A Chabad-Lubavitch scholarly journal published this week an account of a private meeting between today's Gerer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. The 35-page transcript of the meeting, originally penned in Yiddish and published for the first time in the current issue of the bi-monthly Israeli Pardes Chabad, spans a host of topics, from Jewish law to in-depth analyses of portions of the Talmud to the state of Jewish activism.

In the audience, which took place in May 1977, the Rebbe encourages the then son of the Gerer Rebbe to publish the Chasidic group's customs and the writings of its rebbes in a publicly-available book.

"The Chassidim need to know their customs," the Rebbe told his visitor in Yiddish, "especially in our times, when a father does not live in close proximity of his son. The customs could be forgotten."

At another point, the Rebbe requests that Gerer Chasidim should be encouraged to become rabbis in towns and cities in Israel which lack rabbis.

"I was told," the Rebbe said, "that there are more than 100 communities that are in the need of rabbis and that the [government] is willing to provide all the needs for the rabbi that will move to them."

In the subsequent lively exchange, the Rebbe guides Rabbi Alter as to how Gerer Chasidim would be able to successfully leave their customary enclaves while maintaining their high level of adherence to Torah and its commandments.

The Pardes issue also includes papers written by Rabbi Yaakov Biderman, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Austria, on the laws dealing with mikvahs, and by Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Hungary, on when and under what circumstances one may adopt customs different from his parents.