Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

15 Av 5759 - July 28, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Yom Iyun -- the Annual Yerushalayim Shemiras Haloshon Rally

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

"The Ribono Shel Olom loves this day," says one of the organizers of the annual Shemiras Haloshon Yom Iyun. With very little publicity outside of word of mouth, with no backing from any organization, group or affiliation, outside of the 42,000 invitations printed by the organizers, this endeavor draws ten thousand women to the climactic evening rally alone.

All the invitations are distributed. They reach that many homes, and in each home, probably one person attends one lecture, if not several! The day lectures in Jerusalem alone check in close to thirty thousand adults, to say nothing of separate lectures for boys and girls in dozens of neighborhoods.

We will continue to boggle your minds with facts and figures, but first, an explanation of our opening remark.

You'd expect that planning something on such a tremendous scale would entail hitches, setbacks, snags, even differences of opinion here and there. Not so! There is an incredible amount of organizational work involved, but ever so much heavenly backing to make sure that things do work out.

Take the time that one major center had prescheduled a two day summer activity program in its large facilities on the same day as the Yom Iyun. They had many alternate suggestions for the organizers, but the latter insisted. "It won't help you. The Ribono Shel Olom loves this day," said the planner, not fazed. The invitations were already in the making. "This is the ideal place. We've been using it for over a dozen years. It is accessible to old people since it has very few steps." And so on. All true, as we witnessed this year again: old timers with walkers, canes, human supporters, flocking here to hear Rebbetzin Shain, eight hundred strong.

The organizers made no alternate plans but bided their time and let the Boss do the rest. He came through. Two weeks later, the administrator of that hall called up and said, "It's yours." They were afraid to tamper with the chazoko.

You may have noticed some awkwardness in the above. We don't mention names. No one takes credit. There are no signors anywhere. Everyone does their bit, like cells in a body, all important.

It is almost ridiculous, sometimes, the way they run away from credit. One of the most important ways this event is financially covered is that the halls are donated in memory of deceased relatives, or for the speedy recovery of others.

This year, the radio station Kol Simcha promoted the upcoming Yom Iyun and a listener who wished to contribute wanted more information, but didn't know whom to turn to. There was no phone number, no address, nothing. He finally learned that one of the halls had been donated in the name of a deceased member of a family in Bnei Brak. He called up Bezek information, got five numbers for that name, and finally hit on the right one. And that family was able to connect him to the person in Jerusalem in charge of these financial matters.

Fifty to sixty thousand dollars for one day? For a one shot affair? All wrong. Shemiras Haloshon is a twenty-four-hour-a- day project all year round. To mention only a few of the related activities: weekly and monthly shiurim in various neighborhoods throughout the world; learning partnerships arranged by phone; dial-a-lesson and even dial-a- shaylo in key parts of the country (also in countries abroad); girls' Friday night groups (more later); literature, tape libraries on this subject alone; video tapes that travel the world. This event is the climax, the focal point of a whole year's activities.

This year's main Hebrew rally was in memory of the Mashgiach of Beis Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, R' Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, zt'l, and the main English Rally was in memory of R' Chaim Schmelczer zt'l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Telz, Chicago.

The person behind the Chofetz Chaim Foundation in America, whose activities should be familiar to all, says that it was all the activity generated by Yom Iyum eight years ago that started him going. This year, he arranged for the free distribution of a guide booklet on "Shemiras Haloshon in Shidduchim."

"But they charge admission!" A joke. For five shekel you can attend a full day of lectures, up to six. (There were about 80 rotating lecturers. "We didn't count the number of lectures.") And twelve shekel for the main rally? This must cover invitations, rented halls, rented chairs, transportation for speakers and much more details that we cannot begin to know.

But even $50,000 is a small sum to pay for the overall impact made by this day.

Some more figures, please? Ten thousand tickets sold out in advance, an extra hall ordered the last minute for a standing room audience of several hundred. Bus loads from Rechasim, Bnei Brak, Tifrach, Ofakim. Video tapes going to Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, U.S., Europe.

Sometimes, single figures say much more. Like the woman from Eilat who organized a taxi for four at a cost of 1800 shekel (about $450) just to attend. Can we assess the impact of shemiras haloshon in Eilat, the ripple effect?

If it is impossible to imagine the tremendous reward that awaits a person who controls his tongue just one time, as the Chofetz Chaim promises, how can we begin to tote up the huge credit for all of Klal Yisroel, for myriads of times?

Hold your tongue a moment. Listen. Can't you hear the footfalls of Moshiach approaching?

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