Part 2

Karlin Hasidism

A. R. Aharon the Great (1765 - 1772)

  1. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 463 ff., Tel Aviv 1932.  <back>
  2. R. Rafael Hacohen, later Rav in Hamburg, was one of the greatest Talmudists of his time and author of numerous rabbinic works; see: S. M. Rabinowitsch, 'Al Pinsk, Karlin ve-Yoshveihen', Talpiyoth, Pt. Kehilloth Yaakov, p. 8 ff., Berdichev 1895, and other sources.  <back>
  3. Salomon Maimons Lebensgeschichte, pp. 188, 198, 201 ff. Munich 1911. The above-mentioned book, Magid Devarav le-Yaakov (Lublin 1927 and many other printings) is the original source for the teaching of the Great Maggid <back>
  4. A. E. Shapiro, Mishnath Hakkamim, p. 39, Jerusalem 1934.  <back>
  5. Y. M. Kleinbaum, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, p. 25, Petrokov 1928. Karlin, which was later incorporated in Pinsk, gained its communal independence and kept it almost until the Nazi Holocaust. Cf., Rabinowitsch, 'Al Pinsk, Karlin ve-Yoshveihen,' p.15; R. Mahler, Toledoth ha-Yehudim, be-Polin, p. 394, Merhavyah 1946; Toyzend Yor Pinsk, ed. Hofman, p. 56 ff., New York 1941. Hasidic tradition relates, that R. Aharon the Great had an uncle in Karlin, R. Manele, who also found his way to the Great Maggid, and that it was this uncle that influenced R. Aharon to go to Mezerich. M. H. Kleinman, Zikhron la-Rishonim, p. 28, Petrokov 1912; A. Eizen, 'R. Aharon ha-Gadol,' Ha-Modia (daily paper, 6.X.1954, Jerusalem; Y. Yaskov, Ha-Maggid mi-Mezerich, pp. 62-64, 143-144, Benei Berak 1972.  <back>
  6. It is possible that the young Hasidic preacher described by Salomon Maimon (Lebensgeschichtc, p. 205, note) might be R. Aharon, despite the difference between the age of the preacher, as conjectured by Maimon (22), and that of R. Aharon who was then about 30. See below the comments added by R. Aharon to the pinkas of Maimon's birthplace, Nesvizh. R. Aharon continued to be referred to as 'the admonisher' for more than a hundred years after his death. See Had min Havraya, 'Hithgalluth ha-Yenuka be-Stolin,' Ha-Shahar, Vol. VI, p. 31, Vienna 1875.  <back>
  7. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim,' published by Dubnow, Chassidiana, supplement to He-Avar, Vol. II, pp. 22, 23, 25, Petrograd 1918.  <back>
  8. Salomon Maimon, op. cit., p. 188  <back>
  9. 'Chassidim appelés aussi Carolins en Lithuania, du nom d'un village nommeé Carolin non loin de Pinsko, ou la sect a pris naissance;' cited by Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, Vol. XI, p. 557, Lepzig 1900. In connection with the rise of Karlin Hasidism, mention should be made of the words spoken, according to hasidic tradition, by the Karlin Rebbe, R. Yisrael of Stolin, before his death in 1921: “Our hasidism is one hundred and sixty years old.' According to this statement, Karlin hasidism came into being in the early sixties of the eighteenth century. A. Hausman, Divrei Aharon, p. 119, Jerusalem 1964.  <back>
  10. In my search for these writings I was aided by the teacher David-Tsevi Bakhlinski and his assistant Shuchman, both of whom apparently died martyrs' deaths in the Nazi Holocaust. The archives of the Karlin Tsaddikim were housed in the cellar of the old Rebbe's residence (the 'court') in Stolin – this is the Stolin genizah. They comprised correspondence of the Karlin Tsaddikim and of the Tsaddikim of other dynasties; public appeals; pinkasim; a pledge of loyalty (shetar hithkashruth) signed in 1575 in Safed by disciples of R. Yitshak Luria and R. Hayyim Vital; a manuscript of Sefer ha-Tsoref, written by the Shabbatean, R. Yehosua-Heshel Tsoref, and other writings. Cf., W. Z. Rabinowitsch, 'Min ha-Genizah ha-Stolinaith,' Zion 5th year, pp. 125-132, 244-247, Jerusalem 1910; Idem, 'Al “Sefer ha-Tsoref,”' Zion, 6th year, pp. 80-84, Jerusalem 1941; and below, the last paragraph of this monograph.   <back>
  11. R. Aharon's postscripts are published in part by Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 478. Cf., also: Benzion Dinur, Be=Mifneh ha-Doroth, pp. 144-146, Jerusalem 155; L. Halpern, 'Yahaso shel R. Aharon ha-Gadol mi-Karlin klappei Mishtar ha-Kehilloth,' Zion, 22nd year, p. 86 ff., Jerusalem 1957.  <back>
  12. Siah ha-Sadeh, Shklov 1787; Reiah ha-Sadeh, Shklov 1795. R. Eliezer, son of R. Meir Halevi, was formerly Av Beth-Din in Homsk (a small town near Pinsk) and afterwards 'Rav of the synagogue and Moreh-Tsedek of the holy community of Pinsk.' See: A. Yaari, 'Ha-Defus ha-Ivri bi-Shklov,' Kiryath Sefer, Vol. XXII, p. 63, Jerusalem 1945.  <back>
  13. The letter is published by Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 477 and by Kleinbaum, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, p. 21.  <back>
  14. M. Teitelbaum, Ha-Rav mi-Ladi u-Miflegeth Habad, Pt. I, p. 23, n. 2, Warsaw 1910; H. M. Hellman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. I, p. 8, n. 4 and p. 125, Berdichev 1903.  <back>
  15. H. Lieberman, 'Hearoth Bibliografiyoth,' Sefer ha-Yovel le-Alexander Marx, p. 15 ff., New York 1943.  <back>
  16. Cf. infr. Similarly we find o historical data in hasidic literature on the relations between R. Aharon and R. Tsevi, son of the Besht, who lived in Pinsk and died and was buried there.   <back>
  17. See above the letter of the Great Maggid of Mezerich to the Pinsk Moreh-Tsedek R. Eliezer Halevi.
    Nadav, in his study Toledoth Kehillath Pinsk 1506 – 1880 (Pinsk, Vol, I, Pt. I., pp. 187-193, edited by W. Z. Rabinowitsch, Tel Aviv 1973), holds that R. Eliezer, the son of R. Meir Halevi – whom the Great Maggid of Mezerich, R. Baer, requests in his letter 'to live together in peace and to work in partnership and harmony with our distinguished and renowned friend, R. Aharon… Why, then, should you turn away [from him]?... Set aside evil thoughts, that there be no schism between you' – was, at the time when this letter was written, not one of the mithnagdim but, on the contrary, closely connected with Hasidism in Pinsk and with the Great Maggid of Mezerich and a friend of R. Aharon and R. Shelomo of Karlin.
    With regard to the problem of the date of the penetration of hasidism into Lithuania, v. Tishby's view: 'Ha-Rayon ha-Meshihi ve-ha-Megammoth ha-Meshihiyoth bi-Tsemihath ha-Hasiduth, Zion, 32nd year, p. 23, Jerusalem 1967; and cf., ibid. (pp. 16-24) on R. Shemuel the son of R. Eliezer of Kalvariya and his book Darkhei Noam.   <back>
  18. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim', published by Dubnow, op. cit., pp. 24, 25; Heilman, op. cit., p. 85.  <back>
  19. Heilman, op. cit., p. 85.  <back>
  20. There is a legend among hasidim that in the Shklov debate the hasidim were represented by R. Aharon the Great, but there is no historical substantiation for this. On the name 'Talk hasidim' see: D. T. Hilman, Iggeroth Baal ha-Tanya, p. 156 ff., Jerusalem 1953; Heilman, op. cit., Pt. I, p. 8, n. 1.   <back>
  21. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim, in Dubnow, op. cit., p. 25.  <back>
  22. Ibid.  <back>
  23. Ibid., p. 21, 22.  <back>
  24. Ibid., p. 11 ff. and p. 26.  <back>
  25. Ibid., p. 14; Maimons Lebensgeschichte, p. 203. The Tsaddik R. Aharon the Second of Karlin (the grandson of R. Aharon the Great) used to relate the following hasidic tradition: 'My revered Grandfather... used to set on the table in front of his holy teacher [sc. R. Baer] twelve haloth [round loaves] at every meal of the holy Sabbath' (Beth Aharon, by R. Aharon of Karlin, p. 289, Brody 1875).  <back>
  26. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim,' ibid., pp. 10, 24, 25 ff.; Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 113, n. 4.  <back>
  27. See above the account by Maimon of pilgrimages to the Tsaddik <back>
  28. Cf. W. Z. Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism, Chap. 3, p. 121-149, London 1970.  <back>
  29. 'ZemirAritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim, ibid., p. 11 ff.  <back>
  30. Ibid., p. 12 ff., 21 ff.  <back>
  31. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 114.  <back>
  32. M. H. Kleinman, Maskeret Shem Ha-Gedolim, p. 7, Petrokov 1908; Kehal Hasidim, pp. 53, 54 (no place and date of publication).  <back>
  33. Tsavaah mi-Kethoveth Yad Kodesh... R. Ahara"... mi-Karlin... ve-Hanhagoth... mi-Beno... R. Asher... mi-Karlin, Chernov;ts, 1849, 1855; Beth Aharon, pp. 1, 11, 15-16, 293.   <back>
  34. On the legends concerning R. Aharon's religious feeling see: Heilman, op. cit., p. 127; M. H. Kleinman, Zikhron la-Rishonim, pp. 22-45, Petrokov 1912; Mazkereth Shem ha-Gedolim, pp. 6--13; Kehal Hasidim he-Hadash passim, Lemberg 1904; [M. Bodek] , Seder ha-Doroth mi-Talmidei ha-Besht, p. 35 (no place and date of publication).   <back>
  35. Beth Aharon, p. 1.  <back>
  36. Op. cit., p. 293.  <back>
  37. Ibid.  <back>
  38. Op. cit., p. 1.  <back>
  39. Ibid.  <back>
  40. Op. cit., p. 11. The 'Zemer' was subsequently included among the Sabbath songs in several siddurim [prayer-books], such as the following: Beth Yaakov, compiled by R. Yaakov Emden, p. 318, Warsaw 1881; the collection of Sabbath songs, Shelosha Sefarim Niftahim… ed. By Y. A. L. Oppenheim… p. 60, Petrokov 1910; the Koidanov siddur, Or ha-Yashar, Vilna 1928; cf. W. Z. Rabinowitsch, ibid., chap. 4, n. 32; the siddur Zemiroth le-Shabbathoth ve-Yamim Tovim, published by A. B., Jerusalem 1947.  <back>
  41. Entsiklopediyah Yisraelith (Eshkol), Vol. I, s.v. Aharon Ben Yaakov mi-Karlin, Berlin 1929; A. Ben- Ezra., Ha-'Yenuka' mi-Stolin, New York 1951; Horodets, edited by A. Ben-Ezra and Y. Zusman, p. 52, New York 1949; M. S. Geshuri, 'Niggunei Karlin u-Stolin,' Stalin, Sefer Zikkaron, edited by A. Avatlhi and Y. Zakai, p. 167, Tel Aviv 1952.  <back>
  42. Kleinman, Zikkron la-Rishonim, p. 28.  <back>
  43. Shivhei ha-Besht, edited by Horodezki, p. 38, Berlin 1922.  <back>
  44. Besides the works listed in n.34, hasidic literature contains many other stories about R. Aharon the Great. There is reason to suspect that the hasidim were not particularly careful in their handing down of the details and mixed up words spoken by R. Aharon the Great with those spoken by one of his descendants, especially by his grandson, R Aharon the Second.
    As regards the vidduy [confession] printed in Beth Aharon (pp. 12-15) as the personal confession of R Aharon the Great, it has already been proved by Y. Tishby that this is merely a copy of an original composed by the author of the book Hemdath. Yamin. Tishby rightly maintains that R, Aharon the Great copied the confession out into his own siddur, and that the hasidim mistakenly thought that he was the author of it (Tarbits, Year 15, p. 175, note, Jerusalem 1944). This mistaken assumption is implied in the introductory remarks to the confession in Beth Aharon: 'Copied letter for letter from the wording of the confession in his holy siddur' (Beth Aharon, p. 12).   <back>
  45. These sayings about melancholy and joyfulness are of Yiddish origin. Kleinman, Zikhron la-Rishonim, p. 13.  <back>
  46. These sayings about melancholy, bitterness, and joyfulness are also attributed, verbatim, to the Tsaddik R. Hanokh of Alexander. A. Z. Eshkoli, 'Ha-Hasiduth be-Polin,' in the book Beth Yisrael be-Polin, pt. II, p. 129, ed. L. Halpern, Jerusalem 1953.   <back>
  47. This idea is also attributed to the Tsaddik R. Mordekhei of Lakhovich. M. H. Kleinman, Or Yesharim, p. 30, Petrokov 1924.  <back>
  48. This may be an allusion to the persecutions R. Aharon experienced at the hands of the mithnagdim. The fact that he had prepared his will at the age of 36 perhaps indicates that his death was not a sudden one. Or perhaps it is to be explained by the belief that a man should face every day as his last.  <back>
  49. Beth Aharon, p. 15. Up to destruction of the Pinsk community (1941-1942) these words could be read on the gravestone of R. Aharon in the Karlin cemetery.  <back>

