GERSHON PYESTUN (b. January 27, 1856)
He was born in Shklov (Szkłów), Byelorussia. Orphaned at age seven, he was raised in an orphanage. He was a brilliant Talmudist and preacher in Lithuania. For a time he was a rabbi in Shavlan (Siaulenai) and Mohilev (Mogilev), later settling in Vilna. He was a friend of Ben Tsion Alfes and worked with him on a number of Yiddish and Hebrew-Aramaic texts. He was the author of: Avodat hagershoni (The work of Gershon) (Vilna, 1885); Hamatif, der redner, sheyne raykhzinike droshes fir fersheydene tsaytn in yor mit tsugegebene onmerkungen in a brief fun ben tsien alfes (The preacher, lovely, rich sermons for various times of the year with additional remarks in a letter from Ben Tsion Alfes) (Vilna, 1903), 72 pp., which appeared in a great many editions in Vilna and Warsaw, “sermons which bring the reader great pleasure, educating his character and implanting in him good morals”; Peyre hagefen oder gedankenfrukht (Fruit of the vine or fruit for thought), sermons on the first five orders [of the Mishnah] (Warsaw, 1892), 80 pp.; Mayse alfes ufri hagefen oder tsuker-gebeks un vayn (Alfes’s tale and the fruit of the vine or pastry and wine), part 1 (Vilna, 1906), 110 pp., part 2 (Vilna, 1907), 80 pp. Pyestun was also the author of a number of pamphlets which he signed “Hagefen” (The vine) and “Gefen” (Vine).
Sources: Ben-Tsien Ayzenshtadt, Dor rabanav vesofrav (A generations of rabbis and authors), vol. 3 (Vilna, 1902), p. 27; Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature), vol. 1, col. 119, under the biography Ben Tsion Alfes (see: http://yleksikon.blogspot.com/2014/07/ben-tsion-benzion-alfes.html).
Khayim Leyb Fuks