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Sunday
Oct012017

THE REBBE SAYS TO CONQUER DAMASCUS!

Many awesome and inspiring events transpired during the days of Sukkos and Simchas Torah 5734, some of them related to the Yom Kippur War which was then at its height. * The French guests were granted special attention throughout the holiday, and especially on Simchas Torah. * Fascinating reports and memories from theDays of our Joy” 5734 with the Rebbe, published for the very first time from the diary of the late RSaadia Maatuf.

THEY WILL HAVE A DOWNFALL

Sunday, 11 Tishrei

Today, they informed Moshe [Maatuf – Dor Shalom] and Avraham [Sameach] that they would be going in for yechidus tonight, and they immediately began preparing. At about 1:30 there was a funeral for a woman, and the Rebbe went out for the funeral procession. Moshe and I did not participate, because we were sitting in our room working on the wording of the note for the upcoming yechidus.

When we returned to 770, they told us that the funeral had already taken place, and that when the Rebbe returned to 770, he was approached by our family acquaintance Gershon Jacobson (who works as a reporter for the Yediot Acharonot). He told the Rebbe that the Egyptians were entering the Sinai, and the Rebbe answered that it is nothing and there is nothing to be concerned about, as they would have a greater downfall than they had in the Six Day War.

Jacobson said that the Israeli government had announced that thousands of Egyptian soldiers had entered the Sinai and they had thrown up bridges etc., [in order to cross the Suez Canal into Israeli territory]. The Rebbe answered that the government was doing all this to fool them.

He went on to ask, “Should they try to conquer more territory?” The Rebbe made a motion with his hand that seemed to indicate that they should conquer the entire country of Egypt. The Rebbe only expressed astonishment to him as to why the government waits until there is pressure from other countries. Jacobson went on to say that England and France are pressuring the government to make a ceasefire, and the Rebbe answered that they should press forward before there is pressure from other countries.

The Rebbe spoke all of this while walking towards 770, and even after the Rebbe said “Yosheiv B’seiser” as is the custom [after a funeral], the Rebbe continued to talk to him.

The Rebbe concluded what he had to say and entered his room, and everyone there fell upon Jacobson in order to hear, down to the smallest detail, what the Rebbe had said to him, but he did not repeat everything, only those things that he felt could be repeated. He also said that he approached the Rebbe to ask him his view only after he was asked for the Rebbe’s opinion on the war. Meanwhile, we are all encouraged by the Rebbe’s words, but exactly what is happening in the Holy Land is not yet known.

The Rebbe left his room in order to travel to the mikva, and again Jacobson approached to speak with the Rebbe on the subject of the war, and continued to talk until the Rebbe entered the car.

In the interim, we were informed that the Rebbe would be going to the Ohel today and therefore there would be no yechidus tonight and the yechidus would be delayed until it was rescheduled.

The Rebbe returned from the mikva, and Jacobson stood at the doorway of Gan Eden HaTachton (the hallway outside the Rebbe’s room), and we all crowded into the doorway of the small zal [in order to hear the conversation]. When the Rebbe passed by, he looked in our direction and said, “Perhaps in the meantime they should sit and learn?” And then he turned right away towards Jacobson. R’ Dovid Raskin [the Mashgiach in the yeshiva] came immediately, and all of the T’mimim sat down to learn. The Rebbe spoke briefly with Jacobson, and the latter then went into the office of the secretariat to type up everything the Rebbe said to him.

We sat meanwhile, learning in 770, until the Rebbe set out for the Ohel. After he set out, we moved to Chovevei Torah. The entire time, we were very tense about what was going on in the Holy Land, since we heard that a group of Chassidim who were supposed to arrive before Sukkos, including R’ Meir Friedman and R’ Moshe Naparstek, were called up, and apparently the situation in the Holy Land is very tense.

During the afternoon, the Mashpia, R’ Mendel Futerfas, took a few of the T’mimim for a test in Chassidus.

The Rebbe returned from the Ohel and came downstairs for Mincha in the large zal. During chazaras hashatz, in unusual fashion, he began to read the Igeres HaT’shuva, and by the time it ended, he had managed to say until about chapter 10. After the conclusion of Mincha, the Rebbe remained in his place and said the last two chapters of Igeres HaT’shuva, and only then signaled to begin Maariv. After the davening, everybody was talking about the fact that such a thing had never occurred before in history.

After Maariv, the Rebbe entered his room and remained there a short time, and he went home earlier than usual.

YECHIDUS

Monday, 12 Tishrei

After Shacharis, Moshe [Maatuf – Dor Shalom], Avraham [Sameach] and Yosef [Maatuf], went into the secretaries’ office to ask if they would be going in for yechidus tonight [since the yechidus that was scheduled for them the day before had been pushed off], and they were answered in the affirmative. Moshe and Avraham went to the mikva and sat and learned most of the day, as their notes had already been written yesterday.

