SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Introduction (Continued)
We live in a world where, unfortunately, falsehood is all too common. Advertising, which is a multibillion-dollar industry, often tries to convince people that products of poor quality are the best that money can buy. Politicians running for office will say anything that can get them elected. To exaggerate in order to make a point is accepted as normal.
This is not the Torah way. The Chofetz Chaim was exceptional in his midas ha’emes, quality of truth, both in how he lived and how he spoke. It was only natural, then, that when writing his very first sefer, Chofetz Chaim, he would be exceptionally careful in choosing the right words for each halachah.
In this segment, the Chofetz Chaim tells us how careful he was:
Every paragraph of this sefer has been carefully researched (together with friends who are gedolei Torah). I searched again and again to make sure that nothing contradicts anything in Shas. Many times, I concentrated on one point for many days until, with Hashem’s help, I clarified the matter according to Torah truth.
My hope to Hashem is that a reader who will examine each halachah carefully will see that we were exact with every word in this sefer … Whoever will judge me favorably will be judged by Hashem the same way.
One of the great Torah giants of the previous generation, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, made a fascinating statement regarding the writings of the Chofetz Chaim: Because the Chofetz Chaim was exceptionally careful with his words in daily life (and perhaps also because he taught the Jewish nation to be very careful in matters of speech), he merited a special siyata diShmaya (assistance from Heaven). We know that the writings of the Rishonim (Early Commentators) are very precise. Every word is measured and requires careful study. R’ Yaakov wrote that the Chofetz Chaim’s works were written with this kind of precision and we should measure each one of his words very carefully.
The Midrash tells us that if a Jew toils to study the laws of a particular sin, then Hashem will reward him by weakening his yetzer hara for that sin. Thus, says the Chofetz Chaim, learning these laws will weaken a person’s desire to speak lashon hara. Once a person controls his speech a bit, as time goes on he will learn to control it more and more until he has mastered the great quality of shemiras halashon.
If someone makes an effort to improve, then he is granted siyata diShmaya to accomplish his goal. When we study Sefer Chofetz Chaim, we are making an effort to improve our speech. Hashem will surely assist us in our efforts, and with time we will feel the joy and satisfaction of using the gift of speech only for the good.
IN A NUTSHELL
Every word of Sefer Chofetz Chaim was written with exacting precision. Studying these laws qill weaken our desire to speak lashon hara.
-A project of Mesorah Publications –