Mar 11, 2013
Instructions for Secret Mission

Rabbi Binyamin Katz reveals spy-like instructions he received before being sent by the Rebbe to Communist Russia in 1964.

By N'shei Chabad Newsletter staff

What if you can't even tell your wife what you did at work today? What if the mission is top secret, and lives are at stake if you say one word to the wrong person? What if the Rebbe is your boss, and you will be held accountable for any leaks?

Rabbi Binyamin Katz, now of New Haven, CT, faced all of these questions after he was chosen to be sent to Communist-oppressed Russia in 1964 by the Rebbe.

"I was an American citizen, I had a good memory, and was known not to have much interest in food," he said about his qualifications in an article for the upcoming Nissan issue of the N'shei Chabad Newsletter.

Aside from the fascinating details of his secret mission, Rabbi Katz shares
some of his instructions were:

1. Never drink any mashkeh, even if it is offered to you by other Jews and everyone else is drinking.

2. Never enter the home of a Jew thinking the authorities will not find out.

3. Take hot showers before you go to sleep to make you drowsy. If you feel you cannot sleep at night, make it appear as if you slept, so that the maid in the hotel will not report that you had a sleepless night.

4. Never tell anyone when you are leaving from one city to another. Have something warm to drink every day.

5. Stay in shul as much as possible, for only there will you be able to gather information. Be alert at all times; the officers in the shul are not to be trusted.

6. Never ask the police for help or information.

7. Never speak off the cuff; think carefully before speaking.

8. Better to answer a question with a nod of the head rather than a verbal response.

"The Mommy of the Camp"

Another interesting article in the upcoming issue is an exclusive interview with Rebbetzin Chave Hecht, co-founder and director of the veteran Chabad girls overnight Camp Emunah for the past 60 years and counting.

In the article, Rebbetzin Hecht shares stories of the Rebbe's brochos and instructions to her husband, legendary chossid Rabbi JJ Hecht OBM and to herself.

Also in the new issue is an interview with the mother of Esther Etiquette, the anonymous columnist who answers readers questions about etiquette and human interactions.

"My mother compliments her housekeeper. A lot. Especially during hectic times. She makes sure to acknowledge the chaos in the house and the increased workload, and frequently offers the housekeeper a drink and makes sure she sits down for meals," Esther writes

"My mother uses phrases like, "We are going to get this done," which makes the housekeeper feel she is part of team rather than a lone slave.

"After Pesach my mother buys the housekeeper a thoughtful gift to thank her for her hard work. No wonder a few of our housekeepers have tried to convert to Judaism!"

"As soon as I finished reading Esther Etiquette's description of her mother, I sighed in understanding. 'Now it all makes sense,'" said Mrs. Dvorah Chazanow, proofreader at the N'shei Chabad Newsletter.

"Of course Esther is that way – look who raised her."

Subscribe until this week ends and get the magazine delivered to your home in time for Pesach at

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Opinions and Comments
an old friend
I was in the Yeshivah in Kfar Chabad when Binyomin was on his return from his shlichus from Russia, and shared a room with him there.
It was fascinating to hear of his experiences there. It was clear to me why he was thone to have been sent
(3/13/2013 5:44:48 AM)
Thank you!!
Thank you, Neshei Chabad for sharing with us the stories of these living legends. Very interesting and inspiring - just like an issue of Neshei Chabad.
(3/13/2013 9:26:38 AM)
Another old friend
I too was in Kfar Chabad when Reb Binyomin returned from Russia after first staying in other countries after leaving Russia and before returning to the US. We were together for pesach as a group chutz lo'oretztiker bochurim. As he knew every one of us personally he felt safe enough to open up to us and talk about some of his amazing experiences there and the Rebbes meticulous detailed instructions to him concerning his stay in Russia as tourist including some unusual "reading material" he was to bring with him. One interesting detail, his teffilin and siddur were not Chabad. His nimble mind was essential for his safety as well as the safety of others he met there. When one "curious" shul goer picked up on an overheard reference to the word Tanya and began to comment on Tanya, Binyomin quickly said "the person said Tmania telling me that Davening will be at eight. oclock
(3/13/2013 10:03:46 AM)
to Numbers 1 and 3
Old friends, please write your names so Rabbi Katz will know who you are!
(3/13/2013 12:35:04 PM)
another instruction I heard was given to Benyamin by the Rebbe was to not sleep in the bed so the maid won't see if he tossed and turned all night
(3/13/2013 1:40:48 PM)
What did it make a difference if he had and interest in food or not?
(3/13/2013 2:54:00 PM)
Hey 4
Who are YOU?
(3/13/2013 3:35:54 PM)
to #5 correction
The Rebbe told him to not to sleep on the sheet. To remove the sheet before he went to sleep and in the morning to put it back on so that it will not be evident that he was tossing and turning due to a restless sleep which might arouse suspicion. He was the one who was instrumental in so many anash leaving Russia in76 76 etc.
(3/13/2013 5:07:06 PM)
#6 -
bec he would not have lots of food available to him in Russia. if anything, very little variety.
Rabbi Katz, tell us, what DID you eat on that trip in 1964?
(3/13/2013 5:52:44 PM)
Number seven
I wonder...
(3/13/2013 8:07:51 PM)
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