We had arranged to travel by way of London as Hershel Gorman had a large pile of papers, filled with technical details regarding the printing of the New English/Hebrew Tanya, which I was to take to the Rebbe for his consideration and decisions.

On the Wednesday before Shavuos, Sivan 2, 5731 (May 26, 1971), we duly arrived at London Airport where we met Hershel Gorman and we were also introduced to an unexpected traveling companion, none other than our friend Menachem Mendel [Max] Katch.

Our hand luggage was searched and we were frisked by policemen and we were ready to board the plane. We were informed that a bomb may have been planted on our plane. There would now be a delay whilst the aircraft was thoroughly searched. Meanwhile every passenger was asked to come forward and identify their own suitcases and luggage which had been unloaded from the plane. All this took one hour. Three suitcases were left on the tarmac as they had been left unclaimed.

We all stepped into our jumbo jet, which was the very latest model to be delivered to TWA, and what a pleasant surprise! It was like entering a large and beautiful hotel lounge and very high and roomy. There were two large aisles; what a wonderful time our charter passengers would have had, walking around and around two aisles.

After lunch blinds were drawn and a film was shown; free to everyone but, if one wished to hear the sound too, one had to pay £1. Mendel Katch refused to pay and sat watching the film. He laughed uproariously – at all the wrong places.

Mr. Katch was going to New York, as he wanted to see the Rebbe very urgently. He always asks the Rebbe for advice on what furs to buy. The Rebbe had previously told him which lots to purchase. He bought some other lots, in addition to those, which he himself rather fancied. Well, he had sold all the “Rebbe’s” goods, but could not, on any account, sell his “own.” Now he needed a good brocha to find a customer for those furs, too.

Lounging in my comfortable seat, with barely a shudder from the plane, it was difficult to believe that we were 35,000 ft. above sea and traveling 600 mph in a 350-ton plane with accommodation for 344 passengers (only 112 were on this trip). The journey to New York would take less than 7 hours, where we ultimately touched down like a feather.

I could not help recalling and comparing our earlier charter trips.

Like our second charter flight, when we were delayed for six hours as the plane had insufficient seats. We had to wait for more seats to be brought from Madrid. These then had to be bolted to the floor of the airplane while we were all waiting.

Our first charter flight, ten years ago, was the most memorable. The flight alone took nineteen hours, which included stops at Ireland and Canada. I was at first refused permission to board, as my passport had expired. What a job I had! We certainly knew and felt that we were on a plane, packed tight, and no room to walk about, plus the air conditioning was broken.

The twelve rabbonim aboard that flight all vied with one another to provide us with words of Torah, tefilas haderech and just plain sermons. In the nineteen hours, we had plenty of time to listen to everyone.

And then came the most wonderful climax of all, when our beloved and revered Rebbe met us at 770 at 3:30 in the morning and held a farbrengen for our passengers.

And, on the return journey, every male put on tefillin and davened in the aisle; some cried, as it was their first time putting on tefillin since their bar-mitzvah. One of the passengers, an old man, said “Mr. Jaffe, you deserve a treat for all the wonderful work you are doing, and I am going to give you one.”

“No, no,” said I.

“Yes, yes,” said he. “I will SING you a song through the microphone entitled “Der Tallissel.” My mazel!

What a contrast when we arrived today. Roselyn, Mr. Katch and I made our own unheralded and unobtrusive way to 770. We arrived at 5:15 in the afternoon. The place was almost deserted, with one exception: our dear Rebbe was in his office working.

We decided to wait and greet the Rebbe with shalom aleichem. An hour later we had our opportunity. The Rebbe emerged at 6:15 and saw us standing at the door; but before we could say a word, he had wished us sholom aleichem and accompanied these words with a glorious smile that lit up his whole face and the whole room. What a wonderful smile our Rebbe has!

He seemed really pleased to see us and asked how our children and our ainiklach were.

“How is business? You must have closed the business already for Yom Tov. Do you have any deigoz (worries)?”

I replied that “The Rebbe once gave me a brocha, that I should only have Lubavitcher deigoz. I am now glad to say that, thank G‑d, I had plenty of those, but boruch Hashem not any others.”

The Rebbe wished us all a frailechen Yom Tov and he then left for home.

I then asked Rabbi Chodakov if it would be possible to see the Rebbe before Shavuos, as I usually have the merit of a short yechidus immediately upon our arrival. Rabbi Chodakov replied that normally we arrived from England much earlier than two days before Yom Tov, and as the Rebbe was extremely busy and under great pressure, the Rebbe would see me after kabolas haTorah. He added that if the Rebbe wanted me, “he knows your address.”

I was a little disappointed because I wanted to make arrangements to sing in shul on Shabbos and Yom Tov. I therefore wrote a letter to the Rebbe asking if we may sing “hu Elokeinu”, “ho’aderes veho’emuna” and “kailee atoh”. I also enclosed my Diary, Volume 2 (of the previous year).

Rabbi Chodakov and Rabbis Simpson and Mentelik – and all my friends whom I met afterwards – seemed surprised indeed to see me. They had heard on the grapevine that I was not coming this year. However, they were all very delighted to see me and said they were now assured of a very freilichen Yom Tov. Very nice of them to say so, and indeed it was! Especially as they, and everyone, seemed certain that there would now be a farbrengen on Shabbos.

Rabbi Krinsky arrived with the keys to our apartment and took us on a guided and conducted tour. I will admit that they had done a grand job. The whole staircase was now blocked in, the doors locked, and there was absolutely no possibility of any unauthorized person trespassing or forcing an entry. This was excellent and Roselyn’s fears and worries were completely allayed.

We enjoyed our stay at this apartment; it was quite satisfactory. Roselyn wrote a letter to the Rebbe thanking him for all the trouble he had taken to save us inconvenience and worry.

The morning after we arrived, Thursday, Sivan 3 (May 27), I had an aliyah and bentched gomel. (A special brocha recited as thanksgiving to G‑d for emerging from a precarious situation, such as crossing the ocean.)

I am always reminded of the time when Rabbi Dubov had an aliyah by the Rebbe’s minyan, but before bentching gomel he stated that he would “yotze zein” (recite on behalf of) everyone else who was a chiyuv to bentch.

The Rebbe turned around, looked surprised and exclaimed “Far vos?” (Why?)