Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi of Karlin

Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi (Dynasty of Aaron Hakohen Hagadol in 1496- B.C.) was the Rabbi of Karlin the "Spiritual brother" of Rabby Aaron Hagadol of Karlin.

Born: 1738 (5498)
Died: White Russia, 1792

Rabbi Shelomo, the son of Rabbi Meir Halevi of Karlin, was born, base on hasidic tradition, in 1738. Of his birthplace and childhood nothing certain is known. Even hasidic records on these points are very scanty.

Like his teacher, R. Aharon the Great, R. Shelomo was also one of the Great Maggid's chief disciples, and he is mentioned by the Maggid in the latter's letter to the Pinsk Moreh-Tsedek, R. Eliezer Halevi. When R. Aharon set up his beth midrash in Karlin, R. Shelomo became one of his most devoted disciples, and used to travel together with him to Mezerich. And when, after R. Aharon's death, R. Shelomo took over the leadership of the Karlin hasidim, he made himself responsible for the upbringing of R. Aharon's son, R. Asher, who was to be the next Tsaddik in the Karlin dynasty founded by his father.

Preserved among the hasidic writings is a letter of farewell from R. Shelomo to the hasidim of Shklov in White Russia. He writes as a Tsaddik and leader to his followers: 'I beseech the Lord that they [sc. the hasidim living in Shklov] may be granted grace through me and no one else.'

This provides further evidence that the links between the Jews in the two northern provinces of Lithuania and Reissen were not broken by the political partition of Poland: R. Mendel of Vitebsk and R. Shneur-Zalman travel to the Vilna Gaon to debate the doctrines of hasidism with him, and conversely R. Shelomo of Karlin's influence penetrates from Lithuania, across the frontiers of Poland, into White Russia.

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