SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Introduction
The Chofetz Chaim begins his magnificent work on the laws of shemiras halashon (guarding one’s speech) by summarizing our purpose in life. Hashem separated us from the other nations, gave us His precious Torah, and brought us to the holy land of Eretz Yisrael so that we could become a holy people by keeping His mitzvos (commandments). “His intention is entirely for our good,” says the Chofetz Chaim, “for by living a Torah life, we make ourselves deserving of Hashem’s kindness, in this world and the next. “
Hashem loves us very, very much, – more than we can imagine. Therefore, He gave us the 613 mitzvos, 613 precious gifts through which we we are able to draw close to Hashem and earn His blessings. And, says the Chofetz Chaim, Hashem has shown us His love in another important way:
If a person gives someone a gift and then sees that the recipient fails to appreciate what he has been given, the donor may take the gift back. Hashem, however, takes a different approach. In His great love for us, He seeks ways to awaken us to teshuvah (repentance) so that we can continue to earn His great blessings. Therefore, throughout the period of the first Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple), Hashem sent nevi’im (prophets), who told our ancestors what they were doing wrong and guided them along the path of teshuvah.
Eventually, due to our sins, Hashem had no choice but to banish us from our land. However, He stands ready to redeem us, if only we will correct the sins that led to our exile.
We can accomplish this by focusing on how much Hashem loves us. In Sefer Shemiras HaLashon, the Chofetz Chaim offers a powerful mashal(parable):
Reuven and Shimon are involved in a bitter dispute. One day, someone approaches Reuven and says, “You know, the other day I saw one of the Torah giants of our time showing great love and respect for Shimon.”
Reuven is surprised, to say the least. However, he is not convinced. Perhaps Shimon is a top-notch faker, so that he can trick even the leaders of the generation into thinking that he is a tzaddik!
Then someone tells Reuven, “I saw the great Tanna Rabi Yehudah HaNasi showing great love and admiration for Shimon.” Another man approaches Reuven and says, “I heard Eliyahu HaNavi say that he heard Hashem saying that He loves Shimon very much.”
“Woe is me!” Reuven cries. “How wrong I’ve been about Shimon!”
Hashem loves every Jew with a deep, unconditional love. How, then, can we dislike or speak against any Jew? Is it possible to hate the person Hashem loves?
IN A NUTSHELL
We must focus on how much Hashem loves each and every one of us, and how He yearns, as it were, to return us to our Land and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash.
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