Rav Kalman Sperka zt”l


candle-small3It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Chaim Kalman Shammai Sperka zt”l, who passed away following an illness at the young age of 41. Rav Kalman, who hailed from Detroit and lived in Mattesdorf, Yerushalayim, was a remarkable ben Torah, who learned virtually all the time, in all circumstances, as he had done since he was a boy. He was a mechaber seforim and a rosh chaburah at Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim, where he had learned for the past 23 years. He inspired those who learned with him in Mesivta of Long Beach and later in Lakewood and at Mir Yerushalayim with the intensity of his hasmadah

A little over a year ago, Rav Kalman became very sick. A week after his wife gave birth to their ninth child, Rav Kalman was hospitalized.  Weakened and in terrible pain, he stood at 6 feet tall and weighed 90-something pounds. He had given shiur in the Mir the day before he was admitted.

Rav Kalman was in the hospital once again recently, as after a year of treatments, he was faced with a frighteningly serious prognosis and was very weak and in pain. Despite this all, he continued to learn with his devoted chavrusos – who came every day to learn with him in the hospital – with a depth and intensity that, according to his chavrusos, would be remarkable even for a healthy person. With mesirus nefesh, he dressed and davened three tefillos a day betzibbur in the hospital ward one floor up from the oncology ward where he was being treated.

Rav Kalman devoted much effort to writing his chiddushim, two volumes of which – on Masechtos Shabbos and Beitzah – were published in his lifetime under the name ‘Even Hasapir.’ Two additional volumes, on Brachos and Niddah, were written by Rav Kalman during the last year. His brother, R’ Nesanel, related that his dedication to writing his chiddushei Torah in the weak and frail state in which he was in was simply remarkable. That a person so compromised healthwise could use the little strength he had to pen his Torah thoughts was a true lesson in mesirus nefesh for Torah.

During the first days of Pesach, Rav Kalman was joined by his children in his room at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital for an emotional Seder, as he mustered his last strength to be mekayeim the mitzvah of Vehigadeta levincha. 

Thousands davened for Chaim Kalman Shammai ben Dena, but this pure neshama was taken by the Ribono Shel Olam on the morning of Shabbos Chol Hamoed. Until Friday afternoon, Rav Kalman was still learning with his chavrusah, imbibing the sweet taste of Torah as long as he physically could.

The levaya was held late last night at Shamgar in Yerushalayim, with the participation of the ramim of Yeshivas Mir, mispallelim of Rav Kruger’s Shul in Mattesdorf where Rav Kalman davened, and a large crowd of family, friends and bnei Torah who are mourning this gem that Hashem has just plucked from this world.

Rav Kalman was truly kulo Torah, a beacon of purity in this spiritually challenging world. Throughout his married life, he was supported and encouraged by his devoted wife, who allowed him to immerse himself in the Yam Hatalmud. His loss leaves a void in the lives of his family, friends, and the greater Olam HaTorah.

May he serve as a meilitz yosher for his rebbetzin, Mrs. Tzilla (nee Maizes) Sperka, and his children, the oldest of whom is 15; his parents, R’ Shlomo and Dina Sperka of Detroit; his siblings, R’ Yitzchok of Monsey, R’ Yeshaya of Beitar, Mrs. Esther Moskowitz of Monsey, and R’ Nesanel of Detroit; his extended family, and all of Klal Yisroel.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. i was zoche to learn b’chavrusa in long beach with r’kalman. an absolute adam hashalom in all facets.made his first siyum on shas when he was in second year b.m.yehe zichro baruch

  2. I was zoche to sit in the seat in front of Rav Sperka in the mir for six years. He was an unbeleivable masmid and I never saw him mevatal torah all the years i sat in front of him. He was a mechayiv to all of us who sat near him, and a role model to many of us. I was zoche to talk to him in learning many times, I really felt it was a real zchus for me to be able to talk to him.He had unbelievable middos and I have talked about him to people for years. I will never forget him. Yehe zichro baruch.

  3. reb kalman was someone we should all aspire to be like. i learnt with him in long beach and he finished shas beiyun under the age of 19, as we said “kalman learned when we all were asleep or played ball” as i can only imagine some people fulfill their tafkid sooner than others. may he be a mailitz yosher for us all.

  4. My husband Rafael Eliezer ben Leah (who should be well) was his roomate in the hospital and on many ocassions they spent some time together, and I with the Rav’s mother. It was Rav Sperka who motivated my husband many times to donn tefillin and push his ruchniyus level even while sick. The incredible devotion Dina had for her son who was her light was awe inspiring. His wife pushing my family in her dedication to davening even with the slightest of chance of hope. Words can’t express my sadness of her loss and that of the rest of the family. May Hashem comfort the entire special Sperka family and mechazek them.