B. R. Shelomo of Karlin (1772 - 1792)

  1. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim', Dubnow, op. cit., p. 21 ff.  <back>
  2. Op. cit., pp. 12, 23.  <back>
  3. Graetz, op. cit., Vol. XXI, p. 557  <back>
  4. J. Hessen, Istoriya Yevreyskoo Naroda v Rossii, Vol. I, p. 54, Leningrad 1925.  <back>
  5. Hessen, op. cit., p. 49 f.  <back>
  6. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim', op. cit., p. 23.  <back>
  7. Cf., the Pinsk and Slutsk herem, published by E. T. Zweifel, Shalom al Yisrael, Pt. II, pp. 41, 42, Zhitomir 1869.  <back>
  8. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim,' op. cit., pp. 21, 22.  <back>
  9. Kleinman, Mazkereth Shem ha-Gedolim, p. 63; W. Z. Rabinowitsch, 'Min ha-Genizah ha-Stolinaith,' Zion, 5th year, p. 244; Kleinman, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, p. 1, note and p. 58.  <back>
  10. Kleinman, op. cit., Pt. II, passim.  <back>
  11. [Bodek], Seder ha-Doroth mi-Talmidei ha-Besht, p. 37; Valden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Hadash, Maarekheth Sefarim, p. 69; s.v.: Reiah ha-Sadeh, Warsaw 1874. Cf., supr.  <back>
  12. There is a Hasidic story that, before R. Shelomo became a disciple of the Great Maggid, R. Aharon said to the Maggid: 'I have a young man in Karlin, named Shelomo, who, when he recites the Psalms on Yom Kippur after the Kol Nidrei, leaves no holy spark in Poland, Lithuania and White Russia which he does not bring before the throne of glory.' (Kleinbaum, op. cit., Pt. II, p. 3).  <back>
  13. V. supr., n. 28.  <back>
  14. Maimon, op. cit., p. 210.  <back>
  15. 'Zemir Aritsim'… etc., op. cit., pp. 12, 26; Shever Posheim and Zimrath Am ha-Arets, cited by Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 369, 447.
    Dubnow discussed the authorship of these collections of polemical writings: Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 412-417; Sefer Shimon Dubnow, 'Mikhtevei Dubnow el Pinhas Torberg', ed. S. Rawidowicz, pp. 353-361, London 1954. An attempt to decide this question is made by A. Rubinstein, 'Shever Posheim le-R. David mi-Makov – Zoth Torath ha-Kanauth le-R. Yehezkel mi-Radzimin', Kiryath Sefer, Vol. XXXV, pp. 240-249, Jerusalem 1960; Idem, 'Ha-Kuntres “Zimrath Am ha-Arets”, bi-Kethav-Yad,' Aresheth, ed. N. Ben-Menahem and Y. Rafael, Vol. III, p. 193 ff., Jerusalem 1961. Cf.: Wilensky, M., Hasidim u-Mithnagdim, passim, Jerusalem 1970.  <back>
  16. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 133 ff.; Hilman, Iggeroth Baal ha-Tanya, p. 95.  <back>
  17. Peri ha-Arets, by R. Mendel of Vitebsk, at the end of the volume, Kopys 1814.  <back>
  18. Heilman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. I, p. 128.  <back>
  19. Idem, ibid.  <back>
  20. Rabinowitsch, 'Min ha-Genizah ha-Stolinaith,' Zion, 5th year, p. 244; Hilman, op. cit., pp. 32, 107, 177. Cf. infr., the comment on this letter.  <back>
  21. Zweifel, op. cit., Pt. II, pp. 37, 38: The wording of the Grodno herem <back>
  22. [Bodek,] op. cit., p. 66-68.  <back>
  23. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 193 ff.; Horodezki, Ha-Hasiduth ve-he-Hasidim, Vol. II, p. 71 and others.  <back>
  24. Regarding the time when R. Levi-Yitshak was driven out of Pinsk we have the following reports: From the approval given by R. Levi-Yitshak to the book Erkhei ha-Kinnuyi", on Lagba-Omer 1775 -- which he signed 'here in the holy community of Zhelikhov' -- and from his approval to the book Meir Nathiv, dated the 4th Elul, 1776 -- \which he signed 'Rav of the holy community of Pinsk' -- it may be deduced that R. Levi-Yitshak came to Pinsk between the above two dates (H. Lieberman, Hearoth. Bibligrafiyoth, Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume, p. 15, New York 1943).
    Among my late father's papers there is a letter from S. Dubnow, in which it is mentioned that my father saw in Pinsk a pinkas containing the signature of R. Levi-Yitshak in his capacity as the Av Beth-Din of Pinsk and dated the 8th Heshvan [=6th November], 1780. But in the writings of the mithnagdim, R. Levi-Yitshak is referred to, even in later years -- the end of 1781 and in 1784 -- as 'the man of Zhelikhov,' especially by the Rav of Brest-Litovsk, R. Avraham Katsenellenbogen (Dubnow, 'Kithvei,' Devir, Vol. I, pp. 304-305, No.6, Berlin 1923; Dubnow, Toledoth ha- Hasiduth, p. 152, n. 3).
    In the Stolin genizah there was a legal decision signed by R. Levi-Yitshak of Berdichev from the year 1780, in the matter of a dispute between two Jews of Petrikov (a small town not far from Pinsk). Although we do not know in what capacity R. Levi-Yitshak signed this judgment, it may be presumed that he gave his verdict as the Av Beth-Din of Pinsk and its district, which is the title that appears at the head of his approval of R. Meir Margalioth's books, Meir Nethivim (Polonnoye 1791) and Sod Yakhin u-Boaz (Ostrog 1794).
    The evidence of the approvals and other documents quoted here, to the effect that R. Levi-Yitshak held the office of Rav in Zhelikhov before he became Rav of Pinsk, is confirmed by the order of the titles given him in hasidic literature. Thus, for example, the Tsaddik R. Yaakov-Yitshak of Lantsut writes: 'I head from the Rav of Pinsk (long may he live!), who was formerly Rav in the holy community of Zhelikhov' (quoted by Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 216, n. 1).
    R. Yosef Levinstein, in his letter to Dubnow dated the 1st Av, 1895, mentions the rabbinical offices held by R. Levi-Yitshak of Berdichev in the same order, Zhelikhov-Pinsk-Berdichev (Wilensky, 'Hearoth la-Pulmusim bein ha-Hasidim ve-ha-Mithnagdim,' Tarbits, Vol. XXX, p. 402, Jerusalem 1961; Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism, Chap. 3, n. 11).  <back>
  25. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 141 ff., 146; idem, 'Kithvei Hithnagduth al Kath ha-Hasidim,' Devir, Vol. I, p. 297 ff., Berlin 1923.  <back>
  26. Zweifel, op. cit., Pt. II, p. 37; Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 147, 148.  <back>
  27. Dubnow, 'Kithvei Hithnagduth,' op. cit., pp. 304, 305; Zweifel, op. cit., p. 41. There are differences in the wording and the signatures between the version given by Dubnow – which is cited here – and that given by Zweifel. But in both these versions the signature of the Pinsk Av Beth-Din is missing.  <back>
  28. Zweifel, op. cit., p. 41.  <back>
  29. 'Zemir Aritsim ve-Harvoth Tsurim,' op. cit., p. 25; 'And they decided to disperse the minyan of the Karlin hasidim [in Vilna, Passover 1772],' V. supr.   <back>
  30. In the Russian government archives and in R. Avigdor of Pinsk's denunciation of the hasidim. V. infr.   <back>
  31. Heilman, Beth Rabbi, Pr. II, p. 128, n. 2. This account is attributed to a descendant of R. Shneur Zalman, S. Y. Levin, Sippurei Hasidim, Kerekh Moadim, p. 158, Tel Aviv 1957.  <back>
  32. Cited by Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 157, n. 1.  <back>
  33. Dubnow, op. cit., p. 479. The chronology of his career as Rav and the various places in which he held his office are listed by H. Lieberman, 'Hearoth Bibliografiyoth', Sefer ha-Yovel le-Alexander Marx, p. 15 ff.  <back>
  34. Dubnow, Kithvei Hithnagduth, op. cit., p. 293.  <back>
  35. Teachings attributed to R Shelomo of Karlin and legends about him were collected and published by Y. M. Kleinbaum in his book Shema Shelomo (two parts), Petrokov 1928. However, this apocryphal work cannot be regarded as original source-material. The first part contains hanhagoth [rules for good conduct] and hasidic teachings attributed to R. Shelomo of Karlin, most of them from the volume Beth Aharon by R Aharon of Karlin. The second part contains hasidic writings and traditional lore. Here and there in these legendary tales an echo of certain historical events can be heard. The sayings and stories about R. Shelomo quoted in this chapter have been taken from the books Beth Aharon by R. Aharon of Karlin, and Imrei Kadosh ha-Sloalem, attributed to R. Uri of Strelisk, and also from the book Shema Shlomo.   <back>

C. The Second Ascendancy of Karlin Hasidism (1792 - 1794)

  1. Heilman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. I, pp.8, 9; and other writers.  <back>
  2. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 84 ff., St. Petersburg 1910. On 'the lease of the Rabbinate of Pinsk in Lithuania… for ten years and also [the giving of] a loan to the community of 400 chervontsy without interest for the duration of that period,' see Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 276.  <back>
  3. Hessen is of the opinion that the deposition of R. Avigdor from the office of Rav occurred in 1794 – 1795; Hessen, Yevreyi v Rossiyi, p. 151, n., St. Petersburg 1906.
    In Dobrovich – i.e., Dombrovitsi – which is mentioned by R. Avigdor in his appeal to the Russian government as having refused him entry, there was a shulken [prayer-house] of Karlin Hasidim, built in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya, Vol. VII, s.v.: Dombrovitsi.  <back>
  4. Beth Aharon by R. Aharon of Karlin, p. 27; Kleinbaum, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, p. 42. On descendants of R. Shelomo of Karlin, see: Valden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Hadash, p. 104, s.v. Moshe... of... Lodmir; L. Grossman, Shem u-Sheerith, p. 69, 90, Tel Aviv 1943; S. N. Gottlieb, Oholei Shem, p, 264, Pinsk 1912; A. Hausman, Divrei Aharon, p. 252, Jerusalem 1962, and Birkath Aharon, p. 11, .Jerusalem 1970; Toledoth Anshei Shem, Pt. I, ed. A. Z. Rand, p. 18, s.v. Uri-Aharon Gottlieb and Moshe Gottlieb, New York 1950.  <back>
  5. Kleinbaum, op. cit., Pt. II, pp. 26, 30. V. infr.  <back>
  6. Kleinbaum, op. cit., Pt. II, pp. 26, 42.  <back>
  7. V. infr.  <back>
  8. Pinkas Medinath Lita, ed. Dubnow, p. 18, Berlin 1952.  <back>
  9. [Bodek], Seder ha-Doroth mi-Talmidei ha-Besht, pp. 66-68.  <back>
  10. Kleinman, Mazkereth Shem ha-Gedolim, pp. 134-142; [Y. Berger], Eser Tsahtsahoth, pp. 76--63, Petrokov 1910; Imrei Kadosh ha-Shalem... Uri ha-Saraf mi- Strelisk, collected by... B. Z. Shenblum, Lvov (no date of publication).   <back>
  11. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 223, 224, n. 457; Zweifel, op. cit., Pt. , p. 48; Rabinowitsch, op. cit., p. 151.  <back>

