LEMLEIN (Lammlin), ASHER (16th century), false messiah active in 1500–02. Apparently of Ashkenazi origin, Lemlein began his activities in northeast Italy, later extending them to Germany. According to his statements, the redemption was approaching because the Messiah had already come – namely Lemlein himself. His disciples, who circulated this rumor, stimulated a movement of asceticism and repentance hitherto unknown in these areas. Long afterward this year was recalled as the "year of the repentance," even in Christian polemics against the Jews. There is no information on the events of Lemlein's life and his personality, except that he engaged in Kabbalah. The evolution of his movement is also not known. Apparently it ceased to exist with his death. The statements of Gedaliah Joseph *Ibn Yaḥya in Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah (Venice, 1586), on a wave of apostasies from Judaism as a result of the crisis of the Lemlein movement, are not to be accepted, for even his chief enemies among his contemporaries, Abraham *Farissol and *Joseph ha-Kohen, do not mention this fact.
A.Z. Aescoly, Ha-Tenu'ot ha-Meshiḥiyyot be-Yisrael (1956), 249–50, 307–12; A. Marx, in: REJ, 61 (1911), 135–8; S. Loewinger, ibid., 105 (1940), 32ff.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.