A number of the Chassidim here now, who live in the Holy Land, and would expect to be called up to active duty, sent in a note to the Rebbe asking if they should return to the Holy Land. The Rebbe let it be known that there should be no change of plans. After receiving the Rebbe’s answer, they all remained in 770 until the end of the holiday.

On the other hand, and this actually happened yesterday, the sister of Levi Pariz [Zlata] did not know if she should go back to Eretz Yisroel or not. She waited in Gan Eden HaTachton, and when the Rebbe left for home, he told her that she could travel and it should be with success, and that when she arrived in the Holy Land she should call collect at the Rebbe’s expense in order to communicate that fact, and she should be able to report good tidings.

The yechidus schedule began at 8 pm, and meanwhile, Yosef [Maatuf], Avraham [Sameach] and Moshe [Maatuf – Dor Shalom], are awaiting their turn. Moshe is number 70, Avraham 80, and Yosef 81. Moshe and Avraham went to the mikva towards evening time, and Moshe took my gartel.

Maariv was at around 12:15 at night, and Moshe went in at seven minutes to 1. The Rebbe gave him brachos in abundance. He was in yechidus for two and a half minutes. Avraham went in at twenty minutes to 2 for two minutes. Obviously, they came out in an excited state and went right away to write down everything the Rebbe answered and blessed them. Yosef was in yechidus for four minutes and five seconds, and he also came out very excited. They all say that they wish they could go in again in order to experience again those moments of happiness inside the Rebbe’s room.

Among those who went in for yechidus tonight: Saadia Jerufi, Shlomo Mizrachi and Meir Tzvi Porush.

A POWERFUL AMEN

Tuesday, 13 Tishrei

Today the Rebbe went to the Ohel, and when he returned we davened in the zal downstairs. The Rebbe came out to davening with his Shabbos sirtuk, and that is how we knew that there would be a farbrengen tonight. After Mincha, the Rebbe once again remained seated in his place, and during chazaras hashatz he was looking into a volume of Toras Shmuel [maamarim of the Rebbe Maharash whose yahrtzait falls on this day]. After the conclusion of Mincha, he signaled to begin Maariv. At the end of the davening he went up to his room and they immediately began to prepare the tables for a farbrengen, and expanded the stage.

The Rebbe came down for the farbrengen at 8:30 and immediately began to say a sicha, following which, without any break, he began to say a maamer. Afterward they sang a niggun, and then the Rebbe said a sicha connecting the conclusion of Meseches Challa with the current situation in the Holy Land. The Rebbe said that they should answer with a powerful amen to his blessing that Am Yisroel should be victorious in battle. The Rebbe also instructed to add in tz’daka on Erev Sukkos and to study the laws of Sukkos. At the end of the farbrengen he indicated that they should sing “V’Samachta B’Chagecha.” The farbrengen concluded at 10:20.

After the farbrengen, he went to his room. After a brief while, he left to go to the car that would take him home. The Chassidim standing around began to sing and the Rebbe encouraged with his hand.

Today, R’ Moshe Naparstek arrived in 770. Despite the fact that he was called up to fight, he and his brother and a number of other people from Kfar Chabad were released from duty. Obviously, they told us firsthand accounts of what was going on in the war.

“AND THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH FARBRENGENS”

Wednesday, Erev Sukkos

Today, a number of Anash from Tzfas and Kfar Chabad went into the Rebbe’s room and received esrogim from the Rebbe. We arrived in 770 towards the onset of Yom Tov, and the Rebbe happened to be then in the sukka, where he put together his “four species.” When he finished, he left the sukka and went to his room.

First Night of Sukkos

Maariv took place in the zal downstairs, and this time there was no pushing as there was on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. After the davening, he called out loudly “Gut Yom Tov,” and then signaled with his hand that they should say “Gut Yom Tov” twice.

After the davening, we [the students of K’vutza] went to eat in the sukka that was built specially for the students of the yeshiva, in the yard exactly opposite the kitchen, where there were plenty of seats, since the sukka is larger than the dining room itself. For the guests, they built a sukka in the yard of one of Anash near 770. Outside 770, they built a small sukka just for the Rebbe, and on the side of 770, they built a large sukka for people to be able to take a drink and the like.

First Day of Sukkos

We went to the mikva, and after that we stood on the line in order to make the blessing on the “four species” of the Rebbe. The line was long and winding, and the prayer service with the Rebbe was progressing [while we were still waiting outside]. After a long wait, we managed to make the blessing before the Rebbe reached “Hallel,” and we ran to the zal downstairs and began to daven.