D. Struggle and Victory (1794 - 1801)

  1. For details of the part played by the communities of White Russia, in co-operation with those of Lithuania, in the struggle against Hasidism in the nineties of the eighteenth century, see Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 220.  <back>
  2. Hessen, Yevreyi v Rossiyi, p. 157 ff.  <back>
  3. Akty Izdavayemyye Vilenskoyu Kommissiyeyu dla Razbora Drevnikh Aktov, Vol. XXXIX, no. 244, Vilna 1902.  <back>
  4. Dubnow, 'Kithvei Hithnagduth,' op. cit., p. 302, Letter No. 4, of the Vilna community.  <back>
  5. On the provincial kahal, see Dubnow, 'Kithvei Hithnagduth,' op. cit., p. 301; Idem, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 161.  <back>
  6. Dubnow, 'Kithvei Hithnagduth,' op. cit., pp. 299-302, Letter No. 3.  <back>
  7. Hessen, Istoriya Yevreyskogo Naroda v Rossiyi, Vol. I, p. 106, Leningrad 1925.  <back>
  8. For the report 'on the sect of the Karliners' sent by the Governor of the Lithuanian province to the Attorney-General, see Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 257 ff.  <back>
  9. Heilman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. II, p. 54, n. 1, and the sources quoted in the following note.  <back>
  10. Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya, Vol. XIV, p. 570, s.v.: Stolinskiye Tsaddiki; W. Z. Rabinowitsch, 19 Kislev ve-Hey Hanukkah,' Haolam, 26th year, No. 13, Jerusalem 1937; I. Tishby, Tsevi Herman Shapira – ke-Sofer ha-Haskalah, Molad, Vol. IV, p. 575, n. 95, Jerusalem 1972.  <back>
  11. A. Friedkin, A. B. Gottlober un Sayn Epokhe, p. 75. See also: Yizkor-Bukh fun Rakishok un Umgegend, p. 59, Johannesburg 1952; Y. Lifschits, Zikhron Yaakov, Pt. I, p. 15, Kovno-Slobodka 1924. In the course of time the reason for the festival was forgotten. Thus, for example, in the year 1932 the last Rebbe of Karlin, R. Elimelekh, in my presence asked his aged caretaker, who knew every detail of the customs followed by the Karlin Tsaddikim, to explain the rejoicing of 'the fifth light,' and though the caretaker had witnessed this celebration for the past seventy years, he was unable to give an answer. Moreover, the Tsaddik R. Yohanan of Karlin denied the historicity of the connection, though he had heard about it: Hausman, Divrei Aharon, p. 207.  <back>
  12. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 273, document 21.  <back>
  13. Hessen, Istoriya Yevreyskogo Naroda v Rossiyi, Vol. I, p. 109; cf. M. Teitelbaum, Ha-Rav mi-Ladi, p. 87. The struggle in the Vilna community has been critically investigated by Yisrael Klausner, Vilna bi-Tekufath ha-Gaon, pp. 20-45, Jerusalem 1942. In May, 1798, the Hasidim in the small town of Vidz, to the north of Vilna, led by their shohet [ritual slaughterer], submitted to the authorities a written denunciation against the Vilna kahal (Klausner, op. cit., p. 31). This incident shows that in north-western Lithuania there were small towns in which Hasidim had established itself. The denunciation greatly enraged R. Shneur-Zalman. In one of his letters he writes: 'The Vidz denunciation literally made me shudder' (Hilman, Iggeroth Baal ha-Tanya, p. 207), because its authors were almost certainly Habad hasidim.  <back>
  14. Y. Brafman, Kniga Kahala, quoted by Dubnow in the monthly Voskhod, 1892, No. 11, p. 7. A note that I found in the pinkas of the Pinsk Hevrah Kaddisha [burial society] states that the society's previous pinkas was burnt in the great fire of 1799. Apparently the town pinkas was also burnt at the same time, and thus was lost material of the first importance for our knowledge of the sectarian struggle of those days. See: S. M. Rabinowitsch, 'Al Pinsk, Karlin ve-Yoshveihen,' op. cit., p. 13.  <back>
  15. At the time, the bitterness of the dispute led to the use of physical violence by both sides. R. Yisrael-Leibel writes in his Sefer ha-Vikkuah: 'As they did… to the great Rav of the holy community of Volpe – they stripped off his clothes and forced him to enter the town stark naked.' (Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 258.) It should be noted that in Karlin there was a synagogue called 'The Volpe synagogue.' 'The Rav of Volpe' is also mentioned by S. M. Rabinowitsch (op. cit., p. 15). Moreover, people in Karlin used to relate that the Hasidim there hounded the 'Rav from Volpe.' It may be that Karlin was also the scene of the attacks on the Rav of Volpe mentioned by R. Yisrael-Leibel in his Sefer ha-Vikkuah <back>
  16. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 278; Shivhei ha-Rav R. Shneur-Zalman, published by Druker, p. 13, Lemberg (no year of publication).  <back>
  17. Hessen, Yevreyi v Rossiyi, p. 170 ff.  <back>
  18. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, pp. 253-261; and Documents 9, 10, 11-13, 24.  <back>
  19. Hassen, Yevreyi v Rossiyi, pp. 176-180.   <back>
  20. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 271, Document 20.  <back>
  21. Hellman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. I, p. 34, n. 2 and p. 68; Teitelbaum, Ha-Rav mi-Ladi, p. 23, n. 3; Shivhei ha-Rav, pp. 3, 12 et al.; N. Israelit, 'Mishpahath Israelit,' Pinkas Kletsk, p. 51, Tel Aviv 1959.  <back>
  22. Entsiklopediyah Yisraelith, Vol. I, s.v.: Avigdor ben Yosef-Hayyim, Berlin 1929. From a letter written by one of the Hasidim to the son of R. Shneur-Zalman in 1806, in which the writer violently abuses R. Avigdor, we may conclude that R. Avigdor was still alive in that year. The source of the letter – H. A. Bikhovski, Ginzei Nistaroth, Or Rav, p. 7, Jerusalem 1924 – is known not to be entirely reliable. The writer Zalman Shneur has included an imaginative literary reconstruction of the personalities of the Vilna Gaon and R. Shneur-Zalman, and of R. Avigdor's denunciation, in his story Ha-Gaon ve-hav-Rav, Tel Aviv 1958.  <back>
  23. Dubnow, Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. III, p. 266, Document 15.  <back>
  24. Dubnow, op. cit., p. 273, Document 21.  <back>
  25. Hessen, Istoriya Yevreyskogo Naroda v Rossiyi, Pt. I, p. 111, n. 19.  <back>
  26. Friedkin, Gottlober un Sayn Epokhe, p. 75, V. supr.  <back>
  27. P. S. Marek, 'Vnutrenyaya Borba v Yevreystve v XVIII Veke,' Yevreyskaya Starina, Vol. XII, p. 163, Leningrad 1928. On the existence of a Karlin and Lakhovich minyan at that time in Vilna, see Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth., p. 223; Klausner, op. cit., p. 24 ff. On the hasidim in Vidz see above, n. 108. Even after the Russian government in St. Petersburg had released R. Shneur-Zalman from prison, the mithnagdim in Vilna still continued their fight against the hasidim and went on applying the name 'Karliner' to any and every hasid. Thus, in the regulation of 'the beth midrash of the pious Gaon, Rabbenu Eliyahu,' of the 24th Adar, 1801, we find it explicitly stated that 'great care shall be taken to ensure that, among the above-mentioned students in the beth. midrash, there shall not be a single one of the new sect of the so-called Karliners' (quoted by S. Y. Fuen, Kiryah Neemana, p. 275, Vilna 1860). The same attitude to the hasidim as prevailed in 'the beth midrash of the Gaon' in Vilna was also found at this time in the talmudic study groups in the small towns, which were controlled by the mithnagdim. In the pinkas of 'the holy circle for the study ofTalmud and Mishnah'' in the small town of Radoshkovich (close to Minsk), the original manuscript of which is in the National Library in Jerusalem (4' 636), there is a resolution of the 26th Tishri, 1800, prohibiting the admission of hasidim to this group. (I. Halpern, 'Havuroth la-Torah. ve-la-Mitsvoth ve-ha-Tenuah ha-Hasidith be-Hithpashtuthah,' Zion, 22nd year, pp. 194-213, Jerusalem 1957). Instructively characteristic is the gradual change for the better reflected by the pinkas of this group in the attitude to the hasidim in the first years of the nineteenth century. Up to 1804 we still find the resolution of 1800 in full force. But already in 1805 the resolution is no longer quoted in full, but is simply included in 'the minutes made in the above pinkas of decisions taken up to this day.' The same formula appears in the regulations for 1806 and 1807. However, in 1808 this resolution was completely annulled, since 'at this time the majority of the community is unable to conform to this resolution and it may lead to unseemly conduct and violent quarrels.' The majority of the community evidently by now contained so many hasidim that it was no longer possible to keep them out of the study circle.   <back>

