Our last Shabbos at 770 this year, the Shabbos after Shavuos, was Parshas Nosso, Sivan 9 (June 13). Again, we had the zechus of a farbrengen with the Rebbe, from 1:30 prompt until five, thus keeping up my reputation of there being a farbrengen on almost every Shabbos I am present at 770.

It was extremely freilich. At one point, even though I had already wished the Rebbe l’chaim twice, the Rebbe stated that I was not yotze (had not fulfilled my obligation) with the l’chaims of my grandsons.

Then the Rebbe started with the “question” on Rashi which I had presented to the Rebbe at the meal.

20 Questions - One Rashi

Actually – and typically of the Rebbe – I had asked but one question on this posuk, but the Rebbe had many more questions on that same Rashi.

The Rebbe began by saying that one question had been asked on a Rashi, “But when the Rashi is learnt as a five-year-old should learn it, we will see how many questions there are.”

The Rebbe started on the questions. When the Rebbe got to question number eight on this same posuk, he stopped to ask me, “How many questions is that?” I answered correctly. At eleven, again, “how many?”

At fourteen, I answered, “fourteen,” but somebody else shouted, “fifteen.”

The Rebbe said, “We will have an auction, does anybody say sixteen?” (My answer was correct.)

And so the Rebbe kept on asking more questions on the same posuk until he had asked twenty unique questions on that one Rashi! Then the Rebbe started on ONE approach to the Rashi, which answered all twenty questions – brilliant! One of the twenty questions on this Rashi:

Why was omor “lohem” (say to them - the Kohen to the people) in the plural, whilst yevorechacho (you shall bless - the Kohen shall bless one Jew) in the singular? The answer the Rebbe gave was that the kohen had to concentrate with great kavono to feel that he was blessing each one individually and collectively.

(I later told the Rebbe that this was no chiddush (nothing new) as the Rebbe had told me many years ago that he spoke to everyone individually at a farbrengen. This remark pleased the Rebbe.)

The Rebbe then spoke very strongly once more on the theme of “Who is a Jew?” He mentioned a Reform Rabbi who made conversions which consisted only of a certificate. This piece of paper, which was given to the applicant straight away without any formal instruction, stated that this man was now a Jew. Even a bris was not required, or indeed performed, as this Reform leader did not believe in shedding blood, and he had pity on this poor fellow. So this man’s children or grandchildren would in time,

G‑d forbid, be able to marry one of your children or grandchildren while they were not even Jewish. We must also consider them and the future.

During the farbrengen, the Rebbe handed me a bottle of vodka. “A little for now, a little for the plane, and the rest for Manchester.” Shmuel also received a bottle to “give to students.”

We did very well indeed.