My son keeps me going
Thursday, 5 Tammuz, 5716, June 14 (1956)

It’s already been several days that I feel a desire to write something, but I’ve been delaying it.

I wanted, and no doubt ought, for the sake of my son, shlita, to write words that are not so “depressing,” but what should I do when I don’t yet feel that way.

It’s now nine years since my arrival here [in New York]. Thank G‑d for my son, who has been accomplishing so much in recent years. He possesses outstandingly great abilities, intellectual brilliance and erudition, in addition to the greatness and holiness of his soul, and the fact that whatever he does is born of absolute truth. The world at large recognizes this and appreciates it.

The young people are so devoted to him; they love him and relate to him as to a G‑dly person.

I see all this, understand it and appreciate it.

My son, may he be well, can say “I am better for you than ten sons.”1 “Some individuals can acquire their [portion in the] World to Come in a single hour.”2 My son acquires it with the ten minutes that he comes in to visit me every day.

It’s what keeps me going

It’s already twelve years that I’m on my own. Thank G‑d for the good that I have. What I grasp on to is my son, shlita.

My son’s accomplishments
Following Shabbat, eve of 14 Kislev, 5717 (11/18/1956)

Today is the wedding anniversary of my son, shlita. May G‑d grant that he and his wife live long, fortunate lives and enjoy their life together.

Twenty-eight years have passed. During that time, my son has accomplished much, publishing a great deal of material. In his humility, he accomplishes it all without fanfare. Nevertheless, the general public already recognizes his accomplishments and appreciates them. He has great abilities, and since childhood has never been idle for a moment; his time is always occupied. May he be in good health, and may all his efforts proceed under positive and tranquil conditions.

In any case, [may it be] a good week. I hope that my son, long may he live, will yet arrive and we will wish each other a good week, and may everything always be good.

Adar II [5717 (1957)]

Several months have already passed without my writing anything all this time, for what purpose?

There are always mountain-loads of experiences that prompt all sorts of feelings. Often I sense an urgent need to express some of them.

Perpetuating my husband’s memory
2 Menachem Av [5717 (1957)]

My son, long may he live and be well, has just left my home. He was here for ten minutes, which are difficult for him to find.

Sometimes my mood gets dark, the clouds becoming dense enough to “slice with a knife.” But after I see my son, the clouds become much sparser and hopefully less glum, enabling me to record the following words:

The 13th yahrzeit of my husband, of blessed memory, is already approaching. With every passing day I feel my loneliness more intensely—I am too lonely and too much alone. I need to realize that, as I become older, this will not improve. May G‑d grant that it shouldn’t get worse.

I deeply desire that something be published to perpetuate my husband’s blessed memory, either something about his life or some of his scholarly work that he wrote and studied almost until his last moment. Perhaps a time will come for this, either during my lifetime or after.3 It is my belief that, as a great personage and because of his intellectual accomplishments and great abilities, he certainly deserved this.

I don’t even have a photograph of him. I was in possession of one given to him after he was liberated following the grievous years [of imprisonment and exile] he endured. His face in the picture was absolutely unrecognizable. I didn’t want my children to see him in that state. In any case, I wouldn’t have been able to get it across the [Soviet] border.4

Later I hoped to find here a picture of the whole family together which was sent here from Soviet Russia. But it was not destined to be; that post-card picture, too, had disappeared here. I have to forget about it. Thank G‑d for those who are still alive. May everything associated with them be successful.

My greatest pleasure is when my son leads a farbrengen
[11 Tishrei, 5717 (1957)]

Thank G‑d, it’s already the 11th of Tishrei, after Yom Kippur, during which everything passed appropriately.

My son led everything so sublimely, which was a pleasure for me to witness. Now Sukkot is coming.

The purpose of my writing this time is as follows: This period is a time of prayer, so I ask that I should feel well under the conditions I need, for I don’t have the ability to improve them.

My greatest pleasure is to listen and watch as my son leads a farbrengen. It’s a pleasure for me to hear his voice, and I find the content, as much as I understand it, to be very interesting.

I’m thinking about having a sukkah, not for reasons of piety5 but because I have been so accustomed to it all the years.

Children’s rally in the sukkah
Third day of Chol Hamoed [Sukkot, 5717 (1957)]

I hurry to record the pleasure I experienced yesterday. During that time, I was able to forget about my personal issues.

For Simchat Beit Hasho’evah,6 like every year, children who attend Mesibos Shabbos7 and the Beth Rivkah Girls School were brought [to the sukkah at Lubavitch World Headquarters], accompanied by many of their parents. There was a large crowd, mainly consisting of children, of course. The children were in a festive yom tov atmosphere; their leaders gave them a very enjoyable time.

Following the pattern of Lag B’Omer,8 they later went outside, where my son, may he be well, came out to them.

I’m unable to describe the love expressed on their faces, and it gushed forth in joy and dancing with great enthusiasm. Children express this with such genuine feelings and purity that it seemed to me that it affected the adults, too.

It’s more than 24 hours since then, and I still feel its effect.

Simchat Beit Hasho’evah farbrengen

Later in the evening, like every year, there was a farbrengen for yeshiva students.

I sat there for an hour and a half. It was an evening of Torah. During the time when I was present, my son spoke only on subjects of Nigleh [Talmudic-Halachic scholarship].9 The crowd, which was much larger than in previous years, remained there until much later.

My son spoke on such a wide spectrum of subjects, capturing everyone’s interest, and my, how everyone listened so attentively!

Between his talks, the assembled joyously sang melodies, the many voices harmoniously merging to the extent that one can say, “Whoever has not seen the rejoicing of Beis Hasho’evah has never seen rejoicing.”10

For me personally, it was a nachas and spiritual pleasure. May G‑d grant my son long life and all good.

8 Tevet [5718 (1957)]

I am now taking paper in hand, like a good friend, to express some feelings, although it’s late at night. But I won’t write at length. May G‑d grant that everyone be well.