Lubavitcher scholar, author Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik dies at 106

new york (ap) | Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik, a 106-year-old Lubavitcher scholar known for his storytelling and longevity, died Feb. 14.

Chitrik had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack Feb. 8, said Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, a spokesman for the Chabad Lubavitch movement.

A book of translations of Chitrik’s stories, “From My Father’s Shabbos Table,” was published in 1991.

“He can repeat stories word for word that he heard 50 years ago,” Chitrik’s great-grandson Eliezer Zalmanov told the New York Times for a story published in December 2004.

Chitrik, born in 1899 in Krasnolok, Russia, was sent by his father at age 15 to the town of Lubavitch, where he studied at the central Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva until communism and persecution forced him and other scholars to leave.

In 1926, he began teaching in what is now the Ukraine, where he married Kaila Tumarkin. While there, he also met Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who later became the seventh Lubavitcher rebbe, the spiritual leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.

After World War II, Chitrik’s family lived in Belgium and Holland before moving to Montreal, where he taught in a yeshiva. He moved to Brooklyn after his wife died in 1983.

Chitrik’s memories of Schneerson, who died in 1994, have helped scholars learn more about the late rebbe, Shmotkin said.

Chitrik is survived by more than 300 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

The Lubavitcher movement is one of many forms of Chassidism, a religious lifestyle and ideology focused on prayer and the study of Jewish holy books. Its world headquarters is in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y.