When the shliach tzibbur reached “R’tzei” in the chazaras hashatz, they brought the lulav and esrog to the Rebbe, and the Rebbe glanced at them and put them on the side.

During the recitation of Hallel, the Rebbe holds the lulav, and when they reach the parts when the lulav is shaken, the Rebbe picks up the esrog and holds it up against the lulav. The Rebbe holds the esrog in his left hand and [when shaking the lulav] touches [his chest] opposite the heart with the esrog. During the Hoshanos the Rebbe holds the lulav without the esrog, and when they come to the point of beginning to circle the bima, he takes the esrog. As the shliach tzibbur leads the way, the Rebbe walks after him with the lulav and esrog pressed against his heart, while the siddur remains on the lectern. Rashag walks behind the Rebbe and following them are all the elders. The secretary, R’ Groner, walks ahead of the shliach tzibbur in order to make a path for the Rebbe, and the gabbai, R’ Katz, stands and watches to make sure that only the elders join the Rebbe and no young people. After the circuit, the Rebbe returns to his place and they all immediately begin singing “Hoshia es Amecha.”

For the Torah reading, the Rebbe went up for Maftir, and the pushing was like the standard pushing of every Maftir on Shabbos. After the davening, they made an announcement about the “Four Species” mivtzaim, and it seemed to me that it was the Rebbe who began the singing of “V’Samachta B’Chagecha.”

Mincha was at about 5, and after the Rebbe exited after davening, R’ Meir Harlig announced in the name of the Rebbe that there would be a farbrengen after Maariv. We received this news joyfully, because usually there are no farbrengens on Sukkos since the Rebbe stopped farbrenging in the sukka. This time it was a complete surprise, and everyone immediately began arranging the tables and the bleachers in the zal. The Rebbe davened Maariv upstairs, and I managed to make it upstairs and daven with the Rebbe.

At the conclusion of Maariv, the Rebbe went downstairs to the farbrengen, which was short and without l’chaim, obviously. The Rebbe spoke about the need to farbreng every single night of the holiday and expressed himself thus, “And the earth shall be filled with farbrengens of Hashem.”

After the Yom Tov meal in the sukka, we went to farbreng with R’ Mendel Futerfas in the sukka of R’ Asher Sasonkin. It is a small sukka, and more than fifty bachurim crowded in. Most of the time, R’ Asher Sasonkin did the talking, and R’ Mendel practically did not speak at all. From there, we went to the sukka of R’ Avraham Maiyor [Drizin] where there was also a farbrengen going on. His sukka is also small and it seemed that it would break any moment from the crowding. R’ Avraham cried throughout most of the farbrengen, and I heard that it is his wont to cry at farbrengens.

DANCING IN 770

Second Day of Sukkos, Friday

For Birkas Kohanim, the Rebbe descended from the platform as usual and stood on the side. The Kohanim went up on the Rebbe’s platform, and among them was a boy who apparently was before bar mitzva age (or perhaps after, I’m not quite sure), but the Rebbe spotted him and signaled that they should give him a tallis. R’ Dovid Raskin immediately handed him his tallis.

After the davening, the Rebbe signaled to sing, and they began to sing and dance, and the Rebbe exited the beis midrash with his lulav and esrog in his hand. As usual, before the Rebbe left, they made an announcement about mivtza lulav. When I returned to 770 in the afternoon, the dancing was still going on, and when the Rebbe arrived from his house he signaled with his hand that they should continue dancing, and they began to dance even stronger. This went on until Mincha, which took place in the small zal upstairs.

Friday night, the davening took place in the zal downstairs, and after the davening he signaled to sing, and once again we began dancing. After the Shabbos Chol HaMoed nighttime meal, there was a farbrengen all night in the sukka alongside 770.

HALACHIC RULING REGARDING THE WAR

Shabbos, Chol HaMoed Sukkos

After Musaf, the Rebbe signaled to sing, and we danced. Before the Rebbe walked out, they announced a number of farbrengens that would be held on Motzaei Shabbos [in accordance with the instruction of the Rebbe to farbreng all of the days of Sukkos]. Since they did not announce a time for Mincha, that was a signal to us that there would be a farbrengen [because when there was a farbrengen, Mincha would be at whatever time the farbrengen ended]. Once again, we merited a farbrengen on Sukkos. The farbrengen took place at the regular time of every Shabbos. The Rebbe spoke about the war now going on in Eretz Yisroel, and issued a sort of “p’sak din,” basing himself on the siyum he had made on Meseches Challa on 6 Tishrei, and he also brought a proof from Igeres HaKodesh, and the Rebbe said that they should all answer “Amen.”

