Living Legacy: Hakadosh Rebbe Shloime of Karlin, zy”a
22 Tammuz marks the 229th yohrtzeit of Rebbe
Shloime of Karlin, the second leader of the Karlin dynasty, and whose talmidim
began a number of prominent chassidic dynasties around today, and whose holy
living legacy is felt to this day throughout the world of chassidus, and
He was born in Tul’chyn, Ukraine in 1738, and from a young age, he became legendary for his Torah knowledge and hasmodoh. People would come from all over
The primary talmid of Rebbe Aaron Hagodol of Karlin, Rebbe Shloime expanded upon his work of spreading chassidus to the Russian and Lithuanian regions, which was dominated by misnagdim. Thus, the three courts of Karlin, Lechovitz (the origins of Slonimer chassidus), and Strelisk, trace their spiritual roots to Holy Karliner.
He also raised a number of the legendary future leaders of the chassidic movement, and among his descendants are a number of Rebbes around today. Following the passing of Rebbe Aaron Hagodol, he assumed his place.
He would travel throughout the shtetlach of Russia and Lithuania, bringing talmidim close to chassidus and performing great mofsim everywhere he went. He suffered terribly from the persecution of misnagdim who did not take kindly to the spread of chassidus in these areas.
The Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch once related in the name of his grandfather, the Ba’al Hatanya, about Rebbe Shloime: “He would perform incredible mofsim, and lived one tefach above this world. And since he kept a proximity to this world, he was able to perform such unbelievable miracles within it.”
The Avodas Hashem of Rebbe Shloime was otherworldly—characterized by extreme intensity and deveikus—and he introduced the derech of davening with hislahavus in an extremely loud voice, which is still adhered to in Karlin-Stolin today.
Tzaddikim of his generation proclaimed him to be a spark of the neshama of Moshiach Ben Yosef—about whom the Arizal Hakodosh said would be killed by a goy by the name of Armilus, which was precisely the way the Rebbe was taken from this world, Al Kiddush Hashem.
The Koznitzer Maggid (1737-1814) writes the following about those moments: “The Rebbe was standing, wrapped in his Tallis, during Kedushas Kessler, with otherworldly deveikus… he did not hear or see anything. He was crowning the Creator of all Worlds, yelling out in a loud voice; Lecho Hashem haGedulah veHagevurah…
At that moment, a Kossak by the name of Aramilus, ym”sh approached the window and trained his rifle upon the back of the Rebbe—firing a shot that mortally wounded him. Five days later, on 22 Tammuz, his holy Neshamah ascended On High.
The tziyun in Ludmir continued to be a place for great yeshuos for many years to come. During the Holocaust, the cemetery in Ludmir was destroyed. In recent years, through the Herculean efforts of Reb Meilech Schochet and others, it was finally located and restored—welcoming chassidim once again to the holy place of the tzaddik whose living legacy remains strong to this day.