Rav Aharon Roth, known to his followers as Reb Arele, is the patriarch of Shomrei Emunim, Toldos Aharon, and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchak. Understanding Reb Arele, is key to understanding these sects and what they are all about. I would highly recommend reading Reb Arele’s biography “Sefer Rebbe HaKadosh.” Here is a picture of the sefer:
The sefer runs through Reb Arele’s life who grew up in Eastern Europe during the years before WWII (1894-1947). During Reb Arele’s teenage years, he began attracting yeshiva bochurim and regular working men to a group he led in which he taught his followers to learn and daven with passion. This group eventually became the Hasidic sect of Shomrei Emunim (Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avrohom Yitzvhak are offshoots of Shomrei Emunim). Some highlights of the sefer and interesting things about Reb Arele’s life:
- Reb Arele traveled throughout his younger years in order to study and daven with the great Hasidic leaders of Eastern Europe during that period. He credits his “derech” to the various Rebbes he visited and learned from.
- Throughout his life, Reb Arele was sickly and constantly suffered. He wasn’t sure of the cause of his sickness, but he required constant care from doctors during his entire life. Despite his sickness, davening was what got him out of bed on the days that the doctors didn’t believe that he could.
- If I had to pick one theme of the sefer it would be fervent prayer. What Reb Arele cared most about and wanted to imbibe in his followers was the importance of praying with your entire heart and soul. The intricacies of prayer is what he focused on teaching his followers.
In future posts I plan to dive deeper into the sefer and explain the essence of Reb Arele and what made him such an influential leader and founder of these sects.
If you want to read about the basics of Reb Arele’s life, take a look at his Wikipedia page.