On Sunday afternoon, the 10th of Kislev, a pained and
saddened throng accompanied HaRav Chaim Shmuel Lopian
zt'l , son of the mashgiach, HaRav Eliyahu
Lopian, ztvk'l, on his last earthly journey.
HaRav Chaim Shmuel, who was ninety years old at the time of
his petirah was the rosh kollel of Aliyos
Eliyahu -- Tiferes Yitzchok in Yerushalayim, and the author
of Ravcho Shmaitso, a commentary on the Shev
HaRav Chaim Shmuel Lopian was born in the Torah and
mussar center of Kelm. As a youth, he studied in the
Or Torah yeshiva, whose students his father, HaRav Eliyahu
Lopian, trained to acquire good character traits, and with
fiery words of mussar inspired to grow in ahavas
Torah and yiras Shomayim.
As a child, he studied for an entire year in Or Yisroel in
Slobodke, under his teacher and mentor, HaRav Yechezkel
Burstein, the Divrei Yechezkel. Afterward, he went to
study in the yeshiva gedola of Telz, under HaRav Yosef
Leib Bloch, HaRav Chaim Rabinowitz and HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok
Bloch. Regarding himself, HaRav Chaim Shmuel once said: "I
used to study 40 consecutive hours, and then sleep for 8
hours, in line with the custom of the Chasam Sofer, who did
so in order to fulfill the words of the verse, "Oz
yonu'ach li -- Then I shall rest," the gematria of
oz being 8, and that of li 40.
In 5689 he arrived in England, where he studied for a while
in the Eitz Chaim yeshiva of London, where his father was
rosh hayeshiva. In 5696, while in London, he married
Lieba, o'h, the daughter of the tzaddik, HaRav
Ephraim Tzvi Bloch of Gateshead, son of HaRav Shmaryahu
Bloch, gaavad of Sunderland and Birmingham.
In 5699, he published his kuntres, Shmaitso
Alef which was graced by the recommendations of the
greatest roshei yeshiva of his time: HaRav Shimon
Shkop, HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer, HaRav Boruch Dov Levovitz
and HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Bloch.
After his marriage, he and his wife settled in Gateshead. In
5702, HaRav Eliyohu Dessler founded the famous kollel
of Gateshead. In the beginning, the kollel
functioned in HaRav Chaim Shmuel's home, and it was in
this illustrious kollel that he studied until 5708. In the
summer of that year, he was appointed to the position of
ram in the Eitz Chaim yeshiva in Montreux,
Switzerland, and afterward as ram in the Netzach
Yisroel yeshiva in Sunderland, which is near Gateshead.
He spearheaded the founding of all of the Torah institutions
in Gateshead. During the years of his residence in that city,
he became acquainted with HaRav Naftoli Shakovitzky of
Lithuania, who later on officiated as Gateshead's av beis
din. His brother-in-law, HaRav Arye Leib Grosnas
assembled students from Morocco, and founded a yeshiva
gedola and many Torah institutions for them. These
students grew up HaRav Chaim Shmuel's home, and he treated
them like sons.
In 5739, he went up to Eretz Yisroel, where he assumed the
position of rosh kollel of Aliyos Eliyahu -- Tiferes
Yitzchok, which was first situated in the Bayit Vegan
neighborhood, and later moved to the Unsdorf neighborhood.
Its name commemorates his father, the mashgiach HaRav
Eliyahu Lopian, as well as HaRav Yitzchok Orlanski whose son,
HaRav Yisroel, yibodel lechayim, bore the burden of
the support of the kollel along with HaRav Chaim
Shmuel. The uniqueness of this kollel lies in its
mussar study program.
HaRav Chaim Shmuel studied in this kollel with great
diligence until very recently. In the past two years, his
strength waned. Nonetheless, he would continue to travel to
the kollel every day, with great mesiras
nefesh. At home, he also continued to maintain his set
study schedules, and his chavrusas would arrive there
to study with him despite his great weakness.
He studied Torah under duress, under all circumstances and at
all times. He explained his Torah thoughts in a simple,
unassuming manner. He participated in all of the
simchas in Gateshead and Yerushalayim, taking special
care to gladden the hosts of the simcha and those in
His knowledge of Shas and poskim was
astounding, and whenever a question was posed to him, he
would respond quickly and with utmost precision.
Despite his feeble physical condition, he traveled to the
Aliyos Eliyahu -- Tiferes Yitzchok kollel every single
day, until this past Tammuz. In recent weeks he grew even
weaker, and on Sunday, the 10th of Kislev, he returned his
pure soul to its Maker.
His levaya, which proceeded from the Be'er Shmuel
synagogue the central synagogue of the Unsdorf neighborhood,
was attended by thousands of his students and admirers.
Hespedim were delivered by: HaRav Yitzchok Sheiner,
the rosh yeshiva of Kaminetz, who had been with him in
Switzerland, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarski, one of the roshei
yeshiva of Ponovezh; HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the
rosh yeshiva of Mir; his sister's son-in-law, HaRav
Tzvi Kushelevski , the rosh yeshiva of Heichal HaTorah-
- Pressburg; HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the roshei
yeshiva of Mir; HaRav Moshe Horowitz, the rav of
the Be'er Shmuel synagogue; HaRav Yisroel Orlanski, who bore
the burden of the kollel, Aliyos Eliyahu, along with
him. The last hesped was delivered by his son-in-law,
HaRav Tzvi Kramer.
Toward sunset, he was buried in the cemetery on Har Hazeisim,
near the graves of his father, his mother and his wife, as
well as those of his grandparents, HaRav Yisroel Dovid Rotman
and his wife.
He is survived by his son, HaRav Arye, from the United
States, by his daughters, who are married to HaRav Binyomin
Tzeilinger of the United States, HaRav Eliyahu Stefanski,
HaRav Tzvi Kramer, a ram in the Lakewood yeshiva of
Yerushalayim, and HaRav Moshe Shapiro of the United States.