Rabbi Aharon HaLevi Horowitz of Strashelye (1766-1828) was one of the most prominent disciples of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad. Indeed, a minority of Chabad Chassidim regarded Rabbi Aharon as Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s successor instead of Rabbi Dovber, Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s son, later known as the Mitteler Rebbe. Rabbi Aharon’s folllowers were known as Strashelye Chassidim.
Rabbi Aharon passed away on the Holiday of Shemini Atzeres in the year 5589 (1828), and was laid to rest in Strashelye, in the province of Mogilev. He was survived by two sons: Rabbi Michael David and Rabbi Chaim Raphael. Rabbi Chaim Raphael succeeded his father but passed away at a young age, after which the Strashelyer Chassidim rejoined the mainstream Chabad Chassidic community.
Rabbi Aharon’s Chassidic works include Shaarei HaYichud VeHaEmunah, Shaarei Avodah, Avodas HaLevi, Sod Kedoshim and Baad Kodesh. Shaarei HaYichud VeHaEmunah in particular, an interpretation of Tanya, was warmly received by scholars and sages alike.
In 2008, at the initiative of Geder Avos, Rabbi Israel Meir Gabay, chairman of Oholei Tzadikim, undertook a research project to locate the grave of Rabbi Aharon. After finally locating the correct village, Rabbi Gabay found town elders that were able to tell about a Jewish cemetery on its outskirts. Two of them, in fact, pointed to a certain spot where a famous rabbi was buried, and where the local Jews would gather and pray – evidently, at the burial place of Rabbi Aharon.
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