By the grace of G‑d, 8 Elul, 5718 (1958)

It’s already been several days that I very much desire to write something.

I haven’t been feeling so well. But it has passed, thank G‑d. But when I took my journal in hand, I was faced by a dilemma as to whether I should tear up what I have previously written for fear that my son (long may he live) may one day read it. What purpose would it serve to cause him pain? Nevertheless, I didn’t actually do that.

8 Cheshvan [5719 (1958)]

The month of Tishrei has passed. May G‑d grant that everyone be well.

I have been “compensated” [for my loneliness] by the accomplishments of my son, long may he live, which have given me so much vitality and pleasure.

My only grandchild’s birthday
[End of Cheshvan, 5719 (1958)]

It was recently the birthday of my one and only grandchild, Dahlia, long may she live, who has turned 14 years old. May she have a long and good life.

I haven’t met her, and I haven’t seen her father for 29 years. This is a very painful matter, and G‑d alone knows what the future may bring!1

I prefer not to think about it, but even from a purely rational perspective, with no role played by the heart, everyone would agree it’s not the way it should be.

After all my difficult experiences, including my husband’s bitter end (may his memory be blessed)… Nor do I know what’s happening in [Soviet] Russia. If there would be any good news, I believe I would have found out about it…2 It seems to me that I’m entitled to see my family. So, go and make it happen!

I don’t often receive letters [from my youngest son], although I’m happy when I see his handwriting.3 But I know virtually nothing of what I would desire to know.

The Rebbe’s bar-mitzvah
Following Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh Adar I, 5719 (1959)

At a time when we look forward to a good week, and it’s also Rosh Chodesh, particularly of the month of Adar, when “we increase joy,”4 I should write in a cheerful mood.

However, I’m sitting alone at home, not so upbeat. On the 28th of Tevet, I became 79 years old. Thank G‑d that I’ve been able to keep going until now in my present condition, emotional and physical, but it gets more difficult every day.

This week was the bar-mitzvah celebration of a friend’s son.5 It reminded me of the bar-mitzvah6 of my older son, long may he live in good health and with success. All the bar-mitzvahs of our sons were celebrated by us in a fine manner. But my older son’s was something special, extraordinary, on a highly sublime level. It was our family’s first personal celebration.

My husband, of blessed memory, was held in high regard. This was despite the initial “birth pangs” of his rabbinic position due to opposition by non-Chasidim and Zionists against Lubavitch, which they considered him to personify and which is why they didn’t want to accept his appointment.7 But now it was already seven years that we had lived in the city, and our supporters were proud of my husband’s accomplishments, while those opposing had often expressed their remorse. Now both sides had an opportunity to express their feelings.

For our good friends, it was a genuine celebration, expressed in a delightfully friendly closeness which had a delectable feeling, as I remind myself now.

It was held on a Shabbat,8 and many guests attended. At that time we had a large home, and all its rooms were packed. Because it was so crowded, there was a constant interchange of guests, with some leaving while new ones came to take their place. I had many female guests, and there were also many young people. All these groups included guests from all sorts of background.

I don’t remember exactly when it started, probably around 12:00 noon, after the conclusion of prayers at shul. The men sat in the large hall, while we women were in the large dining room. Of course, the tables were beautifully set with abundant food, for both the men and the women.

Around 3:00-4:00 p.m. we saw some of the male guests, both old and young, emerging with weeping faces. I tried looking inside the main hall to discover the reason for their tears, but it was so crowded in there that I couldn’t see through all the heads.

When I asked those who had been inside, they told me that the father—my husband—had requested our son (long may he live) to promise him something. I wasn’t inside, so I don’t know the actual course of events. But our son’s reply, apparently, wasn’t immediate. Everyone was amazed by the great character of such a young boy, that he was so guarded and cautious about giving his reply.

I don’t know the details of what actually happened there, but around 6:00-7:00 p.m.—I remember it wasn’t so light any more—the weeping faces I had previously seen became very happy. Now from inside we heard the sound of such joyous dancing and singing, and the joy became so intense that it affected those outside, too. One sensed that the enthusiastic rejoicing held some deep significance, and that both the nature of the request and the one who gave his reply would remain memorable for a long time.

By the grace of G‑d, Cheshvan, 5721 (1960)

Lately I have not wanted to write. I am careful about overstraining myself, and I find writing to be hard on me.

Yesterday, however, was the birthday of my one and only grandchild, who, thank G‑d, has turned 16—may she live until 120. I hear good reports about her, and occasionally receive letters from her written in Hebrew, which give me great pleasure. But I have never met her, so I don’t know her…

I haven’t seen her father for 31 years, and who knows what the future will bring?

It’s difficult to think about this. I feel like discussing it, but I have no one with whom to do so.

Great thanks to G‑d for my [older] son, long may he live, who does for me whatever he is capable of doing and perhaps even more. He’s becoming busier and busier, but every day he tears himself away from his work for about five minutes and sometimes more. And that’s what keeps me alive. Thank G‑d for what I have.

[27 Sivan, 5723 (1963)]

Tomorrow will be the 16th anniversary of when I arrived here in America. It’s late at night. I’m now more or less following a personal schedule, which is better for my health and in general for the way I feel.

I observe that it’s almost three years that I haven’t written anything, and I find that embarrassing.

Thank G‑d, I’m coming into the sixth month since I turned 83, and thank G‑d for my relatively good health, although lately it hasn’t been the greatest.9