The Jewish community in Boro Park was plunged into deep grief with the shocking news of the petirah of Mrs. Chava Gitty Stekel, a”h, a thirty-year-old mother of five children.
Mrs. Stekel was the daughter of, ybl”c Rabbi Yidel and Mrs. Chana Malka Greenfeld. Her husband, Rabbi Yisrael Stekel, is a talmid chacham and a beloved melamed in the Rachmastrivka cheder.
Chazal teaches “who toils on Erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.” This seems to embody the life of this nifteres, who was born on Erev Shabbos, and was niftar this past Erev Shabbos. A large crowd of stunned mourners attended the levayah, which left in front of the Vizhnitzer beis medrash in Boro Park on Motzoei Shabbos.
On Sunday, her mother spoke to this writer about the fact that her daughter had given Hashem back a neshamah as pure as it was on the day it was born.”When the time is over, and the Eibershter receives back a neshamah as pure as it was born, it is a true nachas ruach for Him,” Mrs. Greenfield said.
The whole life of the nifteres was one of simchah shel mitzvah, and simchah shel Torah. Significantly, she was born on Simchas Torah.
She embodied all the virtues of a true bas Yisrael. Her she’ifos were to build a home of Torah, and to imbue a love of Torah in her kinderlach. She ensured that her husband was able to go straight from his position as a melamed to kollel every day, free from having to run household errands on her behalf.
She imbibed her values of Torah and emunas chachamim from her parents’ home. Her parents, sheyichye, were very close with Harav Hershele, the Spinka Rebbe, zy”a. Her husband is a devoted chassid of the Vishnitzer Rebbe, shlita.
Relatives and friends attested that her middas hachessed was unequaled. Her sister tells that even as a girl, she was busy with bikur cholim and visiting elderly people in her neighborhood.
The middah of tznius was especially dear to her. She would not wear anything that she had not checked for the collar, the length of the skirt and the fit should not be tight. No one could sway her when she knew that something is the right thing to do. The Skulener Rebbe, shlita, himself said of her on Thursday night, when the tefillos were so intense, “An eeshah tzenuah, darf a yeshuah!”
She was niftar Erev Shabbos by the early zman, held by Vizhnitz. She had always been makpid to light her lecht early. As Chazal say, “Haragil b’ner, haven lo banim talmidei chachamim,” one who is steadfast in candlelighting, is given children [who are] talmidei chachamim.” Her husband said that she went straight to Shamayim to tzind lecht there and daven for her children by the Kisei Hakavod.” May she be a melitzas yosher for her family and all of Klal Yisrael.