosphere prevailed and the Rebbe said many words of Torah.

I mentioned that the Rebbe always stresses that Rashi wrote his commentary, so that even a five year old would understand. I told the Rebbe I would like to ask a question, even though my question may be “ah narishe shaileh” (a silly question).

The Rashi from this weeks parsha (Nosso 87:89), explains a few different points from the posuk, but he does not do so in the order of the verse, which is Rashi’s usual way.

The Rebbe said, “The farbrengen of Shavuos comes before parshas Nosso, if I answer your question now, I too will be answering out of order!”

Today, the Rebbe again asked me to sing a niggun. I said that I wanted to sing “aal achas,” but I did not know it properly. The Rebbe suggested that I ask Hendel Liberman (whom we all called Fetter -uncle - Hendel) to sing it. Fetter Hendel was delighted, but he did not sing the words, only the tune.

The Rebbe interrupted him, “No words? Give him a siddur!”

So Fetter Hendel started again, and once more, without the words, although he now held a siddur in his hands.

I then spoke about those who don’t listen to the Rebbe and then wonder why things are not going the way they should. I connected it with an old Jewish joke about a ganef (thief) who, without knowing whose house he was breaking into, came through the chimney of his Rabbi’s house in the middle of the night.

The Rabbi was learning, and he looked up startled and asked, “What are you doing here, Yankel?”

Yankel answered, “Rebbe, I need to ask you a shaileh (question).”


“Vi azio kricht men arois fun danent?” (How does one scramble out of here.)

The Rebbe laughed and agreed with me, and said “Too many have the teretz before the shaileh.” (The answer before the question.)

I told the Rebbe that some people studied for twelve months, just to try and catch out the Rebbe.

Someone then said that my earlier story reminded him of the situation with the US army stuck in Vietnam!

We were talking about the situation in Israel that since the Six-Day-War, many non-Jews were entering Israel to work on farms and such. I said it reminded me of another funny story I once heard.

A Jew from the shtetl comes for the first time to the big city. He meets a city Jew in shul. They get to talking and the city slicker asks the shtetl yid, “how many Jews live in your shtetl.”

The yid answers, “500.”

“How many non-Jews live there?”


“What do the Jews do in your shtetl?”

The yid answers. “We have tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths etc.”

“And what do the non-Jews do?”

“They help us on Shabbos with lighting the furnace and other things we are not permitted to do on Shabbos.”

Now the shtetl yid asks the city Jew, “How many Jews live in your city?”


“And how many non-Jews?”


The shtetl Jew is amazed and exclaims, “farvos darf men azoic feel goyim?” (For what do you need so many non-Jews?)

During the meal on the second night of Yom Tov, I related to everyone how in England, the name of Lubavitch and the Rebbe was becoming very well known.

The Rebbe said “We need to start thinking of establishing Lubavitch in an additional city.”

The Rebbe asked about our financial difficulties in England and then he said to me, “Since people think you are rich, in the end you will indeed become rich!”

The best and most wonderful moment was when I quoted someone who had stated to me that if you wanted to erect a new building, you just get the money and put it up!

“Anyone,” I answered, “can put up a building with money. The kuntz (trick) is to put it up without money.”

The Rashag then interposed, “How did you build then?”

“With the Rebbe and his brochos,” I replied.

What a precious moment it was! All were delighted with this answer, because it pointed out that one had to do what the Rebbe instructed and it would be crowned with success.

The Rashag was a little taken aback. Everyone was laughing and the Rebbe had to wipe his eyes because of his laughter.

Incidentally, if I, personally, would have always done what the Rebbe told me to do, I would have had many great successes; I was good at telling others to take heed of the Rebbe’s advice.

At the subsequent farbrengen, the Rashag approached the Rebbe for a brocha for his yeshiva. The Rebbe told him to follow the example of Manchester!