Moshe Chaim attended Public School 37. It was a top school, attended by the children of the social elite in Samarkand. Not everyone who wanted to attend the school was accepted. It was only on account of being a teacher that his father was able to register him there.

The math teacher was a man named R. Betzalel Chadus (adapted from the original name Chadosh), the son of R. Yerachmiel Chadosh, one of the original students of Tomchei Temimim in Lubavitch. In school, however, he went by the name Alexander Pavlovitch. He was a very tough teacher, which is why most of the students did not like him, Moshe Chaim included. Moshe Chaim knew that he was Jewish, but was unaware of the fact that he was in fact observant as well.

“It was a year after my Bar Mitzvah,” said Moshe Chaim, “and my uncle, Moshiach Chudaitov, told me that someone was sitting in Shiva mourning and needed a minyan for the prayers and to say Kaddish. I asked him who the person was, but he merely gave me the address and asked me to go early in the morning before school. I couldn’t refuse my uncle, so I went to the address he gave me. I knocked on the door and to my utter surprise, it was opened by my math teacher! I nearly fainted. I said, ‘Excuse me, I’m sorry, I must have made a mistake,’ and I turned to go, but he invited me in and said, ‘You did not make a mistake. You came to the right address. It was I who asked that you come here.’

“After the prayers, before leaving, he asked me to come again the next day. The minyan, as I said, took place before school. I had to run home to retrieve my briefcase and then rush to school to arrive on time. It was bitterly cold outside and it was hard for me to run back and forth. Luckily though, my first class was math - with R. Betzalel - and I assumed that it would not be so bad if I arrived late. I walked at a normal pace and came to school a half an hour late.

“When I walked into the classroom, R. Betzalel was already well into the class. He gave me a sharp look and asked, ‘Why are you late?’

“I replied that I had gotten up late. To my surprise, he did not accept this excuse and angrily repeated, ‘Why are you late?’ I was 14 years old and I was embarrassed to be questioned in front of the entire class. I looked at him and said, ‘Alexander Pavlovitch - using R. Betzalel's Russian name - if you ask me one more time why I am late, I will tell you the truth!’

“Evidently, this frightened him and he said, ‘Okay, just sit down and then we’ll see.’

“After class, he came over to me, wrapped his arm around my shoulder in a friendly manner and said, ‘You realize that as a teacher I had to ask you why you were late.’

“Then, as if to placate me, he said, ‘Tomorrow there will be a quiz,' and he told me what material it would cover.”