BDE: Reb Kalman Shtekel, z”l, Legendary Ba’al Menagen in Viznitz

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Reb Kalman, a treasure, a vintage chassidishe Yid who impacted everyone he came in contact with, and longtime Boro Park resident. He was 90 years old. 

Reb Kalman was born in Bukovina, Romania, where he became tethered to the Admorim of Beis Viznitz; the Damesek Eliezer, the Mekor Baruch, and the Imrei Chaim, to whom he was a devoted chossid with every fiber of his being. 

The relationship continued in the holy descendants of the Imrei Chaim, until today’s Viznitzer Rebbeim. Reb Kalman transmitted the holiness and the spirit of Viznitz of yore, and was a revered and welcome presence in every single Viznitz-affiliated court throughout the world, and the image of an elder, distinguished chossid standing in awe and reverence before Rebbeim who were years younger than he is only one facet of the example that he played for the younger generations of chassidim. 

Chassidus flowed in his veins. Every word he uttered was filled with emunah, bitachon, yiras Shomayim, Ahavas Yisroel, and memories of Viznitz of yore. He had an extremely sharp memory, and it was as though he never forgot a single detail from his 90 years of life. He would spend hours upon hours learning with great hasmodah, and his tefillah was otherworldly. Utilizing his exceptional talent and voice, he would regularly move the olam to tears. His beautiful voice would break with the emotion of his beloved and distinct Viznitzer nusach which he so devotedly transmitted to generations. 

He was a “meshorer” in every sense of the word. In addition to composing scores of niggunim, and in addition to recording a number of albums of Viznitzer nusach, he was the official head of the “kapelye” in the Viznitzer courts, wherever he went. It was difficult to find a ba’al menagen like him.  

The story of his life is transcribed in a memoir “Ahavas Kedumim.” 

He spoke with the distinct Yiddish of the Romanian Yidden, and would espouse deep emunah, and the tenets of Chassidic life; to be elevated above this world, to think and speak with purity and middos tovos.

With his passing, we have lost a priceless treasure and a depository of the chassidishe world, and an example of a true chassidishe Yid lives life on this earth; filled with deveikus b’Hashem. 

The levaya goes out from the Viznitz Monsey Shul on Phyllis Terrace at 9:30, and will proceed to the Boro Park Shul on 53rd Street on New Utrecht Avenue at 2:00. Kevurah will be in Eretz Yisroel. 

Video Taken by: Avrumi Berger.

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