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P’nei Menachem: Parah

The 16th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Pinchas Menachem (ben Avraham Mordechai) Alter, the Pnei Menachem of Ger (1926-1996). The fifth son of the Imrei Emes, Rav Pinchas was born in the resort town of Palinitz, Poland when his father was 60 years old. Along with his father and other family members, he escaped to Erezt Yisrael during World War II. In 1946, he married his cousin, and two years later, his father passed away. Three of the Imrei Emes’ sons became Rebbe of Ger: Rav Yisrael (the Beis Yisrael, nifter 1977), Rav Simcha Bunim (the Lev Simcha, nifter 1992), and Rav Pinchas Menachem (the Pnei Menachem). However, Rav Pinchas Menachem was Rosh Yeshiva of Sefas Emes of Ger in Yerushalayim from the time he was 30, and was head of Agudas Yisrael after the petria of Rav Yitzchak Meir Levine.


The Talmud teaches that God gives wisdom to those who are wise because the gift of wisdom would be misused if granted to one without an appreciation of wisdom.

Wisdom must “land” in the right place.

This means that we must make ourselves a proper place for wisdom, which demands the Awe of God that is the beginning of wisdom. This is why, immediately after Purim, when we reaccept the Torah, we read the portion of Parah and work to purify our souls into the proper environment to receive the gift of the wisdom of Torah.

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