Afterward, he said a maamer, and at the end of the farbrengen he stood up and began to clap, and then immediately descended the platform to his room in order to bring the siddur. The farbrengen [with no food and drink] ended earlier than usual.

After that, he came downstairs for Mincha and as everybody was saying “Korbanos,” he signaled with his hand. However, nobody understood the signal until someone said “U’faratzta” and they all began to sing. The Rebbe turned to face the crowd and clapped with all his strength. As a result, the entire davening was conducted with tremendous joy. At the end of the davening, he began to sing and left to his room.

On Motzaei Shabbos, there was a farbrengen with R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky and a few other elder Chassidim.

CHASSIDIM WRITE TO THE REBBE: C”K ADMOR SHLITA MOSHIACH TZIDKEINU

Sunday, 18 Tishrei, Second Day Chol HaMoed Sukkos

After the davening, the Rebbe signaled to R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky, who as usual was standing on a bench, to sing. This happened all the days of Chol HaMoed; sometimes the Rebbe began the singing and sometimes he signaled to R’ Zushe to sing, as if to say that he should begin the singing and everyone else should join in. After the Rebbe walked out, they all continued to dance, as has become the regular practice.

For all those who did not manage to shake the Rebbe’s lulav before davening, the Rebbe sent out his dalet minim with R’ Meir Harlig, who is in charge, and whoever wants to come, can come and use them.

In the afternoon, there was a gathering of Tzach around the world, and Anash from many countries spoke, with each one giving a report about the activities in his location. Among the speakers were also Chassidim from Kfar Chabad, Kiryat Gat and Nachalas Har Chabad. Speakers from among our fellow Sephardim were R’ Yosef Mizrachi from Rechovot and R’ Saadia Jerufi from Taanach. At the end of the gathering, there was a resolution to send in a note to the Rebbe or deliver it directly to the hands of the Rebbe, containing a pidyon nefesh for the soldiers in the Holy Land. The letter was worded and read before the entire assembly and included in the wording was the following: “And the Rebbe shlita, Moshiach Tzidkeinu, will lead us upright to our land.”

In the interim, before handing the note to the Rebbe, it was typed up and they chose some of the elders of Anash to give it directly to the Rebbe when he leaves his room for home.

Maariv took place at around 7 p.m., and after Maariv there was a farbrengen [as per the Rebbe’s instruction to farbreng every night] in the sukka. Before the Rebbe exited his room, they typed up the letter in the office [most likely referring to the secretaries’ office], and a number of the elders of Anash along with R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky went into the ladies’ section to prepare themselves for the Rebbe’s coming out. The Rebbe came out and the pan was handed into the Rebbe’s holy hand. The following is an approximate recounting of the Rebbe’s response:

“Now is not the time to receive a pan, however since it was already given…” The Rebbe then read it on the spot, and said that now is the time to be in a mode of simcha, and one should not bring up painful things in a time of simcha. The Rebbe added that it would be proper for a quorum of men to go to the Ohel and read the pan there, in addition to the Rebbe himself reading it when he will be at the Ohel. As far as the wording that they wrote, “And the Rebbe shlita, Moshiach Tzidkeinu, will lead us upright to our land,” the Rebbe made no mention of it. Although it was not so pleasant for those elders who delivered this pan, they consoled themselves with the fact that the Rebbe did not raise any objections to that wording, and they accepted and resolved that the Rebbe is in fact Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Afterward, there was a farbrengen with R’ Mentlick and R’ Chadakov. R’ Yoel Khan reviewed the first sicha of Shabbos Shuva, and reviewed the maamer that the Rebbe said at the farbrengen. The farbrengen with R’ Mentlick and R’ Chadakov came to an end, and they were replaced by R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky who, up to this point, was at a meeting to discuss the Rebbe’s response mentioned previously. When R’ Zushe announced that the farbrengen will continue, they asked him to say a brief pilpul, and he said over an explanation on the “Laws of Kings” of the Rambam.

THE REBBE ENCOURAGED THROUGH THE WINDOW

Monday, 19 Tishrei, Third Day Chol HaMoed Sukkos

Today they gathered the children that learn in Oholei Torah in the sukka [alongside 770], and R’ Moshe Goldstein spoke to them in English and played the accordion. The event was filmed by television reporters. During the gathering, the Rebbe was in his sukka [in front of 770], but nobody knows the reason why. When the Rebbe exited the sukka, he entered 770 and went to the small zal, and everybody immediately left the zal. The Rebbe approached the window of the zal [which opens into the sukka], waved his hands toward the children and was very joyous. Afterward, the Rebbe entered his room.

