The Pnei Menachem of Ger zt”l, On His Yahrtzeit, Today, 16 Adar


pnei-menachemRav Pinchas Menachem Alter zt”l, also known as the Pnei Menachem after the works he authored, was the sixth Rebbe of Ger, a position he held from 1992 until his untimely petirah in 1996. Rav Pinchas Menachem was born in Falenits, near Warsaw, Poland. He was the only offspring of the second marriage of his father, Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter, the third Rebbe of Ger, to Rebbetzin Feyge Mintshe Biderman. Rav Pinchas Menachem had four half-brothers and two half-sisters from his father’s first marriage – including the fourth Rebbe of Ger, Rav Yisroel Alter, and Rav Simcha Bunim Alter, the fifth Rebbe of Ger.

pnei-menachem-3Rav Pinchas Menachem’s bar mitzvah took place near Ludmir (now Ukraine) not long before the outbreak of World War II in 1939. After the war, he married his cousin, Tzipora Alter. In the 1950s, he was appointed rosh yeshiva of Sefas Emes, the flagship yeshiva of Ger in Yerushalayim.

Rav Pinchas Menachem succeeded his half-brother, Rav Simcha Bunim Alter, to become Rebbe in 1992. His position as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Sefas Emes was assumed by his son, Rav Shaul Alter.

pnei-menachem-4During his tenure, Rav Pinchas Menachem continued the policies of his half-brothers, Rav Simcha Bunim and Rav Yisrael. He headed the Agudas Yisroel party in Eretz Yisroel and later joined with Rav Elazar Shach zt”l, head of the Degel HaTorah party, to create the United Torah Judaism-Yahadus HaTorah party in order not to lose residual votes in the Israeli proportional representation system and thereby potentially obtain an extra seat for the newly united party in Knesset pnei-menachem-5elections.

Rav Pinchas Menachem was niftar in 1996 after less than four years at the helm of the Ger dynasty. He was buried beside his father, Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter, in the courtyard of the Sefas Emes Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. A brick ohel in the shape of a house was built over the two kevorim.

He was succeeded as Rebbe by his nephew, Rav Yaakov Aryeh Alter, son of Rav Simcha Bunim Alter.

pnei-menachem-6Yehi zichro boruch.

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  1. Mamish Cahval al D’Avdin…. The Pnei Menachem’s ability to speak with every person on their own level and to their understanding was his G-dly gift. While I was in his Yeshiva (during his tenure as Rosh Yeshiva) we regularly witnessed the greatest Tzaddikim of the generation come visit with him in his apartment on top of the Yeshiva and just an hour later meeting with Prime Ministers, cabinet ministers and even foreign government officials. I was blessed to have the unique merit to assist the Rosh Yeshiva in some mundane tasks (cavaet: i wasn’t a big learner) and his unique way of conveying appreciation and thanks for simple tasks always blew me away. I was (and am) a nobody but he made me feel like a million bucks every day. He is terribly missed. Yehi Zichro Boruch!!