E. Rabbi Asher the First (1793 - 1826)

  1. Tsavvaah mi-Kethoveth Yad Morenu... R. Aharon [ha-Gadol] mi-Karlin... ve-Hanhagoth Yesharoth... mi-Beno R. Asher, Chernovits 1849, 1855; Beth Aharon... R. Aharon... mi-Karlin u-Miltha... Morenu Asher umi-Pi... R. Aharon ha-Gadol... mi-Karlin. Gammeeth Beno... R. Asher... mi-Stolin, Brody 1875. Here the Hanhagoth Yesharoth [Guides to Good Conduct] (pp. 2, 3) of R. Asher the First are printed with slight textual alterations, as also his Azharoth. [Exhortations] (pp. 3-5), Derashoth [Sermons] (pp. 17-41), Letters (pp. 293, 297, 315) and Dibburim Nehmadim [Delightful Sayings] reported in his name (pp. 285-287). Since Beth Aharon also contains the Sermons and Letters of R. Aharon the Second, the book actually comprises the whole spiritual legacy of the Karlin dynasty. A. Hausman, in his books Divrei Aharon, pp. 5-20 (Jerusalem 1962) and Birkath Aharon, pp. 17-50 (Jerusalem 1970), cites 'Sayings' which the Karlin hasidim attribute to R. Asher the First and used to relate in his name. Cf., n. 161.  <back>
  2. Kleinman, Mazkereth Shem ha-Gedolim, p. 108. The grave of R. Mordekhai of Lakhovich is in Stolin: Divrei Shalom by R. Shalom of Koidanov, p. 14, Vilna 1882.  <back>
  3. Parts of the two documents are quoted in the original in Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 481-483. Beth Aharon (p. 297) contains a small excerpt from the letter to R Yisrael of Kozhenits, and also the Proclamation (p. 315), printed with slight textual alterations and mistakenly attributed to R. Aharon the Second.  <back>
  4. V. supr. R. Barukh of Zhelikhov, who is mentioned in this letter, is elsewhere described as a disciple of R. Asher; Hausman, Divrei Aharon, p. 17; on pp. 6 and 17, R. Shalom of Horodok is named as a disciple of R. Asher. V. also Hausman, Birkhath Aharon, p. 54.   <back>
  5. V. supr.   <back>
  6. Heilman, Beth Rabbi, Pt. 1, p. 83 ff. Compare this letter of R. Asher's with the letter from R. Avraham of Kalisk to R. Shneur-Zalman. A. Y. Braver, 'AI ha-Mahloketh bein R. Shneur-Zalman mi-Ladi ve-R. Avraham Hacohen mi-Kalisk,' Kiryath, Sefer, Vol. 1, p. 144 ff., Jerusalem 1924. The bitterness between the Lithuania Tsaddikim and R. Shneur-Zalman goes back to the time of R. Shelomo of Karlin. It continued right down to the first quarter of the nineteenth century, as can be seen from the fact that, in his Proclamation On Behalf of Erets YisraeI, dated 1821, R. Noah, the son of R. Mordekhai of Lakhovich, specifically mentions R. Shelomo of Karlin, R. Barukh of Mezhibozh and his father R. Mordekhai, 'who were in the habit of supporting the poor of Erets YisraeI,' while ignoring the activities of R. Shneur-Zalman in the same cause. V. supr., and W. Z. Rabinowitsch, op. cit., ibid.   <back>
  7. Cf., infr., The Proclamation of R. Asher On Behalf of Erets Yisrael <back>
  8. Braver, op. cit., ibid.  <back>
  9. Cf. supr., the postscripts made by R. Aharon the Great in the Nesvizh pinkas <back>
  10. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, pp. 335-338.  <back>
  11. In other sources, however, it is stated that R. Avraham of Kalisk's emissary, R. Meir of Bykhov, appointed R. Mordekhai of Lakhovich as head of the fund-collectors on behalf of Erets Yisrael. A. Yaari, Sheluhei Erets Yisrael, p. 625, Jerusalem 1951; Hilman, Iggeroth Baal ha-Tanya, pp. 177, 182.  <back>
  12. Yaari, op. cit., p. 624.  <back>
  13. Dubnow, Toledoth ha-Hasiduth, p. 337.  <back>
  14. W. Z. Rabinowitsch, 'Min ha-Genizah ha-Stolinaith', Zion, 5th year, p. 244; cf. supr.  <back>
  15. Beth Aharon, by R. Aharon of Karlin, p. 294.  <back>
  16. Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism, p. 156.  <back>
  17. Beth Aharon, p. 2; Shapiro, Mishnath Hakhamim, p. 39.  <back>