We heard that Arik Sharon called R’ Efraim Wolf, asking him to contact the Rebbe to inform him that he had crossed the Suez Canal and to ask for a bracha for him. Also on the topic of the war, yesterday they sent the Rebbe a list of all those called up who are currently fighting, and the Rebbe gave a bracha.

Tuesday, 20 Tishrei, Fourth Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos

In the afternoon, the girls gathered in the sukka. They gave them cake and spoke to them, and also played music on the accordion.

After Maariv there was a farbrengen again, but this time it did not go on for very long because it is the night of Hoshana Raba.

At about 9 p.m. we went to a gathering of the descendants of the Alter Rebbe, arranged by R’ Shmuel Eliezer Halperin, the Rosh Yeshiva of Toras Emes in Yerushalayim [and chairman of the Igud Tzetzaei Admur HaZakein]. The gathering was similar to the one he arranged in the Holy Land [the event in New York was arranged as per the instructions of the Rebbe]. The event took place in the hall of the Young Israel. At the gathering, there was a choir made up of a number of bachurim, among them Sholom Horowitz, Shabtai, and a few others. There were more men in the crowd than women, and in general it was a nice event.

From the gathering we returned to 770, where they already began saying the book of D’varim, as per the Chabad custom to say the book of D’varim and the entire T’hillim, and afterward they go to sleep or sit and farbreng.

A SPECIAL HAKAFA FOR THE SOLDIERS

Hoshana Raba

Last night, R’ Groner and Dovid Malka took down the lectern of the Rebbe from the platform, in order that at the end of each circuit of Hoshana Raba, the Rebbe should not have to exert himself to walk back up to the platform.

After Shacharis, he distributed lekach to those men and women who did not receive any on Erev Yom Kippur.

Today we were very busy arranging comfortable spots to stand, from where it would be possible to see the Rebbe during Hakafos at night. Even though we had many things to do, in the face of the thought of where to stand during Hakafos, all other considerations about things that we need to take care of are canceled out. With difficulty, I managed to find time to buy some gifts [for family members in the Holy Land], in order to have what to send back with our friends Yosef and Avraham, and I immediately returned to dealing with finding places.

[During the day] they set up special metal tables to form an enclosed square, in order for the Rebbe to dance inside this enclosure. As soon as the tables were set up, people grabbed places around them, and each person wrote his name on the table. Similarly, when they built the pyramids, each person wrote his name down in order to hold his spot. I went up on the third level from the top of the improvised bleachers, and as I did not have a pen [as he was already dressed in Yom Tov clothing], I scratched my name with a nail and hoped that nobody would grab my place away from me.

Shmini Atzeres Night

We went to Hakafos in a shul on Rogers Avenue, a few blocks from 770. In our group were Nachum Mizrachi, Chaim Mesharki, Yoske Perman, and Moshe Slonim. We davened Maariv in that shul, made kiddush and held Hakafos. When it got close to 9 p.m., we immediately ran to 770 in order not to be late, and also to grab our places. I got to my place and there was a man standing there, but he eventually went down and I saw the Rebbe clearly. To my disappointment, when the Rebbe danced with Rashag, it was difficult for me to see, both because of those blocking me and the fact that I am short.

At the conclusion of the recitation of the verses of Hakafos [Ata Horeisa], the Rebbe turned towards the Aron Kodesh and they handed him a small Torah. They also gave Rashag a small Torah. The Rebbe descended the platform followed by Rashag. All those standing nearby kissed the Torahs, and the Rebbe walked between the tables that were chained together to prevent them from moving. When he reached the bima of the Torah reading, he danced with Rashag for about five minutes. Those moments are literally indescribable. Everybody jumped in place as high as they could go.

After the Rebbe stopped dancing, he continued to hold onto Rashag [who apparently had become weak from the dancing, due to his advanced age], and afterward, R’ Groner came over to hold onto Rashag. Rashag stood on the bima until the seventh Hakafa, when he again danced with the Rebbe.

At the second Hakafa, the Rebbe instructed that all those among the Israelis who had been in the army or the army reserves should approach. All the aforementioned went over for the Hakafa.

During every Hakafa, after they say the verses and begin to sing, the Rebbe claps his hands literally with all his power, and it is a pleasure to see the Rebbe during these moments.

For the seventh Hakafa, the Rebbe once again danced with Rashag. It is impossible to describe the joy as well as the crush that there is during these few minutes. Each time that the Rebbe makes a motion with his head, people are jumping to the roof. Every few moments, there are cascading “waterfalls” of people. To our joy, the table that we stood on held strong with veritable miracles. Among the fallen, there were no injuries reported to our forces.

The Hakafos ended at 1 a.m.

