We once heard a rumor that during a 19th Kislev farbrengen in Leningrad, the Chassidim there spoke about the yeshiva in Samarkand, and about the great privilege it was to raise money for Tomchei Temimim. We were not too excited to hear this, and we were scared by the fact that people knew about our yeshiva in faraway Samarkand.

That summer, I was due to travel to central Russia for communal matters, and during my travels I would be passing through many towns where Lubavitchers lived. At a meeting we held before my trip, we decided that if someone asked me about the yeshiva during the course of my travels, I would deny its existence. Even if it was someone who was aware, until then, of its existence, I would have to let him know that the yeshiva was no longer active.

This decision caused me tremendous discomfort. During my travels, I went to Moscow to attend the wedding of a friend, Mordechai Goldschmidt. There, I met his uncle, R. Yisrael Pevzner, who had come from Riga for the wedding.

As I mentioned earlier, R. Yisrael was aware of the yeshiva, and he had even arranged copies of Likutei Dibburim and Likutei Sichos for us. We spoke amicably about various topics, and then he suddenly motioned to me to move to a hidden corner. There he gave me an envelope containing 1,000 rubles. It was an enormous amount of money, enough to pay for an entire year's salary! I knew that if I accepted the money it would clearly indicate that the yeshiva was in existence. Although we were good friends, since we had decided to keep a low profile, I refused to take the money, saying that there was no longer any reason to accept it.

He pleaded with me to take it, promising that no one else would know, until his eyes reddened with tears. I commiserated with him completely: If what I was saying was true, he was pained that the yeshiva was no longer operating; if not, why could he not merit to help? I felt terrible. He was an older Chassid while I was just a young man. I felt so ill at ease that I wished at that moment that the earth would swallow me up alive. After some time, we finally parted with a heavy sigh.

Afterwards, Mordechai Goldschmidt, the groom, told me that R. Yisrael had not given in so easily. He had gone over to him as well and pleaded with him to accept the money, but he had also refused to take it.

When I returned to Samarkand, we held a meeting to review my trip. I told them about the uncomfortable situation I had been in with R. Yisrael. My friends understood what I had endured, but they were pleased that I had kept the secret even from him. This was all despite the fact that we did not doubt our friend R. Yisrael for a moment, and we needed the money as well. Secrecy was the number one priority.

Those were the precautions that were necessary for us to take in order to enable the yeshiva’s survival during those difficult times.