Rebbe Yehudah Leib Alter (Sfas Emes)
(1847 - 1905)
The Sfas Emes, Rebbe Yehudah Leib Alter was the 2nd
Rebbe of the Gerer Chassidim and the grandson of the Chiddushei HaRim.
He was orphaned at the age of one and raised by his grandfather.
He was a child prodigy and studied without interruption
for eighteen hours at a time. When he was nineteen, his grandfather,
the Chiddushei HaRim passed away and pressure was exerted on Reb Yehudah
Leib to assume the mantle of leadership of the Gerer Chassidim. He felt
unworthy however, and instead went to Alexander to study under Rebbe
After only four years, Rebbe Chanoch Henoch passed
away, and then Reb Yehudah Leib was left with no choice but to comply
with the wishes of the Chassidim to become the leader of the Ger. Under his guidance and leadership Ger
became the largest Chassidic group in Poland.
The Sfas Emes, named after his magnum opus, was a proponent of expanding
the Chassidic community in Israel,
and greatly supported activities to that end. His son, the Emrei Emes,
escaped the Nazis, came to Israel and
rebuilt Ger, restoring it to its former glory.