“U’FARATZTA” TO THE TUNE OF “V’SAMACHTA”

Shmini Atzeres

At Shacharis, the Rebbe came in and did not signal to sing, but for Mincha the Rebbe entered the zal downstairs, went up to his place on the platform, and then turned around to face the crowd and they began to sing. The Rebbe clapped his hands with all of his strength and was very joyous. As soon as the Rebbe turned toward the lectern, the singing stopped immediately.

At the conclusion of the davening, something interesting took place which was unprecedented. The Rebbe turned toward the crowd, and as he leaned on the amud, he said approximately the following, “Since we are transitioning now from a temporary dwelling to a permanent dwelling and with joy, so we should merit to extend that same joy to the entire year.” When he finished speaking, he began to sing “U’faratzta” to the tune of “V’Samachta B’chagecha,” and everyone began to sing and dance and it was very joyful.

HA’ADERES V’HA’EMUNA TO THE TUNE OF THE FRENCH NATIONAL ANTHEM

Simchas Torah Night

After davening and dancing, everybody went once again to bring joy to other shuls. This time, I went a further distance than I went yesterday, to Flatbush, an hour walk each way. We went into the first shul that we encountered. Today I went again with Nachum Mizrachi, Chaim Mesharki, and we also had R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky with us. We danced and made things joyous and then returned to 770.

When the Rebbe came down for the farbrengen, it was obvious that many Chassidim were missing, since many were on the shlichus to bring joy to other Jews. The feeling here, for whoever doesn’t go, is one of shame, and it is an even greater shame to remain for Maariv with the Rebbe.

During the farbrengen, 770 filled up a little, a bit at a time. This farbrengen was relatively short, and members of the Israeli Consulate were present. They arranged a special bench for them near the elders, and the Rebbe signaled to the Israelis to say l’chaim. At the conclusion of the farbrengen, the Rebbe went up to his room, and everyone went outside to allow the organizers to set up the pyramids for Hakafos.

During the Hakafos, the members of the consulate stood on the Rebbe’s platform. I grabbed the same place I had yesterday, but this time I could see better. The order of the Hakafos was the same as yesterday. For the second reading of the verses [Ata Horeisa], they honored the members of the consulate, who read them in typical sabra Ivrit. At one point, during the selling of the verses, the Rebbe signaled to the head of the group to approach, and the Rebbe spoke to him about the war in the Holy Land. The Rebbe included a number of people in the conversation, including the Chabad journalist Gershon Jacobson. He recounted later that the Rebbe said to them that it is urgent that they capture Damascus, and that even the Americans want Eretz Yisroel to conquer Damascus. They only say verbally that they should not conquer it, but in truth they are not opposed. The Rebbe explained at length that even Russia does not care if they conquer Damascus, and it would seem that it is only the Israeli government that doesn’t want to capture it.

The Rebbe also added that it was only the mistakes made in the war of 1948 [War of Independence] that caused the Sinai War, and the mistakes of the Sinai War that caused the Six Day War, and the mistakes of the Six Day War caused the current war. And if there will be mistakes again, I don’t want to say what will be in a few years down the road.

During the Hakafos, the Rebbe once again turned and spoke to the head of the consular delegation. The members of the consulate were honored with a Hakafa, and as they circled the bima, the Rebbe began to sing “Hoshia es Amecha.”

For the fourth Hakafa, the Rebbe instructed the gabbai to announce that all the French participants should gather and they would be honored with the Hakafa. Immediately, there was a large flow from all four corners of the hall, because many French guests came this year. The Rebbe took the siddur in his hand, walked to the edge of the platform, and said the liturgical hymn of the Hakafos [HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna] to the tune of the French national anthem. Although most of the crowd was unfamiliar with the tune, they listened or hummed after the French who were dancing and jumping, and it was very joyous. The Rebbe clapped his hands very strongly and moved back and forth. It was amazing to see the Rebbe during this event. [From that point on, HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna was sung to the tune of the French national anthem and became a Chabad song.]

After the French concluded the Hakafa, the Rebbe instructed to give them l’chaim, and they all stood in line on the platform. Also, the members of the consulate received l’chaim from the Rebbe, and he even shook their hands before they parted ways from him in amazement. They said that they would immediately place a telephone call [as they keep only one day Yom Tov] to Abba Eban [the Foreign Minister], and they would tell him what the Rebbe said regarding the need to capture Damascus. There was also a high-ranking Israeli security official present who was most amazed by the extent of the Rebbe’s knowledge of what was going on in the field.

After the Israelis left, the Hakafos continued. During the seventh Hakafa, the Rebbe and Rashag danced again as they did yesterday, but Rashag was very tired. The Rebbe held onto his shoulder, and R’ Groner noticed this and also supported him.

