Harav Eliyahu Lopian, the mashgiach of Yeshiva Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim, was one of the great students of Kelm, who still merited to attend to the Alter of Kelm, Harav Simcha, Zissel Ziv zt”l, the great disciple of the Ohr Yisroel of Salant. Harav Elya, who, according to the Sfas Emes, merited to experience the revelation of Eliyahu Hanovi, served as a bridge between past generations and our present one, due to his unique personality. Harav Elya aroused fellow Jews in respect to kedushas Shabbos, especially the final Shabossos of the year.
Every year, at the end of Elul, after a month of deep and penetrating sichos on ways of preparing for Yom Hadin, he would say a special discourse dealing with the last Shabbosim of the year, especially the final one. In this discourse he would say that in Kelm it was customary to deliver shmoozen on that topic too in time for the last Shabbos of the year. In that shmooze he would quote Chazal as saying when a prominent guest visits your home, you prepare a meal which consists of fish, meat and other delicacies. However, if the guest stays at your home an entire year, you don’ offer him meat and fish every time he dines. Your behavior towards him differs when it is time for him to leave. On that occasion, you once more prepare a lavish feast in his honor.
We should conduct ourselves this way in respect to the final Shabbosim of the year. Even if we haven’t honored Shabbos properly all year round, we should nonetheless make extra efforts to the final Shabbosim of the year, to honor it more than usual, since it is like a guest about to part with us.
In this vein, Harav Elya would tell the bnei yeshiva: “Let us usher in Shabbos out of Torah learning, one hour before kabbalas Shabbos. All of the bnei yeshiva will assemble in the yeshiva, then let us eat the Shabbos meals, lechovod Shabbos kodesh, because a person who doesn’t eat the food lechovod Shabbos doesn’t honor the Shabbos, but rather himself. If a person does on sanctifying Shabbos while eating, he thereby honors it. Toward the end of his shmooze he said that Shabbos is a reality which one can sense with his neshomah yesaira. He then added: “The Alter of Kelm suffered from anemia during his final years, and appeared pale all week. However, from the time Shabbos entered, until it ended his face was like a flame, and he looked healthy and strong all day long. Everyone who learned in Kelm saw this. The Ari Hakadosh says that a person who doesn’t’ immerse in a mikveh on erev Shabbos, lacks the ability to receive his neshomah yesaira. The Rambam says that talmidei chachamim immerse in the sea of the Talmud. However we, the simple people must immerse in water, in order to honor Shabbos properly.
Throughout his sichos over the entire years, he would focus on kedushas Shabbos in particular. He would relate that in Kelm, Thursday afternoons was designated for the student to prepare their mundane Shabbos needs, such as laundering their clothing and taking haircuts. At such time they would also write letters home. On Fridays after shacharis and breakfast they would learn all day until shortly before Shabbos, and then leave just enough time for changing clothing in honor of Shabbos.
Harav Elya Lopian spent one Shabbos at the Chofetz Chaim’s home in Radin. On that occasion, he quoted Chazal as saying that Shabbos is equivalent to the entire Torah, and that as a result every mitzvah one does on Shabbos corresponds to the 613 mitzvohs. The Gra says that every word of Torah learning is a mitzvah, and thus when a person learns Torah on Shabbos, every word is multiplied by 613 mitzvohs. The Chofetz Chaim figured that in one minute of Torah leaning on Shabbos one can speak 200 words of Torah, and the reward for learning one minute of Torah on Shabbos is equal to 122,600 mitzvohs. If we multiply this by hours, there is no limit to the reward from learning on Shabbos.
(Harav Elya Lopian’s yahrzeit is 20 Elul)