That Shabbos, Iyar 24 (May 30), was Shabbos mevorchim Sivan and Parshas Bechukosai. We commenced Tehillim at 8:30 and finished at 9:55 – one hour and twenty-five minutes, fantastic! The farbrengen started, as usual, at 1:30 on the dot and went on until 5:30.

One of the main themes of this farbrengen was the disturbing issue of “Who is a Jew?” In a particularly lengthy sicha, the Rebbe made reference to the recent development whereby the Israeli Government began to recognize so-called converts to Judaism: those who are not converted according to Jewish Law as taught by the Torah and by our Sages.

The Rebbe was in obvious pain, as he criticized the intention to form a “fifth column” comprised of gentiles. “If we want peace and less tzorrus (troubles) in the land,” said the Rebbe, “we first need to love our fellow Jew, and then we must unite in our opposition to this terrible development, and we must ensure to scratch this law from the Law Books.”

After this particularly strong and effective sicha, the Rebbe sat with his head sunk and bowed down, seemingly very dejected, not looking up at anyone at all. Meanwhile, my grandsons Yossi and Mendy Lew, were standing up straight and together, each holding a cup of wine and waiting to say l’chaim to the Rebbe. The Rebbe did not notice them. For very many minutes (which seemed like hours) they stood in dead silence, whilst everyone waited and wondered when the Rebbe would look up and shake off his seriousness.

It was already getting most embarrassing; so I stood up and in a very loud, clear voice said “L’chaim” to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe looked up and replied, “L’chaim v’livrocho.”

I then pointed to Yossi and Mendy still holding their glasses and standing so straight and upright. The Rebbe’s face became transfigured by a lovely smile as he replied to their brocha of l’chaim.

The Rebbe honored me by giving me a bottle of mashke to divide amongst those present.

A great many people told me that this was a definite highlight of the farbrengen. It made the Rebbe so happy after his display of such sadness. Someone told me that the Rebbe’s office ought to pay for my ticket to come once a month to make the Rebbe freilich! You do such a mitzvah, Mr. Jaffe; you make the Rebbe happy.

On another note, one Lubavitcher once asked Roselyn, “What mishpocha have you in Brooklyn, Mrs. Jaffe?”

Roselyn answered “The Rebbe!”