Eulogy for the Sefat Emet

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (“Sefat Emet“) (1847-1905) is commemorated on the 5th of Shvat. The following lamentation on his passing appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

A Father To Israel

Is there anyone who does not know of it?

For a prince and a great one has fallen in Israel; the lion among his pride.

When the lion, “Aryeh“, roared, who did not fear? Whose heart did not feel anxious? And who did not shake?

The sages z’l said that when the tribes found what they sought, they trembled in great terror, but for us who have not found or gained but only lost, how much the more so!

Stated simply, in these our days he is gone; has come into eternity.

At this time of his passing, around thirty thousand men of B’nai Yisrael are situated in the far-away battlefield of the Eastern Front, young soldiers and reservists who¬† have left behind, in their houses, widows and orphans.

Now that he is gone, who will undertake their causes, who will care for them and pray for them? As was well known to all who were with him when alive, in the life of our master, our teacher ztzvkl of Ger, all know that he never, for a single day, forgot them and, the holy words of his prayers for them did not cease.

Alas! A crown of Israel has fallen!

And because of the evil which profanes the sanctity at the present time in the camp of Israel, distortions of justice and bending of justice have undeniably arisen as well as the teachers of Torah who are not strictly observant!

He is gone, has come into eternity. The tzaddik has been gathered in.

And because our master, our teacher, ztzvk’l took it to heart, worried day and night for Am Yisrael, so, he has been gathered in, the Tzaddik, foundation of the world, the central pillar, who was a father to Israel.

(In Memory of Tzaddikim, which is the bitter lamenting of Avraham Yitzchak Jovas)

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