Rav Yisrael Salanter and the first Ger Rebbe

Rav Yisrael Lipkin of Salant said “that perfecting one character trait is more difficult than learning all of Shas (the entire Talmud)”.

It is known that often Rav Yisrael would attend shiurm given by the Chidushei HaRim, Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter, who was the first Ger Rebbe.  The Chidushei HaRim was known for finishing all of Shas every month, in depth.  It is also know that he spent seven years working on the middah of having an Eyin Tovah (seeing the good in others).  Parhaps the Chidushei HaRim’s avodah was what prompted Rav Yisrael to make the above statement?

4 thoughts on “Rav Yisrael Salanter and the first Ger Rebbe

  1. L

    ‘It is known that often R. Yisrael would attend shiurim given by the Chidushei HaRim, Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter, who was the first Ger Rebbe.’

    I don’t recall hearing this before? Are you sure of it? Can you provide source(s)?

    I know that R. Yisroel spent time in Lithuania, Germany, and France, but don’t recall same re Congress Poland. And enough so to attend frequently too?

    My initial reaction is skepticism. It is known that sometimes ‘gedolim stories’ get mixed up and names are confused.

    Can you please elaborate?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. Neil

    Thanks for taking time to read/comment. Me’oras HaGedolim (in English as “Spark of Mussar” sites an episode when R Yisrael attended a shiur by the first Ger Rebbe and the Rebbe was impressed with the questions asked by the “Lithuanian”. When the shiur was finished the Chadushai Ha Rim went to find R Yisrael, but he had already left the room. I believe that R Hillel Goldberg’s “Between Berlin and Slabodka” also brings down an encounter.
    It’s probable that that lives of both Gedolim did cross at some point. I think that the quote from R Yisrael is interesting based on, as I wrote, what we know of the Chidushei HaRim.

  3. L

    Thanks for the response. I will try to look further into it, b”n, though it might be hard finding without page number(s).

    Anyway, from what you mentioned, it seems that it was more like an isolated occurrence than a frequent one. If any interaction was rare or isolated, then I would assume that correspondingly, the is a lower likelihood of significant direct influence, rising from such.

    Also, you state that “The Chidushei HaRim was known for finishing all of Shas every month, in depth.”

    Now if daf yomi learners finish it in app. 7 1/2 years, to finish it in one year, would require learning app. 7.5 blatt/day. Finishing it every month would require app. 90 blatt/day. And it is claimed that it was done ‘in depth’ too? Some of these claims are hard to believe, even if we are talking about great people. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and the Rebbe had to lead his followers as well. Or perhaps over the years the details got messed up. Another thing to ponder is the meaning of ‘in depth’.

  4. Neil

    Re: Shas in a month. This was based on something said over by R Moshe Weinberger (Woodmere, NY) on a tape.

    The details could have been lost or changed over the years (just try playing “telephone” with someone), but we can see that
    a) for some, work on middos might be harder than finishing Shas
    b) the importance emphasis on not just learning Torah, but working on oneself.

    Again, thanks.


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