Now that we had such a large amount of certified water-freewheat, it clearly would have been absurd to grind it all with a coffee grinder. The only alternative was to return to the municipal flour mill, clean it well, and grind our large stock of wheat there.

Truth be told, after seeing how difficult it was to clean the heavy millstones, it did not seem right to me that after carefully watching the wheat from the time of harvest, we should be forced to compromise and use those millstones for grinding. However hard we worked to clean all the crevices on the stones, it was impossible to reach every miniscule crack and remove all the old flour.

Additionally,Actual dough had formed around the bottom millstone since the mill was powered by water, there was the distinct possibility of moisture combining with our wheat, which was of course very problematic. On one occasion, we even discovered that actual dough had formed around the bottom millstone. Although we plastered the bottom stone with several layers of paper, it couldn’t compare to millstones that were designed especially to be used for Pesach.

Due to all these factors, I was determined to construct a genuine mill so that we would be able to grind all the wheat on our own. Financially, it would actually be less expensive, and moreover, Halachically, it would be incomparably superior.

I proceeded to the mill to scrutinize the grinding process and I observed how the machinery functioned. Then I headed to the factory where millstones were manufactured. I introduced myself as a chemistry student who needed small millstones in order to grind various compounds, and they agreed to sell me a set of millstones with a diameter of around 60 centimeters. The stones were natural and unused, each weighing some eighty kilograms. That was heavy enough to grind a large quantity of wheat. There were also artificial stones available, but I searched for flawless natural stones, as we had determined that they would be better for our mill.

They prepared the stones for me with the necessary grooves, including, as I had requested, a special hole in the corner of the upper stone. We would insert a piece of wood into the hole in order to rotate the stones manually. I then went to an old Jew who was a carpenter by profession and asked him to construct a sturdy table for me, following a sketch I had drawn. When the table was completed, I brought it to a shed in our courtyard, positioned the stones on the table just as I had seen at the mill, and we began to grind.

Rotating the stones was hard work for one man. It was also complicated because when the person grinding would turn the top stone by hand, his hand would block the wheat from falling through the hole in the center of the top stone, from the bucket placed above the mill. In order to make it easier to rotate the stone, I attached some rope to the wooden pole used as the handle, allowing us to work in pairs, each person pulling the stone a half-rotation. Within a short amount of time we managed to grind about twenty kilograms of wheat, relatively easily and in the best possible way: entirely by hand, with new millstones.

Despite our success, I still wasn’t satisfied. For starters, the bucket of wheat was placed on top of the mill and it would fall from there into the center hole of the stone. Also, when we would pull the rope across the mill, some of the wheat would spill on the rope and fall to the sides. Furthermore, after all the tugging at the mill, with one person pulling in one direction and another pulling in the other direction, the table had nearly collapsed. Most importantly, my goal had been to grind all the wheat for our community with our millstones so that we would all have enough shmura matzah for the entire Pesach. This was still far beyond our abilities.

I decided that the following year I would try attaching a motor to the millstones again, but this time I would buy a bona fide motor. When I told my friends of my plan, they did not think I would be successful and claimed that it would also be costly to purchase such a machine. I told them that I was not asking anyone to chip in towards the cost, and would try to arrange it on my own; only if I was successful would I divide theI was not asking anyone to chip in expenses amongst us.

To be honest, building a genuine motorized mill was not a simple operation at all, for both technical and practical reasons.

Technically, it was necessary to obtain an engine that could operate with the 220 volts of electricity available in our house, and it needed to enough power to move the heavy stone that was used to grind the wheat. According to my estimation, the engine needed to generate 1.5 horsepower. However, such an engine would rotate 1800 times per minute, which would be much too fast for our purposes, causing the stone to fly in all directions.

I had never studied physics or mechanics; my knowledge of these subjects was limited to the three and a half years I spent in elementary school. Still, I was blessed with a knack for mechanics and I realized that I would need to create a complete system of gears to reduce the number of rotations.

After figuring out which wheels and hinges were needed to build the system, I had to overcome the practical obstacle: How does one obtain an engine, wheels, and hinges in Soviet Russia?

It sounds simple; just go to the store and buy a motor. In Russia during those years, however, it just was not possible to buy a motor in a store; one had to travel to a factory that manufactured motors and provide a reasonable explanation for the purpose of the purchase.

I traveled to a huge factory dedicated to repairing train compartments and presented myself once again as a chemistry student. After providing a bribe (of course), they offered to sell me a small, 1.5 horsepower motor. I showed them a sketch I had drawn beforehand and they prepared it according to my specifications.

Together with a number of shafts and wheels I had purchased at the same factory, I began to assemble the contraption in the shed in our courtyard. I situated the stones on top of a specially designed iron table. I then attached the engine to the wall and connected a wheel with a rubber belt. The wheel was in turn connected to a second wheel, and with the entire mechanism in place, the motor speed was reduced from 1800 revolutions per minute to about 80 per minute.

I fashioned a strong metal bucket with a small hole in the bottom that was designed to open from the vibrations of the rotating stones and cause the kernels to slowly pour into the grinding area.

After long weeksEverything worked perfectly! of concerted effort and toil, the long-awaited moment finally arrived. I switched on the motor and everything worked perfectly! The motor shifted the wheels, the wheels rotated the stones, the wheat entered between the stones, and flour poured into the sack. Mazel tov!

I called my friends to come and behold my creation and they were suitably impressed. Within one hour we were able to grind fifteen kilograms of flour, and in just a day and a half we finished grinding all of the wheat for the entire Lubavitch community of Samarkand. I can hardly describe to you the feeling of elation that coursed through our veins as we watched the wheat being ground to flour. We instantaneously burst out in song and danced around our very own mill.