Pekudei: Chiddushi HaRim: Lasting Forever
The 23rd of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Meir (ben Yisrael) Alter of Ger (Chidushei HaRim) (1799-1866). The founder of Gerer dynasty, grandfather of Sfas Emes, Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293).
His mother, Chaya Sarah, was orphaned early in life and was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Maggid. The Maggid had a great influence on Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years.
As he grew, he became a disciple of Rebbi Simcha Bunem of Pryschicha and then R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. At the insistence of the Chassidim, the Rim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chassidic gathering over which he presided he declared, “Reb Simchah Bunem led with love, and R’ Menachem Mendel with fear. I will lead with Torah!”
He had 13 children and outlived them all, a tremendous personal tragedy. Yet, he accepted it all with love.
“These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle of Testimony.” The Midrash teaches that Moshe asked God, “What shall I do with the extra materials, gold, silver, and precious stones?” The Holy One, Blessed is He, responded, “Use them to make a “Tabernacle of Testimony.”
God’s response means that Moshe should honor everything that was contributed as a Testimony that when one does something with a “generous heart,” it lasts forever as part of the Mishkan.