Gerer Chassidim Uplifted and Inspired by Visit of Rebbe’s Son
The Gerer Chassidim from the New York area remain under the deep impression of the whirlwind visit of Rav Nechemiah Alter, a son of the Gerer Rebbe, shlit”a, who spent the days around Lag Ba’Omer in New York—leaving behind inspiration and spiritual uplift in his wake.
Within the Gerer Chassidus, there is a special connection to the court of the Rebbe, and when a member of the court makes a visit to the community, it brings forth a reverence and a love that is rare to see. This was on display with Rav Nechemia’s visit last week, as he toured mosdos and participated in events connected to the Chassidus, and bolstered programs and initiatives for Torah, shidduchim, and other areas of Yiddishkeit.
Upon arrival in Boro Park, Rav Nechemiah headed straight for the beis hora’ah of the Gerer Rov, Rav Hershel Rottenberg, where they conversed on matters pertaining to the kehillah and its growth.
Shabbos was spent in Monroe in the company of select Chassidim and the Rov, shlit”a.
A beautiful visit was paid by Rav Nechemia on Motzei Shabbos to the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Aharon, shlit”a, in Kiryas Yoel, where divrei Torah and divrei bracha were shared.
This was among other visits paid to Gedolei Yisroel in America, a representative of his illustrious father, including the Viznitzer Rebbe of Monsey, and the Skverer Rebbe, who drew him into a lengthy conversation on a wide range of topics.
While in Skver, Rav Nechemiah was treated to a special tour of the new shul being built there.
Sunday evening, Rav Nechemiah—who has spent years in the field of struggling youth—met with Reb Avi Fischoff, the son of the legendary Reb Yechiel Benzion Fischoff, who is well known for his monumental work in this area, rescuing countless youth from the abyss, along with his brother, Reb Dov, both of whom are patrons of the Gerer mosdos around the world. He then paid a special visit to Reb Shloime Werdiger, chairman of the board of Agudath Israel of America and legendary patron of Ger.
The first official event of the trip was a Lag Ba’omer Hadlakah in Boro Park, where thousands gathered to celebrate the hillula of Rashbi with the leadership of Rav Nechemia. It was a special sight to see the ziknei Anash, the older Chassidim who had merited to be by the Beis Yisroel of Ger, the Lev Simcha, and the Pnei Menachem, and continue to be tethered with heart and soul to the current Rebbe, shlit”a, sitting in the front row, drawing nachas from the proceedings, and observing the younger generations, fathers and young children passing by to give shulem to the Rebbe’s son, and rejoicing together in the joy of Rashbi. During his address, he noted the remarkable growth of the kehillah, and how his illustrious father continues to notice the chashuve yungeleit that he has in America.
The Gerer Beis Medrash on Rechov Yirmiyahu in Yerushalayim is the largest shul in the world and has recently completed yet another renovation and expansion to accommodate tens of thousands of chassidim who regularly pack the shul for important events in the Chassidus. It costs tens of millions of dollars. Another important event on Rav Nechemia’s schedule was an exclusive dinner for donors who would help fund this monumental expense. The dinner was headlined by Rav Nechemia, Rav Hershel Rottenberg, the Rov of the Gerer Chassidim in America, and other Rabbonim and prominent donors.
Lag Ba’omer morning, he davened with the talmidim of three Gerer Yeshivos, following which the bachurim sat down to review a many dafim of Gemara ba’al peh. Later in the day, Rav Nechemiah attended a chanukas habayis in the home of the famed Gerer patron, Reb Yanky Klein.
The Gerer Rebbe’s emphasis on mastery of large parts of Torah is well-known, and the revolution wherein yungeleit and bachurim will regularly be seen reviewing large amounts of Gemara be’al peh has reached American shores. Chedvasa and Chavivin are two tracks of learning—for the working yungeleit and avreichei Kollel, respectively—and 350 working men could be seen every morning, dedicating two hours to this limud. Following the seder, time is allotted to reviewing it ba’al peh, with the goal being for each person to master a masechta be’al peh.
Thus, a unique event took place with the participation of Rav Nechemia—an evening of chizuk for the programs of Chedvasa and Chavivin, following which the yungeleit sat down to review the masechta ba’al peh.
On the following day, he toured yeshiva Imrei Emes, and farhered the children there. From there, he went to tour the nearly-completed building for the cheder.
The Rosh Yeshiva visited with his cousin, Reb Avorhom Mordechai Weitz. While there, thirty bachurim came over to the home and, within two hours, completed the entirety of Masechta Nedorim ba’el peh. He then davened ma’ariv at the new shtiebel Beis Yisroel Duvid.
Rav Nechemiah also presided over a special meeting on the issue of shidduchim within the Chassidus. He related that this was a special mission from his father, the Rebbe, shlit”a, who implored the kehillah to do more for each other in this crucial area.
As he departed the United States for home, Rav Nechemia left behind ample chizuk and inspiration for the Chassidim here to continue in their avodas Hashem with greater energy and strength.