It was my first time back in the States since getting married. While my husband Michael stayed home in South Africa, I traveled with our boys, Eitan and Uriel, for a nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. Of course, we also went to have an audience with the Rebbe.
My mother’s family had been affiliated with Chabad for generations, and, although we didn’t keep all the customs, she wouldn’t budge without first consulting the Rebbe: If anyone was sick, or getting married, or whatever, she would make an appointment. The Rebbe was very much a part of our lives when we were growing up.
We went to Crown Heights for Shavuot, but when we got there, I found out that the night before, the Rebbe had given out these beautiful, brown prayer books to all of the kids. Upset that we had missed out, I spent the whole holiday thinking about how I could get two of those siddurim for my children.
Our audience was at 11 PM, right after Shavuot of 1979. Eitan was just three years old and had fallen asleep, so I was holding him in my hands. Uriel, who was six, walked alongside me. The Rebbe greeted us very warmly; he looked at my children like they were his own grandchildren.
But before we had a chance to say anything, the Rebbe asked Uriel, “Do you have a siddur?”
Uriel replied, “No.” (more…)