SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Introduction (Continued)
We live in very difficult times. How great is our yearning for the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, when our nation’s suffering will end! The question is: What can we do to make this happen?
A lot, says the Chofetz Chaim, for it is within our power to end this galus.
The Gemara teaches that the primary sin that led to the destruction of the Second Beis HaMikdash was sinas chinam, baseless hatred among Jews. The Chofetz Chaim says that hatred alone would not have caused the Churban. The Gemara must be referring to hatred and the lashon hara that it brought about. And, if the sin of lashon hara brought us into galus, surely it has the power to keep us there.
Furthermore, says the Chofetz Chaim, it was following an episode involving lashon hara that Hashem decreed exile upon His beloved people.
The Torah states that when the Meraglim (Spies) returned from their mission in Eretz Yisrael with a slanderous report, the Jews were punished by having to remain in the Wilderness for forty years. The Gemara teaches that they were punished in another way as well:
R’ Yochanan said: This day [when they returned with their report] was Erev Tishah B’Av [and the people cried that night after hearing the report]. HaKadosh Baruch Hu said: ‘You wept for no reason. I will establish this night for you as a time of weeping for all generations.’”
Thus, because of the Spies’ lashon hara, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and our nation’s exile were decreed.
The Chofetz Chaim makes another important point, which we will now elaborate on.
Receiving a blessing from a tzaddik is something very special. A tzaddik’s words have great power in Heaven, and therefore his blessings are eagerly sought.
Far greater than a tzaddik’s blessing is a blessing received directly from Hashem. No one would intentionally do something that might cause him to squander such a blessing — or so it would seem.
The Torah states: “Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor in secrecy.”3 This refers to one who “attacks” his neighbor secretly by speaking lashon hara about him.4 Says the Chofetz Chaim, “How can the berachos of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, which we yearn for, come to rest upon us when, to our misfortune, we are in the habit of committing this sin?”
So the next time you are tempted to speak lashon hara, think to yourself, “Hashem loves me and wants to shower me with berachah, and I certainly want to receive His berachah. I had better guard my tongue — there is too much at stake.”
IN A NUTSHELL
The key to ending this galus and to meriting Hashem’s infinite blessings is to eradicate the sins of sinas chinam and lashon hara.
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