This Rosh Hashana, it will be Different
September 8, 2022
Chofet zChaim Heritage Foundation’s Tools for Change Make Elul Kabbalos a Reality
We klap the same Al Cheits every year. So many of them are about the words that come out of our mouth, and unless we’ve worked on shemiras halashon all year,we stand in shul thinking, I’ve done it again. Why can’t I break this habit? Why did I have to pass on that rumor? Repeat that story? Pronounce judgment on people? Listen to that gossip?
We recall words we’ve said and heard,and our remorse is real. But wasn’t it real last year too, and the year before that?
Everyone whos eears were open in the past few decades has heard the refrain: shemiras halashon opens the channels of brachah and earns us Hashem’s protection. We know shemiras halashon is vital. So,what can we do differently this Elul to bring what we know from our head to our heart?
The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s mission is to give every Jew away to bring all the brachah of shemiras halashon in to their life, whether they are a scholar or a simple Jew, one who is “stretched too thin” or one with time to spare, a patient tzaddik or a hothead.
For every Jew, there’s a tool that fits. As we count the days of Elul, the time is right to grasp one of these tools and use it to change our habits of speech so that when we stand before Hashem on Rosh Hashanah, we will be holding the transformative merit of shemiras halashon.We will be able to honestly say, “I’ve changed,”and on Yom Kippur, our Al Cheits for the aveiros involvingspeech will have new power, for “I’m sorry” only counts when we sincerely try to do better.
But Klal Yisrael is a busy nation. That means that people often feel, I’d like to do it. I know I should. But there’s no time.
CCHF’s newbook, 40 Days of Caring: Build the Habit That Builds Your Blessings, published by ArtScroll, not only takesj ust three minutes a day to learn, but is designed to inject that learning straight in to the heart. It taps into two unique features: the power of working for 40 consecutive days to change a middah, as described by Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk and others; and the succinct, varied elements in each lesson which fight the lashon hora battle on multiple fronts.
- A “Daily Dilemma”: a short, realistic shemiras halashon conundrum emerging from an every day situation. Answers are reviewed by Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Lowy.
- “Growing One Day Greater”: a few brief paragraphs providing a refreshing insight in to speech and its impact on our relationships.
- “Go For It”:a daily practical step to implement the point of “Growing One Day Greater.”
- “Look at It This Way”: a quote offering a new perspective on some aspect of ahavas Yisrael, shemiras halashon, or relationships.
- A quote from one of the Chafetz Chaim’s original works.
And all of this takes approximately three minutes to read.
Adding further power and appeal to this unique book, the learning section is followed by 120 true stories. Some illustrate triumphs, some depict mistakes and awakenings, and all are relatable. A “Go For It” feature after each story encourages putting the inspiration into action.
Although the book has only recently hit the book stores, readers are already sharing their enthusiasm.“Thank you for this incredible book,”one reader wrote.“I started learning with my wife, and I can’t believe how you packed so much in sight into each spread while keeping it so easy to read and relate to.”
To those who have been learning shemiras halashon for years, this concise ,varied , and practical presentation is a turbo-booster. And for anyone looking to maximize the 40 days between Elul and YomKippur, it is a custom-designed tool.
HourofCaring:the zechus thatsaysitall
At this time of year, many people who are engaging in a sincere cheshbon hanefesh think about people they know who need yeshuos and regret their own inability to do something practical to help.
Someone is ill, and we don’t have acure. Someone is longing to be married, but we don’t have the shidduch. Someone is struggling financially, but we don’t have the funds to help. We say we care. We feel we care. But is there something more we can be doing?
The Hour of Caring brings to a person in need of Hashem’s compassion the monumental merit of an entire group of relatives and friends dedicating an hour of shemiras halashon to their yeshuah. This 40-day program is essentially a machsom l’fi,in which all the participants commit to refraining from speaking or hearing lashon hara for a set time. However, with Hour of Caring, all the participants participate during the same hour. As an addition, the group’s members receive an animated video clip daily, illustrating with wit and clarity a halachah of shemiras halashon.
The feed back testifies to the impact:
“The Hour of Caring changed my life,”one participant wrote. “I now think before I speak. I try to think before I text. And I stand up for myself when I hear others say lashon hara…I am proud to be conscious of my speach. You made a huge impact on my life!”
Another wrote,“Thanks for such an interesting and engaging way of learning shemiras halashon. Whenever I try, I always have a hard time sticking to the learning, but because this shows up in my in box every day and is so interesting, I get to learn some thing everyday!”
“I want to thank you for the videos, ”wrote another participant. “They are such an enjoyable way to learn these halachos. I get so excited to see a new one in my inbox. The lessons are very relevant. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
And the feedback CCHF is most pleased to hear: “We just heard the good news for a person for whom this was a zechus—he had a yeshuah, baruch Hashem! We found out on day 40!”
ClarityCalls: know what to answer
Even those who avoid lashon hara scrupulously know that halachah requires us to speak negatively for a constructive purpose, l’to’eles.This becomes especially relevant when people call about a potential shidduch.
If there’s negative information, we might spill it all, believing that as long as there’s a constructive purpose, we need not restrain ourselves. Or, we might mistakenly with hold information we should be giving—information that could protect one of the parties from harm. The damage we can do when we answer such questions without fully understanding the relevant laws can be devastating—and we may never even realize what we’ve done.
To prevent these mistakes, CCHF created Clarity Calls. It includes:
- A daily question and answer for 40 days
- A downloadable halachic guide
- Inspiring, informative videos
Helping someone find the right shidduch is one of the greatest applications of our power of speech. Through Clarity Calls, we can tap into the wisdom of shemiras halashon both to promote shidduchim and to prevent harm.
Linear Sefer Chofetz Chaim
For any one who wants to learn shemiras halashon,th eoriginal Sefer Chafetz Chaim is the most accurate and complete resource. However , its complexity and the sparseness of the Chafetz Chaim’s language some times dissuade people from diving into this masterpiece.
With the introduction of the new Linear Sefer Chofetz Chaim, written and edited by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and published by ArtScroll, aunique, long-awaited resource is available to any one who wants to keep learning and growing. What makes this sefer unique is its unprecedented clarity and its faithfulness to the Chafetz Chaim’s original writings. It includes:
- The Chafetz Chaim’s original Hebrew, translated verse by verse with in the text
- Elucidating headings that focus on the overall concept about to be covered
- Interlinear clarification of the translation to eliminate any ambiguity
- Foot footnote’s that explain complicated concepts
- Relatable examples of the concepts in action
This volume was an idea whose time had come. As one reader wrote,“I always wished Art Scoll would come out with an elucidated Chafetz Chaim but never thought it would happen…The translations and elucidations are sobeautiful and crystal clear.It is such a pleasure to learn. This will bring the heilige words of the Chafetz Chaim to so many more people for generations to come…”
Make a move
Taking one of these tools in hand and making it the center piece of Elul can change us, in turn changing our RoshHashanah and our year. May our efforts to think and speak kindly about our fellow Jews—Hashem’s beloved children—bring all o fKlal Yisrael a year of brachah and shalom.