Q: Isn’t one supposed to refrain from loshon hora all day, every day?
A: Of course loshon hora is prohibited at all times.
A Machsom L’Fi does not mean that one is allowed to speak loshon hora during the rest of the day. Rather, the program is meant to create a time period of extra focus, during which people will concentrate on “thinking before they speak.” Building this ability is an absolute prerequisite for success in Shmiras Haloshon.
Q: What is the use of keeping Shmiras Haloshon for just one hour?
A: Doing any mitzvah for an hour earns tremendous merit. For Shmiras Haloshon in particular, the Vilna Gaon states that even one moment of restraint earns a reward beyond the comprehension of angels.
Practically, when a person takes on and masters this mitzvah for the limited time period of the Machsom L’Fi, he begins to feel a greater sense of control in his habits of speech, which strengthens his restraint throughout the day. In addition, Machsom L’Fi groups have had great success bringing merit to those in need of yeshuos of all kinds.
Q: I’ve heard the joke. “Now is my Machsom L’Fi. Call me in an hour and I’ll tell you the loshon hora.” How does one hour actually carry over to the rest of the day?
A: Once people experience the sweetness of Shmiras Haloshon, they are not eager to “get back in the mud” an hour later.
Furthermore, most people find that if they’ve put their loshon hora on the back-burner for an hour or two, by the time the Machsom L’Fi is over, their burning desire to tell the story has been extinguished. Finally, even if a person does succumb to temptation later, he has still earned immeasurable reward for his period of restraint, and has strengthened the “spiritual muscle” he had used to maintain his silence at that time.