Aaron Ben Asher of Karlin (June 6, 1802-June 23, 1872), known as Rabbi Aaron II of Karlin, was one of the most famous rabbis of the Ḥasidim in northwestern Russia.

He had an immense number of followers, and many thousands of them used to visit him annually, about the time of the Jewish New Year, as is the custom among that sect. Notwithstanding his severity of manner and the not infrequent rudeness of his behavior, he was highly esteemed by his adherents. He "reigned" in Karlin, near Pinsk, in the government of Minsk (currently in Belarus), in succession to his father and his grandfather, Aaron ben Jacob.

A few years before his death he had a quarrel with a rich family of Karlin and removed from there to Stolin, a town several miles distant. Considering the amount of business that the yearly influx of strangers brought to the city where he resided, his removal was regarded as a misfortune for Karlin. He died, aged seventy years and seventeen days, in Malinovka, near Dubno, in Volhynia, while on a journey to the wedding of his granddaughter, and was succeeded by his son, Asher of Stolin, whose chief claim to distinction is that he spent most of his time at the miḳwah (bath). Asher died in Drohobycz about one year after the death of his father, and was succeeded by his five-year-old son, the so-called Yenuḳa (Baby) of Stolin, against whoserabbinate (in the Ḥasidic sense) Schatzkes—or, according to others, Judah Lob Levin (called Yehallel of Kiev)—under the pseudonym "Ḥad min Ḥabraya" (One of the students), wrote a well-known satire in "Ḥa-Shaḥar" (vi. 25-44).

Aaron is the author of Bet Aharon (Aaron's House; Brody, 1875), which contains his cabalistic and ethical expositions of the Pentateuch. It also contains all the extant writings of his grandfather, of his father, and of his son.

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography

  • Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, p. 18;
  • Ḳinat Soferim, note 1294, Lemberg, 189


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