NEW YORK (VINnews) — Reb Yisrael Reuven Pick, a prominent supporter of Gur institutions over many decades and one of the most esteemed members of the Los Angeles Jewish community, passed away Wednesday night at the age of 100.
R’ Yisrael was born 100 years ago to R’ Avraham Mordechai, who was a descendant of the holy Yid of Peshischa. In his youth he studied in the Keser Torah yeshiva and later he joined the Nachalas Efrayim yeshiva led by Rabbi Dov Ber Einhorn HyD of Amstov. In later years Rabbi Yisrael Reuven published a book of his rebbe’s teachings as well as the book Ahavas Avraham by the rabbi of his hometown of Vidowa.
As a youth Reb Yisrael travelled to the Gerer rebbe, the Imrei Emes, who gave him a bracha that he “will be a Jew.” Not understanding the rebbe’s import, Reb Yisrael Reuven asked his brother Rabbi Moshe Betzalel HyD what it meant. Rabbi Moshe Betzalel told him that it meant “you aren’t just a Jew now, you will stay a Jew.” Reb Reuven didn’t understand the answer until the Holocaust broke out a short time later.
Reb Reuven suffered through the events of the Holocaust and later wrote his testimony in a book entitled Yechi Reuven which was translated into English and in which he described the ordeals he had experienced.
After he survived the Holocaust he immigrated to Israel and helped establish the Tiferes Bachurim yeshiva where Rabbi Elyashiv taught. A few years later Reb Reuven followed his brothers to Los Angeles and established a home of Torah and chesed there. He was always close to Gur Chasidim and loved to see the flourishing of the chasidus which had suffered so severely in the Holocaust. Reb Reuven took upon himself to fund the yeshiva for Gur youth and it was named Beis Heichal Pick in memory of his family members who perished in the Holocaust.
When the Gerer Rebbe made his famous visit to Los Angeles together with Rabbi Steinman Zts’l, they came to visit Reb Reuven, who recalled his memories from the Gur dynasty in Poland. Reb Reuven also donated large sums to Vizhnitz and was wont to mention that he had seen four generations of Vizhnitz rebbes.
Reb Reuven, who had a sharp memory, could even recall the niggun he had heard from the Imrei Emes as a child for Hamavdil when he had crawled under the table during the tish.
Reb Reuven’s levaya will take place in Jerusalem and he will be buried near his brothers. He did not leave any children and the Tzibbur is requested to study in memory of Reb Yisrael Reuven Ben Avraham Mordechai.
May his memory be blessed.