Monday, July 9, 2007
Karlin and Numbers
Menachem Mendel Chaikin 1868 - 1948
My father ZGZ came home from shul this Shabbos and recounted what he heard there. An American-born Stoliner Chossid (not that his birthplace is relevant here) davens in that particular shul and told all who would listen about a custom they have that's sure to raise some eyebrows. It should have all the so-called defenders of the Torah and guardians of Judaism screaming and condemning them, as is the case concernning Lubavitch, but of course it doesn't happen, because if it isn't Lubavitch nobody cares. It also feeds right into the hands of those that say that Chassidim don't follow the Shulchan Aruch whenever it's convenient for them. We of course know that to be full of baloney, but we'll allow those people to have fun anyway.
First, a little history. The great Reb Ahron of Karlin was a Talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch. He passed away at the young age of thirty six, and left a son named Osher. He also had a disciple, Reb Shlomo of Karlin, who took the young Osher under his wing and raised him like he was his own. Many of today's customs are based on Reb Shlomo Karliner, including the loud, very loud davenen that Karlin is famous for, and it may be safe to say that were it not for him there would not not be a Karlin Stolin for us to enjoy. He passed on the teachings of Reb Ahron HaGodol to Reb Osher, as well as to others like Reb Uri of Strelisk and Reb Mordche of Lechovitch. [There's also lots of talk about him being Moshiach ben Yosef, being that he was killed by a Cossack, but we'll leave that for another time.] Suffice it to say, that despite him not being part of the Perlow family, that Reb Shlomo plays a very important role in today's Karlin-Stolin.
Reb Shlomo's Yohrtzeit is the 22nd of Tammuz, smack-dab in middle of the "three weeks," a time when we don't make weddings, don't buy new clothes, don't make a Sheyecheyanu, and generally consider it a time of mourning. It seems like the Karliners wanted to make something special out of this day, being that the Tzaddik's Yohrtzeit is a time of great joy in heaven, so they did some simple math: The three weeks is twenty-one days, right? and how many days do we keep? twenty-two including Tisha B'Av, so that leaves an extra day, right? Great! so they proclaimed: From hereon in the 22nd of Tammuz is not min HaMinyan! They make weddings, say Shehecheyanu, and do anything else forbidden during the other 21 days. For some reason, anybody I spoke to seems to be OK with this line of reasoning, saying that they have it on good faith, and that the Minhag has it roots Beharerei Kodesh. I would also like to point out that the Minhag has the Haskomoh of the late Ponovizher Rosh Yeshivah REMMS, who was the Rosh Yeshivah in a Karliner Yeshivah in Lunenetz for a number of years, and who presumably saw this custom being practiced year after year after year, and did not protest.