F. R. Aharon the Second (1826 - 1872)

  1. Shapiro, op. cit., p. 39. The family name of the Karlin dynasty – Perlov – is derived from 'Perl,' the name of R. Aharon the Great's mother.  <back>
  2. Beth Aharon, Brody 1875. The volume contains the following works by R. Aharon the Second: 'Daily Conduct and Exhortations' (pp. 6-10), Sermons of the Weekly Portion of the Law and for Festivals (pp. 42-285, 'Collected Sayings' (pp. 287-290, Words of Inspiration and Encouragement 'written down as uttered by his holy mouth,' in Yiddish (pp. 290-291), Letters to his son and his followers (pp. 297-312, 316), 'Words of Our Teachers,' in Yiddish (p. 313). In Divrei Aharon (pp. 21-80), Hausman published twenty-four letters from R. Aharon the Second to his followers. Written chiefly for the various Festivals, these letters reflect R. Aharon's opinions on such questions as change of dress, and the like. Hausman's book contains various 'Sayings' attributed by the Hasidim to R. Aharon the Second, and also corrections and additions to the volume Beth Aharon 'from old manuscripts which were written down before the holy book Beth Aharon was published in the year 1875' (p. 60). See also his book Birkath Aharon, pp. 79-127. Cf. infr. n. 161.  <back>
  3. Toyzend Yor Pinsk, ed. Hofman, p. 267 ff., Had min Havraya, 'Hithgalluth ha-Yenuka bi-Stolin,' Hashahar, Vol. VI, p. 33 ff., Vienna 1875; the Rabbi from P. [i.e., Pinsk] referred to by the author of this article was, at that time, R. Elazar-Moshe Hurwitz, of whom Perets Smolenskin writes in such glowing terms: Mossessohn, 'Masa be-Russia,' Hashahar, Vol. VI, p. 357.  <back>
  4. Y. L. Gordon, Olam ke-Minhago, the second story -- Aharith Simhah Tugah, Vilna 1873. In contrast to Gordon's description of the lack of respect shown to R. Aharon by the Prussian authorities, there is the evidence of one of the Karlin elders, R. Mordekhai Kerman, himself a mithnaged and maskil, who \vas an eye-witness of R. Aharon's expulsion. In describing this event, he related that, when the Pinsk Minister of Police summoned R. Aharon to his office, he sent a special coach to fetch him, but R. Aharon refused to travel in it, for fear that there might be a shaatnez [a forbidden mixture of wool and linen] in the upholstery. R. Mordekhai Kerman further relates that, when R. Aharon refused to desecrate the Festival -- it was the day of Hoshana Rabbah – by writing, he was not compelled to sign an undertaking to leave the town. Y. L. Gordon's story is quoted by the writer H. Chemerinski in his memoirs Ayarathi Motele, p. 176, Tel Aviv 1951.
    The expulsion of R. Aharon the Second from Karlin is also mentioned in hasidic literature: Meoroth ha-Gedolim, ed. by R. Aharon Tseilingold, Pt. Ill, pp. 30, 34, Bilgoray (no date of publication).
    About his story Aharith Simhah Tugah, Gordon writes as follows in one of his letters to his pupil Aharon Lourié of Pinsk (Y. L. Gordon, Iggeroth, Vol. I, pp. 121, 185, Warsaw 1895): 'Let me know how your revered grandmother, Hayyah, is… I have several stories ready for publication… among them one called Aharith Simhah Tugah. The heroes of this story, which is based on actual events in the life of the Hasidim… are your revered grandmother… and father. I have, of course, been careful not to mention their names, but all those who know them will recognize them, for they are a 'seed blessed of the Lord.' When you read my story, you will easily recognize the identity of the nasty people referred to.' See also Gordon, Iggeroth, Vol. I, p. 95, Letter of 1864; cf., W. Z. Rabinowitsch, The 'Rothschilds' of Pinsk and Karlin, Pt. I of this Volume, English Section, p. 81, Tel Aviv, 1973.
    In an article, 'Gad-Asher Levin' (no author's name), in the Pinsker Stot Luah, 1904, p. 4l, note, Vilna 1903-1904, we find the following: 'Hayyah Lourié was, in her day, a well-known character... All her life, she actively opposed the hasidim and carried on a personal feud with theTsaddik, R. Aharon of Karlin.' On R. Shaul Karliner see: A. Lourié, 'Di Tsauoe fun a Pinsker Baal-Bayith fun Onheyb 19ten Yorhundert,' YIVO Bleter, Vol XIII, pp. 390-428, Vilna 1938, and Toyzend Yor Pinsk, p. 87, note, where the broadsheet, 'Ein Onshin Ela Mazhirin' ['No Punishment, but a Warning'] -- v. infr. -- is also quoted. This broadsheet was originally published by Y. Gottlieb, Pinsker Wort, No. 75. I have not actually seen this article. Excerpts from reminiscences about R. Aharon the Second and his time can be found in Mordekhai Kerman's memoirs Meine Zikhreines (Hundert Yor Pinsk), published as stencil, without place or year of duplication.  <back>
  5. Beth Aharon, P. 316.  <back>
  6. R. Aharon's letter, which was written after the purchase of the prayer-house belonging to R. Mendl of Vitebsk (according to a hasidic source, after the Passover Festival of 1872) was published with slight alterations, by Shapiro in Mishnath Hakhamim, p. 40; Cf., Hausman, Divrei Aharon, p. 74.  <back>
  7. Grossman, Shem u-Sheerith, p. 89; Kleinbaum, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, p. 26. The immigration of R. Avraham of Karlin and his companions to Palestine was evidently regarded as an event of considerable moment: it was mentioned – as Hilman points out – (Iggeroth Baal ha-Tanya, p. 145, n. 9) – thirty years later by Avigdor of Pinsk, in one of the documents submitted by him to the Russian government in St. Petersburg.  <back>
  8. Yaari, Sheluhei Erets Yisrael, p. 788, cf., the letter quoted above from R. Asher to R. Yisrael of Kozhenits, in which the name of R. Moshe-Dov is mentioned. This R. Moshe-Dov was the son of R. Aharon 'the silent' of Zhelikhov. (Grossman, Sheerith u-Sheerith, pp. 13, 20, supplement to Shem u-Sheerith, no place or year of publication. According to Hasidic tradition it was R. Moshe-Dov that originally instituted the Karlin minyanim in the Holy Land. Together with the signature of R. Moshe-Dov on the letter from the Jews of Tiberias, we also find the signature of the Naftali Tsevi of the holy city of Tiberias, who is mentioned by R. Aharon the Second in the letter quoted above on behalf of the emissary from Palestine.   <back>
  9. Yaari, Sheluhei Erets Yisrael, pp. 779, 780, 786, 798; see Ben-Ezra, Rabbi Avraham Eisenstein, Drochichin, ed. D. B. Warsnowski, p. 118 ff., Chicago 1958.   <back>
  10. Yaari, op. cit., p. 769.   <back>
  11. R. Yisrael's letter from Sadagora is dated -- another piece of information that I owe to the late David-Tsevi, Bakhlinski -- Rosh Hodesh Teveth, 1852. However, this is evidently an error, since R. Yisrael of Ruzhin died on the 3rd Heshvan, 1850. These three letters were handed down from father to son and are now in the possession of the Rebbe R. Yitshak-Meir Heshel, the son of the Tsaddik R. Yisrael of Mezhibozh, the son-in-law of Miryam, daughter of R. Aharon the Second of Karlin. They are published here by his kind permission. The following are the sources used for the other genealogical details: Y. Alfasi, Sefer ha-Admorim, pp. 12, 26, Tel Aviv 1961; Grossman, Shem u-Sheerith, pp. 37, 40-41, 61-63; Hausman, Divrei Aharon, pp. 247-249, and Birkath Aharon, pp. 66, 126; Horodezki, op. cit., Pt. III, pp. 120, 122-123, 153, n. 20; Y. Levinstein, Dor va-Dor ve-Dorshav, p. 102, Warsaw, no date of publication; A. D. Tverski, Sefer hai?????? Chernobyl mex Ruzhin, pp 70, 120, 177-189, Lublin, 1938.   <back>
