Monday evening was to be a night of private audiences with the Rebbe. Wednesday was to be another one too, and because of the unprecedented number of applications, there was to be further audiences on Friday afternoon, the eve of Shabbat.

This was most unusual and unique. There was already a list of 150 names for that afternoon, so the following Sunday was also reserved as an audience night. As we were leaving Brooklyn on Wednesday, we chose to have the audience on the first night. Five hundred people were expected that evening; one of the Rebbe's aides, Rabbi Groner, predicted that our appointment would be very late—maybe around 3 a.m. It was a very good approximation, because at 2:50 a.m. – ten minutes earlier than anticipated – Roselyn and I entered the Rebbe's study.

We took with us our granddaughter Yenta Chaya (Hindy's eldest girl), because the Rebbe did not receive girls of twelve years old on their own. The Rebbe greeted us with the greeting of Shalom aleichem and remarked:

"Ah, it is ladies first!"

Actually, it was the "little lady" first, for the Rebbe addressed himself to Yenta Chaya, because she would be leaving us as soon as she had received the blessing from the Rebbe.

The Rebbe requested Roselyn to "please take a seat, Mrs. Jaffe. You will be much more comfortable, and so will I." The Rebbe asked her if she was already the age of bat mitzvah. Yenta Chaya replied in the affirmative and the Rebbe continued, "May the Almighty bless you; you should go from strength to strength; you should have good middot (character); give nachas to your parents and to your grandparents and to all Israel. Here are 2 one-dollar bills, before you light the candles for Shabbat, give one dollar for charity. The other dollar you should change into local currency and give that money for Jewish education. Give your name and address to the office [of the Rebbe's secretariat] and they will send you a prayer book, which I will have signed."

I interrupted at this point and suggested that as Yossi and Mendel would not be leaving until the following Sunday, they could collect it for Yenta Chaya.

The Rebbe [smilingly] enquired of Yenta Chaya, "Do you trust your brothers?"

Yenta Chaya replied that she did trust them. The Rebbe then concluded by saying to her, "Good night and may the Almighty bless you."

As she neared the door, the Rebbe added, "If the photographs you took of me do come out, be good enough to send me a copy..."

The Rebbe laughed as Yenta Chaya departed. (Yenta Chaya later declared that she never knew that the Rebbe saw her taking the pictures. She also confessed that this was the finest and best audience she had ever experienced. Normally she accompanied her parents and the conversation was generally in Yiddish; this time it was held in English. She understood and imbibed every single word. This can be readily seen from the above, because Yenta Chaya herself dictated to me exactly what the Rebbe had said to her at this audience.)

Roselyn had remained standing during these exchanges. She would never sit, unless the Rebbe invited her to do so. The Rebbe requested Roselyn to "please take a seat, Mrs. Jaffe. You will be much more comfortable, and so will I."

The Rebbe then asked Roselyn about the effects of her operation and her general health in particular. He wanted to know whether Roselyn had a check-up and whether she was on a diet. Roselyn replied that the doctor had given her a clean bill of health, and that she kept to a diet. The Rebbe wanted to know whether Roselyn was on the diet because her husband required this, or whether the doctor had ordered it. Roselyn replied that the doctor had advised this diet, but not on account of her operation, just for her general health's sake.

The Rebbe then declared that he had a very serious complaint to make against Mr. Jaffe The Rebbe then declared that he had a very serious complaint to make against Mr. Jaffe. He did not wish to talk lashon hara (evil talk) behind my back, so he was telling me this in front of Mrs. Jaffe.

I was becoming extremely worried. I felt like a prisoner in the dock, and was feeling a little apprehensive. I could not think what I had done (or not done) to upset the Rebbe. Roselyn confided to me afterwards, that she was also terribly worried. In what way had we distressed the Rebbe? Her mind was a complete blank as far as that was concerned.

However, the Rebbe was still talking, and said that the serious complaint was that Mr. Jaffe, "Mr. Manchester," never helped the Rebbe. I never sang or danced unless and until the Rebbe gave me a signal or set an example. It was up to me to save the Rebbe the effort of having to clap his hands, and yes, even to nod his head. I should set an example for the boys and to those around me.

This was particularly relevant to the Chassidic gatherings, farbrengens, and to other joyous occasions when everyone waited for the Rebbe to give the signal either to start singing or to sing faster and faster according to the Rebbe's beat. This burden should be taken off the Rebbe's shoulders and Mr. Jaffe should take the lead. Furthermore, Mrs. Jaffe should use her influence with Mr. Jaffe...

The Rebbe then added, "Everyone around is waiting for you to commence. This is a chok v'lo yaavor, 'a statute forever, for all time.' You must help me and sing before I give the signal. This will conserve my energy and make everyone very happy."

I argued with the Rebbe and said that during the hakofot on the holiday of Simchat Torah, the Rebbe sang and clapped his hands so energetically and quickly that it was impossible for me to keep up with him. Furthermore, the Rebbe continued like this for many more minutes, whilst I could only stand there gaping and gasping.

