A Short Biography:

The Sfas Emes, Rebbe Yehudah Leib Alter, (1847-1905), was the 2nd Gerrer Rebbe and the grandson of the Chiddushei HaRim. (See his biography in Parshas Vayakhel.) He orphaned at the age of one year and therefore raised by his grandfather. He was a prodigy at a very young age and studied without interuption for 18 hours at a time. When he was only nineteen, his grandfather, the Chiddushei HaRim passed away and pressure was put on Reb Yehudah Leib to become the new leader. He felt unworthy however, and instead went to Alexander giving his alliegence to Rebbe Chanoch Henoch. After only four years, Rebbe Chanoch Henoch passed away, and then Reb Yehudah Leib was left with no choice but to comply with the wishes of the Chassidim to become the leader of Ger. Until his guidance, Ger became the largest Chassidic group in Poland. The Sfas Emes, named after his magnum opus, was a supporter of building up the chassidic community in Eretz Yisrael, and greatly supported activities to that end. His son, the Emrei Emes, escaped the Nazis, came to Eretz Yisrael and rebuilt Ger, restoring it to it's former glory.