This website is dedicated to my dear parents, Roselyn and Zalmon Jaffe, who devoted their lives to spreading an awareness of Lubavitch and the the Rebbe in England and beyond. I have had many requests to make available to the public the original unedited "Encounters with the Rebbe" books.. This website contains all the books originally published by my father, as well as the letters he received from the Rebbe, that I subsequently published after his passing.
From the day he first met the Rebbe in 1959, My father Reb Zalmon Jaffe ע"ה dedicated his life to use every opportunity to make the Rebbe happy and to serve as the Rebbe’s Public-Relations man in England.
He always encouraged people to write to the Rebbe, not necessarily when they had problems, but to keep contact always. He only wanted to write good news, to make the Rebbe happy. He did not want to be a Tzoros-Chossid and only write when he had a problem.
He revelled in relating stories about the Rebbe and of the achievements of his Shluchim. This is one of the reasons why he wrote his famous My Encounter with the Rebbe, to whet people’s appetite to visit ‘770’ themselves.
My father always had a knack for writing and when it was suggested to him that someone should keep a diary of their experiences at ‘770’ he jumped at the opportunity. He went on to publish twenty six volumes of My Encounter With The Rebbe!
The Rebbe would provide comments where necessary and always encouraged my father to increase the number of pages every year. That my father managed to do this was one of the Rebbe’s greatest miracles!
The Rebbetzin was his most famous fan. My father would always be certain to present a copy of his diary to the Rebbetzin as soon as he arrived in New York. When they met again, it was obvious from her questions and comments that she had read every page.
My father had an avid readership and his Encounters were known to be addictive. After starting to read one of the books it was difficult to put it down before reaching the end. The books comprised a synthesis of humour and seriousness, Torah and anecdotes. The common thread that ran through the Encounters was the connection that our family had with the Rebbe. This gave the books a charming and cherished personal touch.
Unbeknownst to most readers, in addition to his books, my father maintained an extensive correspondence with the Rebbe. For forty years he had the privilege of the Rebbe’s inspired advice on practically every matter.
When my son-in-law, Rabbi Avremi Kievman offered to put the letters in order, I accepted without hesitation. When he then suggested publishing them in a book, I knew that this is what my father would have wanted, to make the Rebbe’s advice available to everybody!
I gratefully agreed to publish these letters, knowing full well that this would give my father much nachas and joy, and that the project would also be of help to others.
I thank Avremi for all his hard work and his wife, my daughter Golda for her forbearance in this project. May Hashem grant them both, together with their family, much success in their Shlichus in Liverpool.
Due to public demand, we are very proud and privileged to make available, all of Zalmon Jaffe's unedited books of "My Encounter With The Rebbe." To whet your appetite, we would like to bring here, some pieces, that help describe, (if they need description!) his books. First, from encounter 25:
"Rabbi Chadakov (Z.Tz.L.) once told me - "I always wished that there had been someone like you Zalmon during the lifetime of the Alter Rebbe (Z.Tz.L.)
We possess ample records of his writings - the Tanya, Shulchan Oruch, Sichos and Maamorim, but no one has described to us - for posterity - the daily and even routine matters and occurrences that took place at the headquarters of Lubavitch in those early days just as you narrate the daily events at 770 in "Your Encounter with the Rebbe."
"Even today, your first instalments are already history."
And that in essence, was the point of his books. He wrote 26 of them. Amazingly, there was no repetitions, and the Rebbe always encouraged him to continue writing, and increase in quantity every year. So much so, that when he hit encounter 25, it contained 328 pages!
And besides all that, there are of course the stories, of the most incredible of relationships with our Rebbe and Rebbetzin, a relationship of friendship, care, devotion and of course, most importantly, the humour.
This is shown in the following excerpt from encounter 6:
"Last year the Rebbe gave me a Brocha "iber dem kop" which really means that the blessings should be unlimited. I suggested to the Rebbe that I was very satisfied last year and that I would like the "same again please?" The Rebbe was keenly disappointed. "Have you no ambition?" he said and added "next year will be even better." The Rebbe disclosed that he had read my Diary which he had enjoyed. He then made the correction about "taking a drink before going to the Beth Olam". (See page 1 of that diary). The Rebbe also 'suggested' that I should include more Torah in future editions. I hope that the Rebbe will be pleased with my efforts in this 'Encounter.' I do not have to quote the Maamorim nor the out-standing sichas which are, of course, printed and distributed all over the world even in the English language. I then hinted to the Rebbe that I should now discontinue to write these diaries. It would be better to concentrate on editing the previous editions and printing them into one book. In any case, it was becoming difficult to find new material every year. The Rebbe asserted that whether I intended to publish this book or not, did not make any difference. I had already published five installments so I had a chazoko. (If one did a certain action three times or more - this constituted a chazoko, which could only be 'broken' with the permission of the Beth Din). Therefore, the Rebbe was looking forward to seeing my 'Encounter 1974' otherwise I would have to attend the Beth Din to be 'matir neder' (literally to get my vows annulled). So I must carry on writing. And with the Rebbe's Brocha I would certainly find something new (and how!). The Rebbe then asked me why I had sent him five bottles of vodka. "Was it for five children?" "No," I answered, "the reason is quite a simple one. We were allowed to bring with us five bottles free of duty, so the price is very cheap, and as a businessman, I thought why should not Jewish people have this benefit. Therefore I sent them to the Rebbe." "But what shall I do with them?" questioned the Rebbe. I suggested to him that after the Farbrengen, the Rebbe should take them home and take a glassful every night. The Rebbe revealed that "Mrs. Schneerson would be surprised to see me drinking vodka. I don't like it and I don't drink vodka."
