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Yitzchak Meir Alter

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Yitzchak Meir Alter
Gerrer Rebbe
Full name Yitzchak Meir Alter
Main work Chidushei Harim
Born 1798
Magnuszew, Poland
Died 10 March 1866
Dynasty Ger
Predecessor none
Successor Chanoch Henoch of Alexander
Wife Feigele Lipszyc
Issue Avraham Mordechai
Cyna Pesia
Leah Hudes
Esther

Yitzchak Myer Alter (also Rottenburg, Rothenburg or Rothenberg as an alternate for "Alter") (1798 – 10 March 1866), is considered to be the first Rebbe of the Ger Hasidic dynasty, which he founded in the town of Góra Kalwaria (known as "Ger" in Yiddish), Poland. He was also known as the Chidushei HaRim for his Torah books. He is sometimes referred to fondly as Reb Itche Myer by his followers.

Early life

Rabbi Yitzchak Myer was born in Magnuszew, Poland, in late 1798. He came from a very distinguished family of rabbis, among the most prominent in Germany and Poland. He was a descendant of Rashi and of the Tosafist, Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg.

He married Feigele Lipszyc, daughter of Moshe 'Halfon' Lipszyc, in 1811, and settled in Warsaw. They had fourteen children (according to most published sources), most of whom died in infancy.

Rabbi Yitzchak Myer became known as a Talmudic genius. At first he was close to the rebbes of Kozhnitz. After some years he was drawn to the Rebbe, Reb Simcha Bunim of Prshischa, whose close adherent he became. After the demise of the Rebbe, Reb Bunim, Yitzchak Myer became a disciple of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, known as the Kotzker rebbe, who was famous for his acerbic wit and Talmudic brilliance. He was soon followed by a large number of Reb Bunim's followers. Rabbi Yitzchak Myer and he Kotsker eventually became brothers-in-law, when the Kotzker Rebbe married Chaya Lipszyc, sister of Rabbi Yitzchak Meir's wife Feigele.

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir was succeeded as Rebbe by his colleague and disciple, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch of Alexander.

One of his sons, Avraham Mordechai, and three daughters, Cyna Pesia, Leah Hudes and Esther, survived to adulthood and married. By the time of Rabbi Yitzchak Meir's death on 23 Adar 5626 (1866), only one child (Esther) remained alive.

Works

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir is also known for his talmudic commentary, though he wrote on many other areas. Extant published works are:


Rebbes of Ger

  1. Yitzchak Meir Alter (1798-1866)
  2. Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905)
  3. Avraham Mordechai Alter (1866-1948)
  4. Yisrael Alter (1895-1977)
  5. Simcha Bunim Alter (1898-1992)
  6. Pinchas Menachem Alter (1926-1996)
  7. Yaakov Aryeh Alter (b. 1939)

Sources

  • Meir Einei Hagoilo, by Avrohom Yisochor Binyomin Alter and Avrohom Mordechai Alter, (1928)
  • Toldoth Horim, by Itshe Myer Broder of Ger.yi:יצחק מאיר אלטער

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