The Rebbe interjected and said, "You don't try hard enough."

I then handed over to the Rebbe our tzettel, a piece of note-paper, on which we usually wrote our special requests. I had written upon this only our Hebrew names and the names of our mothers; the Rebbe looked surprised and queried:

"Is that all?"

I explained that all we wanted was a good blessing, and that we had seriously considered not coming for an audience at all; we did not wish to waste the Rebbe's time. The Rebbe remarked that, "Time belongs to the Almighty".

"Yes, that is so," I commented, "but if we would not have come along, then the Rebbe could have gone home a little earlier."

"Oh no," objected the Rebbe, "if you would have stayed away, someone else would have come instead."

The Rebbe then made this very profound statement, "I want everyone to come and see me, I want everyone to come for kos shel brachah [following major holidays, the Rebbe handed out wine from the "cup of blessing"]. I want everyone to come to me for lekach [honey cake] and I want everyone to need their Rebbe—and then the Almighty will give me strength to carry on."

Well this really was explicit and left no cause or loophole for misunderstanding.

The Rebbe then requested my new book, my diary.1 I maintained that I had sent it with Bernard Perrin at the time of the holiday of Shavuot. The Rebbe confirmed this, but he wanted another one. I protested; I explained that I only write and publish this once every year, just before Shavuot, and I always made quite certain that the Rebbe would be presented with the very first copy.

The Rebbe observed that it was a long time since Shavuot, and that I must have written something since. I admitted that although I had taken notes about various happenings, I had not actually written anything yet, although I had many ideas in my head.

"Then why have you been wasting your time?" demanded the Rebbe. "I want 200 pages in the next issue."

This seemed to be a rather tall order, but I did keep quiet, especially in view of the Rebbe's instructions last year that I should write 100 pages, which, at that time seemed rather too ambitious. However, because I incorporated my old number one and two diaries, and brought in this unpublished material, I did manage to produce 145 pages. But these old "reserves" have all been consumed. I would consider that fifty or sixty pages would be a good effort! Well, we shall see.

The Rebbe averred that my fears about my clothes2 had been proved unfounded. It certainly was not necessary to bring an old suit, because I had an excellent place where to stand during Simchat Torah. I commented that this was thanks to Rabbi Groner, Binyomin Klein and Meir Harlig, who looked after me like a long-lost favorite son, "probably at the request of the Rebbe."

Rabbi Yaakov Rappaport told me that it was not necessary to bring along an old suit, "Just wear a new one, once, at hakafot and it will become an old Shabbat suit".

Dovid Abenson also told me that there is only one person in all of 770 who wears a new suit on Simchat Torah—and that is the Rebbe. He is well protected.

The Rebbe remarked that he did take notice during the farbrengen that I was pretty well jammed tight and I could not move!

The Rebbe then asked me whether I had addressed the boys at the Torah convention and was delighted when I replied that I had done so.

The Rebbe wanted to know whether I had received his reply to my letter regarding Manchester Lubavitch. I answered that Rabbi Groner had shown me the half-page reply in the Rebbe's own handwriting. He was now preparing a copy for me, so that we could study this reply more carefully and in detail when we returned home to Manchester.

The Rebbe enquired regarding the date and time of our departure for home. He made a note of this and gave us a blessing for a good and safe journey.

He then handed to Roselyn and me a dollar each. This was to be exchanged for English currency and given to the cause of Jewish education. Roselyn would also receive a prayer book, signed by the Rebbe, whilst I would be presented with a Tanya, also autographed.

On a number of occasions, the door handle was shaken and clattered by Rabbi Groner, a plain hint to us that we should leave the Rebbe's presence at once, or even sooner, if possible. Once this occurred while the Rebbe was speaking. The Rebbe just finished his sentence and declared, "And don't take too much notice if Leibel Groner rattles the door handle."

I informed the Rebbe that I hoped to come to New York for Yud Shevat. The Rebbe said that 770 would not be so crowded at that time. (What a prophetic understatement!) I mentioned that I was searching for apartments for Shavuot, not only for ourselves but please G‑d for all of Avrohom's family too.

Our Rebbetzin [the Rebbe's wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka] had been slightly indisposed. I enquired of the Rebbe regarding her health. The Rebbe answered that she was doing fine, very well indeed, but was worried because she could not look after him as well as she usually does.

We thanked the Rebbe for all he was doing for us and for all our family, and then the Rebbe thanked us (for what?!?!).

It was now 3:05 a.m. The audience had taken 15 minutes, and we took our leave of the Rebbe. It had been worth all the inconvenience, trouble and traveling to New York just for these 15 minutes. All the rest was extra profit.

Our grandson Dovid (Avrohom's eldest boy) followed us into the Rebbe's sanctum for his audience—alone. Audiences with the Rebbe concluded that night at 4 a.m.

The Rebbe was back at 770 at 9:30 a.m., as usual.