And lastly, just a small piece about the Rebbetzin, showing this friendship, and concern, from encounter 25: "On every occasion we visited Crown Heights we always saw the Rebbetzen twice at her home in 1304 President Street, accompanied by some of our grandchildren.
She treated us like royalty with plenty of cake, fruit, soda and ice cream for the children and Russian tea for the adults. It took us many years before we realised that neither we nor the Rebbetzen ever drank this tea.
The Rebbetzen was of the opinion that English people loved their tea and therefore she served this to us. We certainly love our tea, as long as it was of the English variety - together with milk.
We used to phone the Rebbetzen regularly every single Friday at 3.45 p.m our time – 10.45 a.m in New York. To save any hassle and expense she would always be sitting by the telephone when I rang. So, I made certain that I phoned exactly on the dot of 3.45 p.m.
We would also discuss the contents of my weekly, Friday letter to the Rebbe which was received every Wednesday.
I had been very ill and the Rebbetzen asked me how I was feeling. I gave her a glowing report but she was not fully convinced and she interrupted me by saying, "Please let me speak to Roselyn so I can obtain an unbiased opinion."
She cheered me up one day by saying, "Mr. Jaffe, all those (people) whom you mention in your book are generally annoyed, but those whom you do not mention are insulted."
I asked the Rebbetzen whether the Rebbe disturbed her when he came home at 4.30 a.m early morning from 770. She replied, "Oh no, I always wait up for him."
These excerpts are just samples of the incredible stories.
All the the 'Encounters', and the 'Mr Manchester' book, of the Rebbe's letters to Zalmon Jaffe are all here for you to read.
My special thanks to my son-in -law, Rabbi Avremi Kievman, his son Yisrolik Kievman and Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski for their input in enabling these Encounters to be available on line
1st Instalment – 572901st Instalment – 5729
2nd Instalment – 573002nd Instalment – 5730
3rd Instalment - 573103rd Instalment - 5731
4th Instalment - 5732904th Instalment - 5732
5th Instalment - 573305th Instalment - 5733
6th Instalment - 573406th Instalment - 5734
7th Instalment - 573507th Instalment - 5735
8th Instalment - 573608th Instalment - 5736
9th Instalment - 573709th Instalment - 5737
10th Instalment - 573810th Instalment - 5738
11th Instalment - 573911th Instalment - 5739
12th Instalment12th Instalment
13th Instalment - 574113th Instalment - 5741
14th Instalment Shovuos 5742 until Shovuos 574314th Instalment 5742
15th Installment Shovous 5743-1983 until Shovous 5744-198415th Installment Shovous 5743-1983 until Shovous 5744-1984
16th Installment Shovous 5744-1984 until Shovous 5745-198516th Installment Shovous 5744-1984 until Shovous 5745-1985
17th Installment Shovuos 5745-1985 until Shovuos 5746-198617th Installment Shovuos 5745-1985 until Shovuos 5746-1986
18th Instalment - Shovous 5746 until Shovous 574718th Instalment - Shovous 5746 until Shovous 5747
19th Installment Shovous 5747-1987 until Shovous 5748-198819th Installment Shovous 5747-1987 until Shovous 5748-1988
20th Instalment - Shovuos 5748 until Shovuos 574920th Instalment - Shovuos 5748 until Shovuos 5749
21st Instalment - Shovuos 5749 until Shovuos 575021st Instalment - Shovuos 5749 until Shovuos 5750
22nd Instalment - Shovuos 5750 until Shovuos 575122nd Instalment - Shovuos 5750 until Shovuos 5751
23rd Installment Shovuos 5751-1991 until Shovuos 5752-199223rd Installment Shovuos 5751-1991 until Shovuos 5752-1992
24th Installment Shovous 5752-1992 until Shovous 5753-199324th Installment Shovous 5752-1992 until Shovous 5753-1993
25th Installment Shovuos 5753-1993 until Shovuos 5754-199425th Installment Shovuos 5753-1993 until Shovuos 5754-1994
26th Installment Shovous 5754 - 1994 Until Shovous 5756- 199626th Installment Shovous 5754 - 1994 Until Shovous 5756- 1996