BD’E — Harav Avraham Pollack, Zt”l, Mashgiach of Slabodka Yeshiva

By Hamodia Staff

Harav Avraham Pollack, zt”l, Mashgiach of Slabodka Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. (Photos by Shuki Lehrer)

The world of Torah and Mussar are saddened by the petirah of the Zkan haMashgichim of our generation, Harav Avraham Pollak, zt”l, the Mashgiach Slabodka Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. He was 95 years old.

The Mashgiach taught Torah and yiras Shamayim for decades in the beis medrash of Slabodka Yeshiva where he had thousands of talmidim.

In recent months, the Mashgiach was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, where his condition deteriorated lately. He was niftar on Motzaei Shabbos.

The levayah took place at 11:00 p.m. and left from the beis medrash on Rechov Harav Sher, with kevurah next to his Rebbetzin in the Beis Chaim Segulah in Petach Tikvah.

Rav Avraham, zt”l, was born in Romania in 22 Iyar 5629/1929. At the age of 17, he left Romania alone when he obtained a certificate through the Hashomer Hatza’ir movement. He traveled from Bulgaria, and arrived in Haifa on Sukkos. The British refused to approve the refugees’ disembarkation, and after a week they directed the boat to Cyprus, where he stayed for three months in a camp surrounded by barbed wire.

Harav Moshe Zvi Naria, head of the Kfar Hara’a Yeshiva, came to teach them Gemara and Halachah, and the young bachur took to him, upon his eventual entry to Eretz Yisrael he immediately went to Rav Neria’s yeshiva.

The Chazon Ish, zt”l, sent the young boy to the newly established Slabodka Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, saying that he was sure that he would grow there in Torah and yiras Shamayim.

On Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5708/1948, enter the yeshiva which would be the place that would shape his image forever. Immediately upon arriving at the yeshiva, he became close to the Rosh Yeshiva Harav Isaach Sher, zt”l, and he immersed himself in learning and mussar with great hasmadah.

Rav Avraham developed a relationship with the Chazon Ish, and whenever a hashkafic or halachic question arose, he entered the house of the Chazon Ish to discuss it, and recorded many of them in writing.

He became engaged to the daughter of Harav Aharon Zvi Safrai-Shulman, zt”l, the older brother of the Rosh Yeshiva Harav Mordechai Shulman, zt”l, but since he was waiting for the arrival of his parents from Romania for the wedding, it was delayed for a whole year. After his marriage, he continued learning in the yeshiva’s kollel, and the hanhallah of the yeshiva saw in him the ability to lead the yeshiva in the years to come.

Although he lived at 2 Rabbi Shach Street (then Herzl Street), which was adjacent to the Itzkovitch Shul for thirty years, he never davened there, and was always meticulous to daven in his regular place in the yeshiva’s beis midrash, in his calm pace with complete submission as an eved bifnei Rabo.

After several years had passed since his marriage and was not yet zocheh to have children, the Rosh Yeshiva suggested he utilize his ability for zikui harabim as a zchus to have a child. He appointed him to deliver mussar for the talmidim when the Mashgiach Harav Moshe Tikuchinsky, zt”l, had to travel abroad for the yeshiva. Through this, he was blessed with a child, as well as thousands of talmidim who were influenced by him for nearly seventy years. For about thirty years, he served as Mashgiach at Rav Moshe’s side, and after the petirah of Rav Moshe on 24 Teves, 5748/1988, he was appointed to fill his position.

In issues of running the yeshiva, Rav Avraham constantly deferred to the Roshei Yeshiva Hagaon Harav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita or Hagaon Harav Dov Lando, shlita, despite being older than them. He undertook his position with great humility and extreme modesty, and they, for their part, returned a tremendous appreciation for his greatness.

When people made their way to his door requesting berachos, he took a sheet of paper and a pen, wrote down their names for tefillah, and humbly said, “I can daven, and I will certainly do it for anyone with a full heart. But to give brachos, that is beyond my power.”

His weekly shmuezen for the talmidim of the yeshiva was delivered him continuously for decades, and was often attended by alumni as well.

In the month of Elul 5774/2014, he suffered from a serious infection in his leg and his life was in serious danger, but b’chasdei Hashem he regained his strength and continued his daily routine.

The Mashgiach left over a prestigious family and thousands of talmidim whowere left bereft by his petirah.

Yehi zichro baruch.

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