I went to see Rabbi Chodakov in his office at 5:00. He is a very fine, outstanding man and scholar, extremely friendly and inspiring, as befits the Rebbe’s personal secretary.

In spite of several interruptions and buzzes on the telephone, I managed to spend an enlightening, pleasant and most exhilarating thirty-five minutes together with him.

He made many suggestions for us in Manchester.

“Arrange shiurim for small groups of professional people, for instance, doctors and lawyers, in private houses.” We should “look after the small communities in England.” “Rabbi Chaim Farro should work with youth.”

He wanted to know if Avrohom works (I should say he does, and overtime, for Lubavitch too.) I should “put all the diaries together and make a small book.” “What is new in Manchester?” “Have you a free loan fund?” “You must have two guarantors for each loan.” And so on and so forth.

It is always a pleasure to spend a few minutes with Rabbi Chodakov.


I recently heard the following interesting story about Rabbi A.D. Sufrin (from London). He complained to the Rebbe that he was overworked and wished to give up some of his responsibilities. The Rebbe asked him his age.

A.D. replied “forty-two years old.”

The Rebbe retorted that he - the Rebbe - was over seventy and had just established seventy-one new mosdos (organizations), and therefore A.D. should have founded forty-three new projects. There was great excitement and frantic telephone calls to ascertain whether the Rebbe was joking. Of course, the Rebbe does not just make jokes, especially about such matters.


I was soon back into the old 770 routine. Shacharis at 9:30 was ridiculously late. But, after two weeks in Brooklyn, I wondered why they davened shacharis so early, as I was always late!

On Monday morning, Sivan 9 (May 22), I was present for layning at a minyan (the Rebbe was not present), and a fellow who had yahrtzeit was expecting the third and final aliyah. Young Dovid Mandelbaum, the acting gabbai, called up a bar mitzvah boy! Oh dear, oh dear, what a rumpus, what a carrying on. This man claimed that a Rov - everybody, even I, became a Rov in 770 - told him he had the priority as a yahrtzeit. So the fellow now rushed to Rabbi Dvorkin, who unhesitatingly and categorically stated that there was no din torah (case), as young Mandelbaum had done the correct thing. Except, had Mandelbaum asked the kohen to leave before commencing to call up the first aliyah, he would have gained an extra aliyah, and could have thus satisfied both chiyuvim.

Rabbi Dvorkin explained to me that the top priority for an aliyah was always a choson, then a bar mitzvah, third was for a bris and only fourth was a yahrtzeit. He also pointed out to me that one should have an aliyah on the Shabbos before the birthday (one was not a special chiyuv for his bar mitzvah sedra at all). Also, Shabbos morning before a yahrtzeit was the correct time for his aliyah, not at Shabbos mincha, nor during the week.

I told Rabbi Dvorkin that every Yom Tov has its own peculiarities: on Pesach we eat matzo, on Sukkos we eat in a small roofless hut, and on Shavuos the Jaffes eat on top of the kollel!

On Monday afternoon, I had the honor and distinction of meeting the “assistant educational director for Eastern Parkway.” He wished to borrow ten dollars until Thursday. It was none other than my old friend B. from Manchester, who was now studying at 770.

I was delighted to hear that he was making such wonderful progress. In addition to this directorship, which carried a small salary, he was also receiving fifty dollars a week from the anti-poverty welfare. Another fifteen dollars a week was paid to him as a “pupil who could not speak English.” (At 770, I cannot imagine that he ever will!) Actually, nearly all this money he received went to the yeshiva, not, I repeat not, to my friend. He is one of 110 boys learning at the new yeshiva across the street from 770, which used to be a shul. They have a wonderful library with no books; so, would I mind helping?


We were invited to come along to two weddings that evening. The only trouble was that we were not told where, nor when, they were to take place. It was just “Come to the wedding.” We did hear afterwards that one took place in Philadelphia!

I surmised the Rebbe would come out to say kiddush levonah on Monday night. Normally, the Rebbe does so immediately after maariv when Shabbos ends. However, this year, Shabbos coincided with the Yom Tov farbrengen.

Many men and yeshiva boys had already performed this mitzvah and there were also those two weddings taking place. So only a few hundred people were present when the Rebbe came directly to the spot where I was standing, which was the nearest position outside 770 from where the moon was visible.

Once again, I had the pleasure of replying to the Rebbe’s “Sholom aleichem” and the privilege of greeting the Rebbe with my own “Sholom aleichem,” to which I received the answer “Aleichem sholom.”

It was now nearly 11:00 p.m. and there was great excitement and singing, as the choson and kallah were now standing under the chupah. I was told that the wedding was called for 7:30 p.m., only three and half hours late, which is not bad for some Lubavitch weddings.

I will never understand why they do not follow the example of the Rebbe. When the Rebbe promised to officiate at Hindy’s marriage to Shmuel (which, incidentally, was the last time the Rebbe officiated) he said the chupah should be at 5:00 p.m. The Rebbe returned from the ohel that day at five minutes to five, tired and hungry. Rabbi Chodakov thought the Rebbe would daven mincha first. But no: at exactly 5:00 the Rebbe emerged from the doorway and at that very same moment Hindy came up the garden steps at 770, and they met under the chupah. That is what is referred to as good timekeeping!


Roselyn complained bitterly about the decorum in the shul. She could not hear the davening, nor the layning. It was impossible to daven with kavono. It was like a fish market. Woman chattering, girls jabbering, kids jumping about. She placed a paper towel on the bench to keep her clothes clean from the children scurrying around, but everyone stood on the paper towel.

At the farbrengen, it is just as bad. Roselyn said ‘‘It is just too ridiculous. The “natives” do not appreciate the Rebbe as they should.”


A complete stranger approached me in 770. He told me that he had read my diary at a friend’s house. He enjoyed it because it vividly recaptured the whole atmosphere of Lubavitch.