Tonight’s Hakafos ended at 4 in the morning. The Rebbe went up to his room and we waited outside until he exited, and then we began to sing. The Rebbe waved his hands and turned in the direction of his house with us following. Nachum [Mizrachi] and I were the first, and we stopped everyone else from getting too close. When we got to the corner of the street where the Rebbe lives, we halted everybody, while Nachum and I continued following the Rebbe until he crossed the street. Only then did we stop and wait until the Rebbe entered his house.

I returned to 770, where the dancing continued and we sang without interruption only one song, the French national anthem, which was new for all of us. After dancing for a long time, I lay down on a coat that I found on the floor, and that is how I slept until the morning, when they woke me in order to receive an aliya [as is the custom on Simchas Torah that everyone receives an aliya to the Torah].

I forgot to write that the famous Bumi [R’ Avrohom Friedland] drank a lot of l’chaim, and it was a pleasure to witness him in that state [he was always engrossed in learning, so it was a novelty to see him that way].

THE FACE OF THE BAAL KOREI TURNED RED

Simchas Torah Day

The Rebbe came down for Shacharis, went up on the platform and began to sing and clap with full force. During the Torah reading there was pushing. For the first aliya, all the Kohanim went up, and after them all of the Levites. After that there was more pushing because everyone wanted to have an aliya to the Torah. People were literally climbing on top of each other. R’ Avrohom Parshan was honored with “Chassan Torah,” and the Rebbe was the “Chassan B’Reishis.” Before the Rebbe went up to the Torah, they called out, as is customary, the name of the Rebbe Rayatz and afterward the name of the Rebbe shlita. The baal korei [R’ Mordechai Shusterman] turned red when he uttered the full name of the Rebbe.

At 1:00 in the afternoon the Hakafos began. The order with the verses was the same as on the nights of Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. After the davening and Hakafos, we went to eat something and returned immediately for the farbrengen. The Rebbe instructed R’ [Mordechai Dov] Teleshevsky to announce that whoever had not yet washed for bread to do so now. The farbrengen was relatively short due to the approaching Shabbos.

At the end of the farbrengen, they bentched and then began Kabbalas Shabbos. I did not understand why there was so much pushing towards the platform of the Rebbe, but at the end of the davening when I heard the Rebbe saying the Kaddish yasom, I understood why there was pushing. The Rebbe said Kaddish at night and the next day, but we don’t know the reason why [it later became known that it is for the yahrtzait of his grandmother, Mrs. Rochel Yanovsky, who was murdered by the Nazis, Hy”d].

THE SHTRAIMEL AND THE WHITE HAT

Shabbos B’Reishis

On Shabbos, they sang HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna to the tune of the French national anthem, and the Rebbe tapped on the lectern with his hands. During chazaras hashatz, chazzan Teleshevsky sang Yismach Moshe to the tune of “Ata Vechartanu” [as is the custom in 770 on Shabbos B’Reishis, to incorporate joyous tunes in the prayers]. When they took out the Torah scroll, he sang the words of Gadlu L’Hashem Iti in the tune of the French national anthem, and the Rebbe smiled.

The farbrengen began at the usual time of 1:30. During the farbrengen, they held the selling of the “Mitzvos” [for the entire year, as is customary on Shabbos B’Reishis]. During the selling, the Rebbe signaled to the gabbai that he should exchange his hat, but he did not understand until the Rebbe signaled again. The Rebbe looked suddenly in our direction, since there had been a Belzer Chassid wearing a shtraimel standing there earlier, but he had already left, so they went outside to look for him. In the end, the shtraimel made its way to the head of the gabbai. When they put it on him, the crowd burst out in laughter, and the Rebbe gave a slight smile. When he finished selling the “Mitzvos,” the gabbai wanted to take off the shtraimel, but the Rebbe looked at him and indicated that he should keep it on, which left the Belzer Chassid with no choice but to stay until the end of the farbrengen.

The farbrengen ended at 4:00, earlier than usual, in order to leave time for Mincha and for people to eat the Shabbos meal, prior to the additional farbrengen which would take place later, in honor of Shabbos B’Reishis.

At the second farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke about the French national anthem, and explained it as being similar to the Alter Rebbe acquiring Napoleon’s March and elevating it to holiness, so too, now we are taking this tune and defeating the power of the “other side.” The Rebbe added not to sit and study this tune, and people understood from this not to sing it that much. Then the Rebbe called for all the French guests to congregate in one spot, and he called over [R’ Shmuel] Azimov, and the Rebbe gave him mashke to distribute to the French guests. It seems as if the special signs of closeness that the Rebbe is showing to the French is due to the current opposition shown by the French government toward Eretz Yisroel. R’ Azimov distributed the mashke and they said l’chaim to the Rebbe. There was someone there named Holtzman [R’ Yaakov Tzvi], who was born in France but currently lives in Belgium, and the Rebbe signaled to him that he should also approach. Then the Rebbe began HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna to the tune of the French national anthem, with the French guests continuing the song.

