Chasidim of Karlin
[Yiddish, Karliner chasidim] - A Chasidic group
founded by Aron (1736-72), who was known as Aron of Karlin (Aron
Karliner), or Aron the Great, He was a pupil of one of the main Chasidic
leaders and outstanding Talmudist, Dov-Ber of Miedzyrzecze.
Aron's teacher sent him with the mission of spreading Chasidism to
the various corners of Poland. In approximately 1760, he came to Karlin,
near Pinsk. Despite objections from Gaon of Wilno (Eliyah ben Shlomo),
he gained many pupils and founded the first center of Chasidism in
Lithuania. Karliner advocated thorough knowledge of the Torah, and daily
study of the Mishnah. He rejected ascetic practices, and considered joy
and inner contentment as conditions needed in order to come closer to
the Creator. A Jew living joylessly did not, in his opinion, deserve to
enter heaven. It was only possible to achieve a sense of joy and
contentment when man's basic needs had been taken care of, such as
eating, drinking, sleeping and sex.
Most of the Lithuanian tzaddikim had been
Karliner's pupils, or his pupils' pupils. He did not leave any writings;
his successors later preserved his teachings in writing. He wrote the
popular Sabbath hymn, sung by the Chasidim of Karlin and other
Lithuanian Chasidic groups. One of Aron's sons, Yakub, settled in
Palestine, where he helped the Chasidic movement to develop and
popularized his father's teachings.
Aron's successor was his youngest son, Asher (1760-1828), a pupil of
Boruch of Miedzyboz and Israel ben Shabtay Hepstein of Kozienice. He
emphasized the importance of studying, and believed everyone should
devote time to their studies insofar as they are able.
Another Karlin tzaddik was Asher's son, Aron, known as "the Second"
(1802-72), who dealt with legal matters related to the observance of
holidays. He stressed the importance of joy and singing, and introduced
instrumental music into the ceremonies of the Chasidim of Karlin. He was
forced by the tsarist authorities to leave Karlin, and he settled in
Stolin in 1908.
Aron the Second's son, Asher the Second
(1827-73), succeeded him; his teachings were strongly influenced by
mysticism. His successor was his five-year-old son, Israel Perlov
(1868-1922), known later for his community work. He also actively
supported the development of religious schools for girls, Beys Yakov.
The last of the dynasty was Israel's oldest son, Abraham Elimelech
Perlov, (1891-1942), who founded a yeshiva of the Karlin Chasidim near
Jerusalem. He was killed in Pinsk by the Nazis, along with other of his
family members. Chasidic groups from Karlin still exist in the United
States and Israel.