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A Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







A Living Sefer Torah Departs from This World

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A large crowd gathered in the Yeshiva Letze'irim Manchester Beth Medrash and adjacent rooms on Monday to hear words of Torah and his'orerus on the gaon and tzaddik Reb Chaim Shmuel Lopian, zt'l.

The rosh yeshiva, Reb Yosef Brandeis, a close talmid, vividly described Reb Chaim Shmuel's Torah genius, his outstanding character traits, his shleimus in humility and anovoh, relating many moving stories and giving everyone present the feeling of having lost a living sefer Torah.

Once someone wanted to find a particular ma'amar Chazal. He asked a rav, a great talmid chochom, who thought for a while and said, "In the whole Bavli there is no such ma'amar."

The next morning this person asked Rav Chaim Shmuel, zt'l who said, "It's in the Yerushalmi!"

Rav Pinsky, zt'l, the brother-in-law of Rav Lopian, once asked him why he bought so many seforim that he didn't have time to learn from. Rav Chaim Shmuel said, "Test me."

Three seforim were taken out at random. Wherever he opened them, Rav Chaim Shmuel just quoted that page by heart.

A talmid chochom in Kelm referred to someone who was fluent in all Shas with Ketzos, Nesivos and Machaneh Efraim -- Rav Chaim Shmuel once said.

His gentleness and good middos were astounding. Staying by a relative in Manchester when he was over 80 years old, he was seen bending down under the table. "What are you looking for?" he was asked.

"It's erev Shabbos," was his reply. "Surely the room has been swept already. I just had some cake, and being an old man I might have dropped some crumbs."

A neighbor in Yerushalayim was blessed with the birth of a child. When Rav Chaim Shmuel, zt'l went to wish him mazel tov, he apologized that he couldn't offer normal neighborly help, due to his advanced age. In all sincerity, he begged the new father to tell him how much bread and milk he could buy for him from the local shop. . . .

He once arrived late at a Pirchei Siyum in London. As everyone rose to their feet, Rav Chaim Shmuel turned around to see who else had just entered, not dreaming that people had gotten up to honor him.

His seiver panim yafos was legendary, under any -- often difficult -- circumstances.

A mashgiach told an awesome story. A certain bochur had become lax in his davening and Torah study. One day, while he was on his way to perform a particular aveiro, he met Rav Chaim Shmuel on the street. The latter greeted him with his usual warm, caring smile. The bochur could go no further. He turned back, wept profusely and changed into a new person: a serious talmid chochom, newly imbued with yiras Hashem.

We are not consoled by the fact that Rav Chaim Shmuel zt'l was taken from us at an elderly age. When a sefer Torah burns does it make a different whether it is a new one or an old one? Mi yitein timuraso?

HaRav Avrohom Gurwitz, rosh yeshiva in Gateshead and the nephew of Rav Chaim Shmuel, zt'l, spoke words of great insight. He explained that if one views everything that happens in the correct manner, a person will always realize that this world is only a corridor to the palace and that death is the goal, the passageway to the real world.

HaRav Gurwitz quoted: "Happy is the man who is great in Torah" (Rav Chaim Shmuel published a wonderful sefer Ravcho Shmaiteso in his young years); "happy is the man who toils in Torah" (as he did all his life); the man that gives nachas to his Creator (in so many ways Rav Chaim Shmuel zt"l did) and has a good name in both worlds!

He continued quoting from Ben Yehoyodo, "Who is called a ben olom haboh? He who is humble in his own opinion behaves humbly to others, is not jealous of others, and truly rejoices with other people's good fortune."

Having possessed all these qualities, Rav Chaim Shmuel will remain in everyone's memory the example of a happy person according to Chazal as well as a ben olom haboh. May his memory be a blessing for Klal Yisroel.


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