Then the Rebbe said that since it is not our custom to give mashke to women, therefore they should give them [apparently referring to the female guests from France] challa, and the Rebbe gave from the challa that he made the blessing on to distribute to them.

At the farbrengen, there was an American Jew wearing a white hat, and he clapped a number of times opposite the Rebbe and the Rebbe clapped in his direction. This occurred a number of times. One of the times that he stood up to clap, after the Rebbe signaled to him, one of the elder Chassidim sitting behind the Rebbe stood up and motioned for him to sit down, but the fellow pointed to the Rebbe, implying that it was the Rebbe who had signaled him to clap, and the Rebbe turned around to look behind him and smiled. The man in the white hat continued to clap opposite the Rebbe.

The farbrengen ended at 1:00 in the morning. We davened Maariv and the Rebbe made Havdala. He made the M’orei HaEish blessing quietly and there were no b’samim there. As soon as he ended Havdala, they all stood on line to receive “Kos shel Bracha.” I already had the small bottles ready in my pockets. While the Rebbe distributes from the wine of blessing, everyone stands around the platform and sings, and when the Rebbe signals with his hands to intensify the singing, we all jump.

I received four cups from the Rebbe: for myself, for the family, one for my two brothers-in-law, and one for the Talmud Torah in Bareket, and I immediately poured them into the small bottles.

Before the distribution began, R’ Groner asked permission from the Rebbe for them to play the violin. The Rebbe agreed, and during the distribution, R’ Shmuel Kattan played a few songs on the violin.

When the man in the white hat approached the Rebbe to receive “Kos shel Bracha,” many people pushed to see what the Rebbe would say to him, and once again the Rebbe signaled to him to clap and it was very joyous.

The distribution ended at 4:00 in the morning, and as he went up to his room he began to sing. Near the door of the Rebbe’s room, a woman was waiting who asked for a bottle of mashke, and the Rebbe gave one to her and added that she should mix it with water. It is unknown why she asked for the bottle.

When he left his room, he began to encourage the singing with his hand movements and then he entered the car. As the Rebbe drove away, they began to sing and the Rebbe again encouraged with his hands.

We went to sleep happy and of good heart from all that we experienced on Sukkos and Simchas Torah, and Tishrei in general. May we merit to again be present for such a time.

THE REBBE PARTS FROM THE GUESTS

Sunday, 25 Tishrei

[The author of the diary went to the airport to see off his friends. It is regarding this that he writes]: To our good fortune there is yechidus tonight, so there was no concern that we would miss Maariv with the Rebbe [since on yechidus nights, Maariv takes place at a late hour. [After his return, he writes]: The yechidus is still ongoing. Among those who went in are the Mashgiach [in Tomchei T’mimim in Kfar Chabad] R’ Yaakov Katz, Yossi Levin (the soldier) and Tzvi Greenwald. Maariv was at about 12 midnight.

Monday, 26 Tishrei

Today the group from France departed. [As they were leaving 770, they stood outside and] they sang the French national anthem. The Rebbe came out from his room and clapped, and followed them with his eyes.

Tonight there was once again a long yechidus [for the guests] and Maariv took place very late.

Tuesday, 27 Tishrei

Today there was a large group that traveled to the Holy Land. When the Rebbe came from his house, before he entered 770, he stood past the first steps and clapped from there.

Mincha took place in the large zal, because there were many people traveling tonight. After Mincha, he began to sing “U’faratzta” to the tune of “V’Samachta Bechagecha,” and we continued singing and dancing afterward.

Wednesday, 28 Tishrei

Today there was a second group that traveled to the Holy Land, and the Rebbe went out to accompany them and clapped. Tonight there was a lengthy yechidus again.

Thursday, 29 Tishrei

Today the Rebbe went to the Ohel, and as usual, Mincha was at a later time. After Maariv, R’ Mendel Futerfas began to speak to the older bachurim about returning to the Holy Land in order to strengthen the yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, but most of them answered in the negative and said that even B. Z. agreed. Afterward, we went with R’ Mendel to Chovevei Torah where we farbrenged. R’ Mendel again mentioned the idea that we need to do what the Rebbe wants [i.e., to return to the Holy Land and learn in the yeshiva there] and not only what the Rebbe says [explicitly] and his intention is clear. All of the older boys began to have second thoughts.

The farbrengen went on for a long time, and the Mashpia R’ Shlomo Zarchi took a lot of l’chaim and spoke a lot.

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