Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gerrer Rebbe

"Most interesting is the response of R. Avrohom Mordechai Alter, the Gerrer rebbe. The rebbe did not reply at first to R' Schwab's question, but R. Schwab had the opportunity to meet him personally and asked him the question directly. The rebbe then responded by saying:

כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵלֶיךָ שָׂרָה שְׁמַע בְּקֹלָהּ

R Schwab was understandably perplexed by the rebbe's response until the gabbi clarified matters for him by pointing out that שָׂרָה is an acronym for Shamshon Raphael Hirsch."

Rav Breuer, His Life and Legacy, Kranzler & Landesman, p. 185, footnote 12.


  1. The story is told somewhat differently in Dayan Grunfeld's "Three Generations," where it's recorded that when R' Schwab visited the Imrei Emes and asked why the latter didn't respond to his question, he was told something along the lines of "Of course it is assur to go to college; however, I could not write anything to denigrate R' Hirsch. He was a living mussar sefer, and one must give him kavod." If memory serves, Dayan Grunfeld records the exact yiddish quotation in a footnote. I'm not sure where this version of the story comes from. I reached out to R' Landesman zt"l about this, but never heard back.

  2. I heard even a third comment from the conversation. Maybe they all happened.

    Even if this one didn't happen, I think the suggestion from the posuk speaks for itself.