This coming Sunday, 21 kislev marks the Yohrtzeit of one of the surviving Rebbes from pre holocaust, who managed to re-build an empire of Torah and chassidus. Despite his frail body, and his many different illnesses, the ADMU"R Reb Yochonon of Karlin Stolin was determined in his mission to secure the continuity of this holy dynasty and the legacy and derech in avodah of his forefathers.
Reb Yochonon was the youngest son of Stoliner Rebbe, Reb Yisroel. Soon after his father's passing in 1921, he moved to the city of his In Laws Olik. Later, upon the request of Stoliner Chassidim in Lutzk (a.k.a. Loitzk), the Rebbe opened his court there. The Rebbe also established a Yeshiva there where he demanded from the bochurim to toil in Torah and farther themselves from "havlei olam". The avodas hatfilah and simcha shel mitzvah were evident on all those who remained in the Rebbe's court.
Before world war 2 broke out, the Rebbe traveled to E"Y to shake the Heavens and beg mercy for Polish Jewry. In the Yeshiva the Rebbe kept telling the bochurim "hot rachmonis un toot Tshuva". He mentioned that black clouds were evident over European Jewry.
As the war broke out the Rebbe promised that him and the Deutch will not meet up, and so it was throughout the war. The Rebbe fled from Lutzk and wherever he came they discovered that the Germans had just enterd their previous haven. So it was, until the Rebbe reached the city of Frunza. The Rebbe settled there disclosed as an ordinary Jew with his Rebbetzin and 2 daughters. Also accompanying the Rebbe was a gabbai, who was later arrested by the communists, survived the war and immigrated to Israel many years later. A short time after the Rebbe arrived to Frunza his Rebbetzin and daughter passed away of food poisoning, leaving the Rebbe alone with just one daughter in this difficult time. The Rebbe however, did not compromise his hamodoh b'Torah and dikduk bmitzvohs.
Immediately after the war the Rebbe arrived (miracuously) back to Feldefing Germany in the DP Camps he maintained his disguise, and didn't reveal to anyone his identity, despite the fact that it may have offered him preferential treatment by the other survivors. Everyone who was with him including the Bluzhever Rebbe, Reb Hershale of Spinka and others felt that this was a holy man, but he kept to himself. In the mean time his Brother, the Stoliner Rebbe of Brooklyn (later niftar in Detroit), made efforts to get R' Yochonon documents to migrate to E"Y/US.
On 6 Iyar, 5706, the Rebbe got on a boat for E"Y. On that day his brother was niftar in the US. The Rebbe was now the only surviving brother from the holy dynasty of Karlin Stolin.
Immediately when he came off the boat in Cheifa, he said to the Chassidim "we were considering settling in Eretz Yisroel as an ordinary citizen, but now that we have undertaken the leadership, we will lead with our last drop of blood". The Rebbe immediately began working with the youth, being mekarev bochurim and demanding the highest standards of limud Hatorah and avodah. The Rebbe settled in Cheifa and occasionally visited the chasidim in Yerusholayim, Tel Aviv, Tverya and Tzfas.
Several years later the Rebbe, upon the request of the Stoliner chassidim in the US, and due to the Rebbe's health deterioration the Rebbe came to Brooklyn, NY. Immediately after his arrival, the Rebbe founded a Yeshiva and began building up a Chabura of Bochurim, bnei aliya.
After Yisurim noiroim, which the Rebbe suffered, not for him, but rather for the Klal,as he stated, the Rebbe passed on to the coming world, on 21 Kislev, 5716.
The Rebbe was buried in NJ on condition, that they may move him later. The Rabbonim in E"Y (Tchebiner Rov and Reb Hersh Pesach Frank) paskened that the guf kadosh be brought to E"Y, being that it was his ratzon. The body was removed 16 months after the petirah and in the words of the Chevra Kadisha of Tverya, the body was complete, like the day he was niftar. Rima lo shalta bei.
Zchuso Yogein Oleinu!
Karlin Stolin continues to be a well known Empire of Torah and chasidus under the guidance and leadership of the ADMU"R of Karlin Stolin, the oldest son of the previous Rebbe's dughter.
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