Toldos Aharon (Hasidic dynasty)
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Toldos Aharon is a strongly anti-Zionist Hasidic movement, headquartered in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood. Significant concentrations of Hasidim are also located in Ramat Beit Shemesh, London, and New York City. Toldos Aharon is a split-off from Shomer Emunim. It is led by its Rebbe, Rabbi Dovid Kohn.
Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kohn, the previous Toldos Aharon Rebbe, died during Hanukkah of 1996. Rabbi Kohn had many sons, four of whom are rebbes today. After Rabbi Kohn died, two of his sons came to an agreement whereby the younger son Rabbi Duvid Kohn from Monsey, New York, inherited the title "Toldos Aharon Rebbe". The eldest son, Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Kohn, a disciple of the Viznitzer Rebbe, became a rebbe as well, of a group that was entitled Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok named after his father, the previous rebbe of the group. The main beis medrash of Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok is also in Meah Shearim, one block away from the Toldos Aharon building. Both live in Jerusalem. Another son is a rosh yeshiva in Kiryas Joel, New York. The other two sons formed Hasidic courts on their own, both located in Meah Shearim as well, and are known as the Mevakshei Emunah Rebbe and the Nachlas Aharon Rebbe, respectively.
- Rebbe Aharon "Reb Areleh" Roth (d. 1946) - author of Shomrei Emunim, Shulchan HaTahor, and Taharas HaKodesh - founding Rebbe of Shomrei Emunim dynasty in the town of Satmar, (At that time, Hungary ; now, Romania), and Jerusalem.
- Rebbe Avrohom Chaim Roth - Shomrei Emumim Rebbe in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak - son of "Reb Areleh" Roth.
- Rebbe Avrohom Yitzchok Kohn (d. 1996) - author of Divrei Emunah - previous Toldos Aharon Rebbe of Jerusalem - son-in-law of "R' Areleh" Roth.
- Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kohn - present Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe in Jerusalem - eldest son of the previous Toldos Aharon Rebbe.
- Rebbe Dovid Kohn - present Toldos Aharon Rebbe in Jerusalem - son of the previous Toldos Aharon Rebbe.
Dress and customsEdit
In Jerusalem, married men wear white and grey "Zebra" coats during the week and golden bekishes/Caftan (coats) on Shabbos. Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok are the only groups where boys aged 13 and older (bar mitzvah) wear the golden coat and a shtreimel, as married men do; however, married men can be differentiated by their white socks, while the unmarried boys wear black socks. In other Hasidic groups, only married men wear a shtreimel. All boys and men wear a traditional Jerusalemite white yarmulke. Unmarried boys wear a regular black coat with attached belt on weekdays, unlike the married men, who wear the "Zebra" style coat.
Married women cover their hair without wearing wigs, and the standards of tznius expected from them are the strictest among all Hasidic/Orthodox Jewish groups. As is customary in the traditional Jerusalemite community, unmarried girls have their hair in two braids, unlike most other Haredi communities, where the girls wear a simple ponytail.
Toldot Aharon is currently the only Hasidic group that requires its women to shave their head after marriage, as the custom faded away after World War II for other ultra-orthodox Jewish groups. The hair on a woman's head is thought to signify her sexuality. Thus, it is shaved off on the day after her wedding and is continuously shaved throughout her marriage for modesty reasons. This is due to the belief that a woman's sexuality should not be shown to anyone but her husband.
The Shomrei Emunim are characterized by fervent and visibly emotional prayer, and by a rigid lifestyle controlled largely by "takanos" - decrees written by the Rebbe. One such decree, for example, forbade wearing wool. (Jewish law forbids wearing anything that contains both wool and linen. Rabbi Aharon worried that it would be safest not to wear wool at all, in order to avoid the possibility of violating the law altogether.) A strong emphasis is placed on the importance of full-time Torah study, and daily immersion in ritual baths.
A group that later split off from Toldos Aharon, upon the death of the previous Toldos Aharon Rebbe, is called Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok.
Hasidic books of the Shomer Emunim, Toldos Aharon, and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok groupsEdit
In addition to those books which are revered by all Hasidic Jews, the Toldos Aharon Hasidim particularly revere the books, Shomer Emunim, Shulchan HaTahor, and Taharas HaKodesh, by Rebbe Aharon Roth, and Divrei Emunoh by Rebbe Avrohom Yitzchok Kohn. The version of the prayer book used by Toldos Aharon Hasidim is called Brochoh u'Tehilloh. The Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Hasidim have published a weekday prayer book called, Tehillas Avrohom Yitzchok, but also use the Brochoh u'Tehilloh version as well.
The previous Rebbe of Toldos Aharon, R' Avrohom Yitzchok, was said to have instructed his followers to learn the works of Rabbi Aharon HaLevi of Staroshelye (pronounced Strashelye), which include "Sha'arei HaYichud VeHaEmunoh," "Sha'arei Avoda," and "Avodas HaLevi." The Staroselyer Rebbe was a follower of the first Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. After the passing of R' Shneur Zalman, R' Aharon HaLevi started his own Hasidic following, an offshoot of Chabad, in Staroselye.
- Rabbi Meir Brandsdorfer
- Zalcberg, Sima (17 October 2007). "'Grace is Deceitful and Beauty is Vain': How Hassidic Women Cope with the Requirement of Shaving One's Head and Wearing a Black Kerchief". Gend. Issues (24): 13–34.
- See Sefer Takanos v'Hadrochos.