  12. From the 'talk' of the Karlin Hasidim: Once, after a session at the 'table', R. Aharon the Second saw one of his followers pick up a page of notes that he had dropped. On being informed, in answer to his question, that this particular hasid was in the habit of writing down his 'words on the Torah,' so that they could be published in a book, R. Aharon asked him: 'Are you making sure that my Hasidim have a good soporific?' Similar storied are told of R. Mendel of Kotsk.  <back>
  13. Beth Aharon, p. 6.  <back>
  14. As has already been remarked, the exact authorship of each of the sections of Beth Aharon is uncertain. In Mishnath Hakhamim by R. Avraham-Elimelekh Shapiro (Jerusalem 1934), there is a collection of 'Words of our Rabbis' from the ms. of the Karlin Tsaddikim. In the introduction to this volume we read: 'I received the ms. as a gift... from my revered father-in-law... our Teacher and Rabbi, R. Yerahmiel-Moshe... of Kozhenits, who grew up and was educated in Stolin in the household... of R. Aharon... the author of Beth Aharon... In the ms. it is written that most of the articles are... by our Teacher R. Aharon the Great... and also some by... our Teacher:, R. Aharon [the Second]… the author of Beth Aharon
    But there is no indication which these "some" are.' R. Shapiro's book comprises explanatory comments on Biblical verses and rabbinical sayings, together with hasidic material similar in content and spirit to that found in Beth Aharon. At the end of the book, the author prints a story about R. Aharon the Great from the time when he was living in the house of his teacher in Mezerich, together with two letters from R. Aharon the Second to his followers in Palestine, and chronological details with an important bearing on the history of the Karlin Tsaddikim.
    Yeshayahu Tishby published the satirical anti-hasidic work of Tsevi Herman Shapira, Massekheth Hasidim – Tract on the Hasidim ('Tsevi Herman Shapira – ke-Sofer ha-Haskalah', Molad, Vol. IV, No. 23, pp. 556-579 and No. 24, pp. 696-712, Tel Aviv 1972.) After thorough analysis and discussion, Tishby expresses the opinion that R. Aharon the Second of Karlin served as Shapira's model of Tsaddik as portrayed in the 'tract', and that many qualities attributed by Shapira to the Tsaddik were those of R. Aharon.   <back>

G. Ha-Yenuka [The Child] (1873 - 1921)

  1. Beth Aharon, Brody 1875. R. Asher the Second is the author of the following material printed in this volume: 'Daily Conduct' (p. 10), and 'Sayings' quoted in his name (pp. 161, 198, 289, 314). In Divrei Aharon (pp. 81-88), Hausman published several letters from and to R. Asher the Second in which there are some historical details. See also the same author in his book Birkath Aharon, pp. 121)-136.   <back>
  2. In order to perpetuate the names of their Tsaddikim, the Karlin hasidim used to call their children 'Aharon' or 'Asher.'  <back>
  3. Had min Havraya, 'Hithgalluth ha-Yenuka bi-Stolin,' Ha-Shahar, Vol. VI, pp. 25-44. The author of this satire was the writer and maskil Yahalal [Yehudah-Leib Levin], as he himself states in his book, Zikkaron ba-Sefer, p. 45, Zhitomir, 1910.  <back>
  4. A. Ben-Ezra, Ha-'Yenuka' mi-Stolin, p. 16, New York 1951.  <back>
  5. Ben-Ezra, op. cit., p. 11. R. Yisrael kept composers of songs in his court. The best known of these was R. Yaakov of Telekhan (a small town close to Pinsk) whose melodies attained such popularity in hasidic circles that they were sung for two generations by the Hasidim of Karlin, Lekhovich, and Koidanov. The next best known composer of Karlin melodies was R. Yossele Talner. A second addition of Beth Aharon was published in R. Yisrael's time (Petrokov 1914). It is identical with the first edition (Brody 1875).   <back>
  6. The text printed here is that of a copy of the two testaments which belonged to a Stolin hasid in Pinsk closely associated with R. Yisrael of Stolin. Both the testaments were published by Ben-Ezra, op. cit., pp. 19-24. There are slight differences in the third edition of Beth Aharon, p. 314 (Brooklyn 1952), and also in the fourth edition, p. 315 (Jerusalem 1965).  <back>
  7. R. Yisrael's cool attitude to the Zionist movement is illustrated by the following story, which was told me by Dr. Moshe Lutski the curator of Hebrew mss. in the library of Columbia University, New York, originally from the small town of Kozhan-Horodok (not far from Pinsk). As a young man, Dr. Lutski asked R. Yisrael's advice about where he should go to study Torah. R. Yisrael replied: 'If you want to study hasidism, go to one of the Lubavich yeshivoth; and if you want to go to a mithnaged yeshivah, go to the yeshivah of Hafets Hayyim in Radin. But if you go to Radin, don't stop in Lida' (a hint that he should not enter the well-known yeshivah of Rabbi Reines, the founder of the 'Mizrahi' party). As against this, amongst the 'holy writings' found in the Stolin genizah there were deeds of sale relating to houses bought by R. Israel in the Holy Land; and he also used to send a special emissary to collect funds for the 'Karlin kolel' in Palestine (Ben-Ezra, op. cit., p. 24, n. 20).  <back>
  8. The collection of letters of the Karlin Tsaddikim published by Hausman in his works Divrei Aharon (Jerusalem 1964) and Birkath Aharon (Jerusalem 1970), constitute a valuable supplement to the book of Karlin hasidism, Beth Aharon (v. supr., nn. 123, 141, 154, and infr., n. 172). Hausman's volume contains (pp. 89-124) thirty-six letters from the Tsaddik R. Yisrael and sayings attributed to him. This material reflects the close personal relations existing between R. Yisrael and his followers, as well as his concern for the welfare of the Karlin hasidim in Palestine -- in Jerusalem, Safed, Haifa, and above all in Tiberias -- and for the prayer-house of F. Mendel of Vitebsk, which the Karlin hasidim had purchased in the time of R. Aharon the Second (v. supr.). R. Yisrael's letters are thoroughly hasidic in spirit, with special stress being laid on the importance of the study of the Talmud. He opposed the establishment of a Jewish school of a different type from the traditional heder; and he writes with pride of the values of Judaism. He is also reported to have expressed his opposition to the Zionist movement. ' To this large collection of letters Hausman has appended a painstakingly complete and almost legalistically precise list of Karlin hasidic customs (Divrei Aharon, pp. 210-240), and also a genealogical table of the Karlin Tsaddikim and the ramifications of their families (op. cit., pp. 242-253), based on a critical study of the sources. For details of the life of R. Yisrael of Stolin and a description of how he lives on in the memory and imagination of his followers and their descendants, see: Stolin, Sefer Zikkaron, ed. A. Avatihi and Y. Ben-Zakai, the section Hasidism, Tel Aviv 1952; and the pamphlet Or Zarua, by the same editors, Tel Aviv 1952.  <back>

