Sunday, June 8, 2008
Imrei Emes Succession
The talk is all over the place. I have yet to see a single Jewish publication that hasn't made a big trask about the 60th Yohrtzeit of the Imrei Emes of Ger, zt"l. I haven't seen the Yated or the Satmar Yiddish papers yet, so you'll have to fill me in on those ones. But all others, The Hamodia, Mishpacha, Kfar Chabad, Sha'ah Tovah, BaKehillah and Algemeiner Journal all have something or other. And rightfully so; rightfully so. There was somewhat of a different angle in the BaKehillah article - although I have yet to see it myself, only heard about it second hand. It's the talk about the succession of the IM - a topic not often discussed.
It seems like the IM had seen enough of the daily living in Poland and decided to make Aliyah. He encouraged Aliyah among his Chassidim - despite what Tzemach and Scotty say - and soon was about to lead by example. He considered it a done deal, so much so that on his last visit (1935, I believe) he kept only one day Yom Tov, KeMinhag Bnei Eretz Yisroel. That's right, he was going to leave the untold thousands of Gerrer Chassidim behind and settle in the Holy Land. Permanently. The ground work for the Gerrer Yishuv had been set in Yerushalayim some 9 years earlier with the establishment of the Gerrer Yeshivah "Sefas Emes." Upon his visit to the Holy Land in 1935 another Yeshivah was established in Tel Aviv for those living there not wanting to travel all the way to the Holy City. So the only thing that remained was what to do with the thousands who would remain without a leader. The answer: Harav Reb Moshe Betzalel, hy"D. He would lead the flock.
You may think this is crazy talk, and that never would this happen. Gerrers deny this vehemently, as if there was something wrong with it. One Gerrer told me "RMB was a Temimusdiker, an erlicher, but not a Rebbe." Meaning, that the IM would never leave the Hanhogoh in his hands. Well, let's just see. There's a very well known Tzavo'oh of the IM that calls for his son the BY to succeed him. That same note originally names RMB as successor, but makes mention of the שערוריות, the upheavals if you will, and that RMB was no longer with us, having died AK"H at Treblinka. The common perception was that RMB was to succeed him upon his passing, but the article seems to say that he was meant to take over in '35, when the IM was about to leave for Palestine. RMB was of the opinion that he was somewhat to "blame" for the Rebbe not leaving Poland, and that he needed a "tikun" for his "aveiroh."