Dear Matzav.com readers,
I am writing this to ask you to please daven for my brother, Chaim Kalman Shammai ben Dena, Rabbi Kalman Sperka, among all of us in need of a refuah.
My brother, Rabbi Sperka, is a vessel of pure Torah in our less than pure world. He learns virtually all the time, in all circumstances – as he has done since he was a boy. He is a mechaber seforim and a rosh chabura in Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim where he has learned for the past 23 years. Men who’ve learned with him in Long Beach or in the Mir Yerushalayim struggle to express the exceptional and orderly intensity of his lamdanus and hasmodah. Those closest to him, his family and b’nei chaburah, know and feel how his actions and middos reflect a crystal clear internalization of the learning he has persistently amassed since he started learning Gemorah as a boy.
A little over a year ago, my brother became very sick. A week after his wife gave birth to their ninth child, ka”h, Reb Kalman was hospitalized. His body had stopped processing nutrition. Weakened and in terrible pain, he stood at 6 feet tall and weighed 90-something pounds. He had given shiur in the Mir Yeshiva the day before he was admitted.
Reb Kalman is in the hospital again, now. After a year of treatments, he is dealing with a frighteningly serious prognosis and is once again weak and in pain. He continues to learn with his devoted chavrusahs (who come every day to learn with him in the hospital) with a depth and intensity that, according to his chavrusahs, is remarkable even for them, who are well, bli ayin harah. With mesiras nefesh, he dresses and davens three tefillos a day b’tzibur in the hospital ward one floor up from the oncology ward where he is being treated.
I am begging you to include Chaim Kalman Shammai ben Dena in your tefillos. He is my brother, a husband, son, father, and himself, a Yiddishe neshama.
But it seems to me there is something else going on here. Someone who is as “kulo Torah” as Reb Kalman serves as a shield for us and our children in this spiritually dangerous world of 2010. At the levaya of the Chofetz Chaim, zt’l, R’ Simcha Zissel Levovitz zt’l said that Hashem sometimes takes people away when we do not appreciate them. Maybe Hashem wants to push us – us, the people who know Reb Kalman, or the people who are reading about him now – to think into this?
Perhaps we can bring ourselves to be able to say, “Ribono Shel Olam. I feel we need this person here with us. Klal Yisroel needs his Torah because his Torah strengthens ours, and I plead with You to give him health and strength to allow his Torah to be mashpiah on our world. This is what is important to us!”
Perhaps we can think about the critical need for every talmid chacham’s limud HaTorah? Maybe in this way we can bring forth the unbridled rachamei Shomayim my brother needs.
Maybe, if we think about this, Hashem will give us back Reb Kalman, healthy and strong. And maybe, if we believe this, He will let us keep the shmira of the limud HaTorah of Chaim Kalman Shammai ben Dena.