H. The Final Tragedy and the Present Situation (1921 - 1974)

  1. Y. Benjamini, 'Hilluf Mishmaroth be-Hatsar ha-Rebbe,' Stolin, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 176.  <back>
  2. S. Shalom, 'Dodi Reb Ahare!e', Shirim, p. 349, Tel Aviv 1949; H. Zeidman, 'R. Aharon Perlou be-Geto Varshah,' Stolin, SeIer Zikkaron, p. 209; Y. Ben Zakai, 'Ha-Kether she-Nuppats,' Or Zarua, ed. A. Avatihi and Y. Ben-Zakai, p. 45; Dr. S. Shazakh, 'Simhath R. Aharele,' in Hatsofeh (daily paper), Tel Avi, 14.10.1951; Y. Feingold, 'Gi!gulo she! Niggun' in Davar (daily paper), Tel Aviv, 28.12.1945 -- the writer gives the date of R. Aharon's death: 25.7.1942. M. Unger, Ha-Admorim she-Nispu ba-Shoah, pp. 206-209, Jerusalem 1969.  <back>
  3. In a private communication.  <back>
  4. M. Kopelovich, 'Ha-Yeshivah,' Stolin, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 88.  <back>
  5. B. Kempinski-Lieberman, 'Yamav ha-Aharonim she! ha-Rebbe Moshele Perlov,' Stolin, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 226. Further research is required into the opinion that R. Moshe of Stolin was in Pinsk during the Nazi occupation (see Boneh, Pinsk, Vol. II, p. 332).  <back>
  6. Kempinski-Lieberman, ibid. M. Unger, Ha-Admorim she-Nispu ba-Shoah, pp. 206-209.  <back>
  7. I have myself witnessed these hasidic celebrations.  <back>
  8. M. Bunim, 'Aharon ha-Admorim be-Karlin,' Stolin, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 227; A. Shakh, 'Yeshivath Beth Yisrael,' Yizkor Kehilloth Luninyets-Kozhan-Horodok, edited by Y. Zeevi and others, p. 45, Tel Aviv, 1952; Y. Kule, 'A Hasidisher Shabbes in Luninyets,' Yizkor Kehilloth Luninyets-Kozhan-Horodok, p. 152.   <back>
  9. Feivel Ginzburg of Pinsk, now of Ramat Gan, in a letter in his own name and that of Nathan-Note Weiner of Vladimirets (Volhynia), also now in Ramat Gan.   <back>
  10. A. Dolinko, Kakh Nehervu Kehilloth Pinsk ve-Karlin, pp. 73, 83, 84, stencil Tel Aviv (no date of duplication); B. Ben-Porath, 'Ha-Admor mi-Karlin,' in Hatsofeh (daily paper), Tel Aviv, 22.6.1945. Reminiscences and legends about the Tsaddikim of the Karlin-Stolin Dynasty have been published in the above-mentioned memorial volume, Or Zarua. M. Unger, Ha-Admorim she-Nispu ba-Shoah, pp. 9-11.   <back>
  11. R. Yohanan of Karlin was survived in the U.S.A. by a grandson, Barukh-Yaakov-Meir, his daughter's child, who was born just a year before R. Yohanan's death. Karlin hasidism once again passed through the same crisis as it had known eighty years previously, when the Tsaddik R. Asher the Second had died, leaving no other heir than Ha-Yanuka.—'The Child' (v. supr.). Only this time the situation was even worse; for meanwhile the movement's center in Stolin had been destroyed and there was now nothing but the Tsaddik's personality to hold together the surviving remnants of the Karlin hasidim who were scattered about in the U.S.A. and Israel. In contrast to the first crisis, when the overwhelming majority of the Karlin hasidim decided to continue their loyal support of the Karlin dynasty, there was this time a split in their ranks. Some of them, particularly the older generation, who felt that they could not live without a Rebbe and did not want to wait until the young heir grew to manhood, installed as their Rebbe, on 15th Av, 1962, the Tsaddik of the Lelov dynasty, R. Moshe-Mordekhai Biedermann. This R. Moshe-Mordekhai, who like his forefathers was close to Karlin hasidism, now received the title of 'Tsaddik of Lelov-Karlin hasidim.'
    Below is the text of the declaration made by the hasidim at R. Moshe-Mordekhai's investiture: 'With God's help and on behalf of the Karlin hasidim in the holy city of Jerusalem and all the cities of our Holy Land and the Diaspora, we hereby undertake to regard you as our Master, Teacher and Rebbe -- our divinely appointed leader. We trust that you will guide the holy congregation in the way of the holy forefathers of the Karlin-Stolin dynasty. We pray to Him that dwells on high that we may all be granted to advance, together with our Rebbe, to meet our righteous Messiah.'
    However, a large section of the Hasidim -- consisting mainly of the younger generation, but including also some older men -- considered that the installation of the Lelov Rebbe meant the end of the Karlin dynasty and its role in history. They strongly opposed the investiture of a 'foreign' Tsaddik as their Rebbe and swore allegiance to 'The Child.' Even individual families were rent by this dissension, with the grandfather, for example, joining the supporters of the Lelov Tsaddik, while the son and grandson remained loyal to 'The Child.' The Jerusalem prayer-houses were also divided by the schism. The Lelov-Karlin hasidim prayed in the old prayer-house of the Karlin hasidim. But the building of the large Yeshivah Beth Aharon ve-Yisrael, in Jerusalem, which was the main center of the Karlin hasidim, became the stronghold of the loyal supporters of 'The Child.' These were joined by the Karlin hasidim in the U.S.A.
    The future of Karlin Hasidism -- from which the whole of Lithuanian hasidism sprung -- will be decided by history. (See the following Hebrew newspapers: Maariv, 16.8.1962; Haarets, 19.8.1962 and 3.2.1964; Heruth, 18.2.1963 and 1.3.1963; Yedioth Aharonoth, 14.8.1964.)
    In his work Divrei Aharon (v. supr., n. 161), A. Hausman published sixty letters from R. Elimelekh (pp. 125-186), and thirty-two from R. Yohanan (pp. 187-208), which provide first-hand evidence for the opinions of these two Karlin Tsaddikim. Most of R. Elimelekh's letters were written to his followers in Jerusalem for the various Festivals. He encourages them 'to be strong in joyfulness and not to pay too much regard to "Frumkeit,”… for the way of hasidism is to be always joyful and this is the quality that delivers a man from everything evil. Whereas, through excessive “Frumkeit,” we may fall (Heaven forbid!) into melancholy, which was greatly abhorred by our holy forefathers... Let us band together... in unity and affection, to implant in Jewish hearts love and pious awe, and to pluck out the irreligion that has spread like a plague... Everyone must guard against dissension... for you have all bound yourselves to me… although by my deeds I am unworthy of this.'
    Most of R. Yohanan's letters -- nearly all of them dated only by the Portion of the Week -- were written while he was in the United States to students in the Karlin yeshivah in Jerusalem. Like his brother, R. Elimelekh, he too stresses the principles which were characteristic of hasidism as a whole, and particularly of its Karlin branch: '... To live in unity and brotherhood, to raise oneself up above the darkness... to exalt the Torah. and hasidism... to study constantly... and to do everything with enthusiasm, as we have always desired...' Particularly interesting is the pledge of allegiance from the 15th Shevat, 1948, entitled Ahavath ve-Ahduth Haverim ['Love and Brotherhood of Fellow-Members'], which is signed by twenty Karlin hasidim and proclaims their allegiance to their Rebbe, R Yohanan, and to each other.
    Also in his book Birkath Aharon, Hausman quotes written statements of sons of the Tsaddik R Yisrael of Stolin, and oral remarks attributed to them.   <back>

The Libeshei Dynasty

  1. Gottlieb, Oholei Shem, p. 103; Grossman, Shem u-Sheerith, pp. 31, 51; Tsinovets, 'Le-Toledoth ha-Rabbanuth be-Kobrin,' Sefer Kobrir, pp. 26, 27. -- lnformation provided personally by the last Libeshei Rebbe, R. Yitshak-Aharon about the dates of the Tsaddikim of the dynasty. Gottlieb, the author of Oholei Shem, was a native of Pinsk and closely acquainted with the Tsaddikim of the dynasty in Polesia. His book is therefore to be regarded as a reliable source of information. The description of the tragic martyr's death of R. Yitshak-Aharon, the last of the Libeshei dynasty of Tsaddikim, given below is taken from the article by D. Epstein, 'Ha-Yehudi ha-Yehidi' ['The Only Jew'], Yalkut Moresheth, No. 2, pp. 10--11, Tel Aviv 1975. The date mentioned there -- 9th Av, July 2nd 1942 -- contains a double error. The Nazi massacre of Jews in Libeshei took place in 1941, as stated several times by Epstein himself later in the same article. In 1941, the 9th Av fell on August 2nd, whereas the author has mistakenly written July 2nd. I too was told by the writer of the memoirs that the Tsaddik R. Yitshak-Aharon was murdered by the Nazis on Tishah be-Av [9th Av]. I do not recall that my informant mentioned the civil date. The day of the week – Sunday -- stated by the writer also suits the corrected date given above. In that year – 1941 --Tishah be-Av fell on the Sabbath (Saturday) and was postponed to Sunday.   <back>
  2. Grossman, op. cit., p. 51.  <back>
  3. Gottlieb, op. cit., ibid.; Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 526, s.v.: Kobrin.  <back>
  4. Chemerinski, Ayarathi Motele, p. 67 ff., Tel Aviv 1951; Cf., Y. Z. Vilenski, 'Zikhronoth,' SeIer Kobrin, p. 283. Even in a small town in Polesia like Motele we find a 'mixed population' -- mithnagdim, Koblin hasidim (like the father of H. Chemerinski, the writer), Libehei hasidim and Stolin hasidim (like the maternal grandfather of the first President of Israel, Dr. Chaim Weizmann). H. Weizmann-Lichtenstein, Be-Tsel Korathenu, p. 34, Tel Aviv 1948.  <back>
  5. Gottlieb, op. cit., ibid., and statements by the descendants of the dynasty.  <back>
  6. Vilenski, op. cit., ibid. The author mistakenly wrote 'R. Asher' for 'R. Avraham-Abba.'  <back>
  7. Gottlieb, op. cit., ibid. Eliezer-Lippa Klepfisch was later a member of the Rabbinate in Brest-Litovsk: Brisk de-Lita, Entsiklopediyah shel Galuyoth, ed. A. Steinman, p. 342, Jerusalem 1954.   <back>
  8. Gottlieb, op. cit., ibid. Eliezer-Lippa Klepfisch was later a member of the Rabbinate in Brest-Litovsk: Brisk de-Lita, Entsiklopediyah shel Galuyoth, ed. A. Steinman, p. 342, Jerusalem 1954.   <back>
  9. A. Shisha, Ha-Darom (journal), Nos. 5-6, p. 178, New York 1958; A. L. Frumkin, Toledoth Hakhmei Yerushalayim, additions... by A. Rivlin, Pt III, Supplements, p. 57, n., Jerusalem 1929.  <back>
  10. A. Yaari, Skelukei Erets Yisrael, pp. 769, 777. Amongst the kolelim that existed in Palestine in the last quarter of the 19th century was also a 'Libeskei kolel' (Otsar Yisrael, ed. Y. D. Eisenstein, Vol. N, p. 286, S.v.; Halukkah, London 1935).   <back>

The Horodok Dynasty

  1. Kleinbaum, Shema Shelomo, Pt. II, n. 21.  <back>
  2. Zikhron Tov by R. Yitshak of Neskhizh, published by Y. Landa, p. 94, Petrokov 1892. R. Shemuel was the founder of an independent hasidic dynasty which was forgotten even in hasidic circles. His successor as Rebbe in Koshivka was his son, R. Mikhal, followed in 1892 by his grandson, R. Shemuel (Zikhron Tov, p. 94).   <back>
  3. Beth Aharon, by R. Aharon of Karlin, p. 294. In this letter 'my son Aharon, long may he live!' is R. Aharon the Second, who was born in 1802. R. Asher the First died in 1826.  <back>
  4. Zikhron Tov, p. 93. This source implies that R. Wolf died before the month of Tammuz, 1859, since his grandson and successor in Horodok, R. Yisrael-Yosef, mentions him in connection with the blessing over the dead, in a letter that he wrote at that date to R. Yitshak of Neskhizh.  <back>
  5. Zikhron Tov, ibid.  <back>
  6. On this person, see Toysend Jor Pinsk, pp. 270, 329.  <back>
  7. Zikhron Tov, ibid <back>
  8. M. Slutski, 'David-Horodok mit fuftsig Jor zurik,' David-Horodok, Sefer Zikkaron, ed. Y. Edan and others, p. 405 ff, Tel Avi (no date of publication).  <back>
  9. Y. Zeevi, 'Ishei Kahal,' Yizkor Kehilloth Luninyets-Kozhan-Horodok, p. 36 ff., 138 ff., Tel Aviv 1952.  <back>
  10. The reminiscences and legends about the Tsaddikim of the Horodok dynasty quoted here have been published in the volume David-Horodok, Sefer Zikkaron, pp. 92, 95, 153, 155, 208 ff., 412; in an article written by one of the descendants of the dynasty, Ts. Kunde-Ginsburg, 'Zikhronoth,' ibid., p. 97-99; and in the memorial volume Yizkor Kehilloth Luninyets-Kozhan-Horodok, pp. 36 ff., 139, 194, 207, 218 ft.
    The Horodok dynasty, like its Koshivka origin, was evidently forgotten even by the hasidim themselves, since neither of them is mentioned in the genealogical table of the hasidic dynasties (Ilana de-Tsaddikaya, Warsaw 1927).  <back>

The Berezna Dynasty

  1. Grossman, op. cit., pp. 31, 51. According to family tradition, R. Leib was a disciple of R. Shelomo of Karlin.  <back>
  2. In Dubnow's 'Hasidic Archives' in the YIVO Institute in New York there is a reproduction of the epitaph of R. David, the son of R. Yehudah Halevi of Stepan, who died on the night of the Day of Atonement, 1809  <back>
  3. A. Pichenik, 'Ha-Shosha!oth ha-Hasidiyoth be Vohlyn': Berezna, Yalkut Vohlyn, Osel Zikhronoth u-Teudoth, No.5, Tel Aviv 1946.  <back>
  4. Grossman, Shem u-Sheerith, p. 31.  <back>
  5. Pichenik, ibid.  <back>
  6. Pichenik, ibid.  <back>
  7. Dr. G. Beigel, Ayarathi Berezna, p. 143, Tel Aviv 1954; A. Avatihi, 'Ha-Shosheleth ha-Bereznaith,' Sefer Stolin, p. 151; Y. Zeevi, 'Luninyetser Botei-Midroshim,' Yizkor Kehilloth Luninyets-Kozhan-Horodok, pp. 140,142, Tel Aviv 1952.  <back>
  8. Gottlieb, Oholei Shem, p. 30.  <back>
  9. Pichenik, op. cit.; Dr' G. Beigel, Ayarathi Berezna, p. 23 ff., (this book contains details about the last representatives of the dynasty); Y. L. Yonathan, Nof va-Geza, p. 10 ff., Tel Aviv 1955.   <back>
  10. Beigel, op. cit., p. 78.  <back>
  11. Zeevi, op. cit., p. 140. Pinsker Shtime, 1938, N. 32 (577), p. 4.  <back>
  12. Personal communications from two descendants of the Berezna dynasty, Rabbi A. Pichenik and Y. L. Yonathan. Unger, op. cit., p. 231.  <back>

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