Rabbi C. is a ram in a prominent yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Today, he teaches Torah to his many yeshiva students. But he
is also the man who designed the posters which have been
distributed during this past year throughout all chareidi
centers in the country with slogans like: "It's Up to Us to
Stop the Fire."
Rabbi C. was once a professional copywriter. Like so many
others, he decided to become involved in the amazing Notzrei
Loshon campaign, which has been particularly active in the
past few months.
"Tens of thousands of people have begun to study the laws of
shemiras haloshon as a result of the huge colored
posters lining the billboards of chareidi communities,"
Notzrei Loshon volunteers note. The posters are eye-catching
and attractive, and people have simply been persuaded not to
remain indifferent to current events, convinced that their
manner of speech had to be changed. No more loshon
hora, but rather the extinguishing of the fire. One who
probes the halochos of loshon hora surely knows to
which fire we are referring.
Rabbi C. decided to contribute his professional skills to the
effort and devised the many slogans and posters which have
transformed the campaign into an "aggressive" one:
professionally speaking, of course.
This is the most vigorous advertising campaign to take place
in Israel since the recent elections, when billboards all
over the country were inundated with scores of placards.
In the wake of the Torah community's awareness of the vital
need to study the laws of shemiras haloshon, the
Notzrei Loshon organization has been making all-out efforts
to encourage avreichim, bnei yeshiva, baalei batim and
others to study the laws of loshon hora. The campaign,
directed at men between the ages of 13 and 120, was
publicized a number of weeks ago in newspapers and on public
billboards. It has aroused the unprecedented interest and
support of maranan verabonon, the gedolei
As a result of the campaign, many men have resolved to study
the laws of shemiras haloshon ten minutes a day,
following a systematic program. 3800 people registered in the
program throughout the country, embarking upon a daily study
of the laws from the sefer Chofetz Chaim, beginning
with hilchos loshon hora, klal alef.
The program is simple: Everyone who was tested had to study
the laws from klal alef until the end of klal
yud for ten minutes a day for fifty days, with the
possibility of studying twenty minutes a day for those who
Valuable prizes were promised those who participated in the
study program and the tests, as well as an opportunity to
participate in a lottery. The first prize was 1000 dollars;
second prize, 800, and third prize, 500 dollars. One hundred
other winners each received 100 dollars. The prizes are, of
course, secondary to the genuine premium: amassing knowledge
in the important laws of loshon hora, the study of
which is referred to as "one of the pillars that maintains
the entire world."
An hour before the rally, a test was held for the thousands
of participants who had studied the laws of loshon
hora ten minutes a day for fifty days. It was inspiring
to see that the great interest that had been displayed at the
start of the campaign did not wane during the days preceding
the rally and test. Hundreds of people called to ask if they
might participate in the test although they had not managed
to study a halocho a day for ten minutes. Notzrei
Loshon urged these people to try to complete the
halochos and make up for the time they had missed.
Many people who had registered for the campaign did not want
to be tested on the material although they were familiar with
it, because they had not participated in the campaign from
It was an impressive event in which Jews from all circles of
the chareidi community united around a topic of utmost
importance: the study of the laws of shemiras haloshon
and the laws of bein odom lechavero. Buses from Haifa,
Tifrach, Yeruchom, Bnei Brak, Netanya and Netivot brought
thousands of bnei Torah from all over the country to
the event. More than 5000 people filled the Tamir halls. A
sound system transmitted the event outside the main
auditorium, as did giant screens stationed inside and outside
The dais was graced by gedolei haTorah vehaChassidus,
roshei yeshiva, ramim, roshei kollel, rabbonim and
admorim. There were thousands of avreichim and
bnei yeshiva. The fact that the event was held during
bein hazmanim greatly contributed to its success. In
this way, regular yeshiva study sessions were not disrupted
and large groups of yeshiva students were able to attend.
Letter of HaRav Lefkowitz
HaRav Betzalel Trovitz, the chairman of the Notzrei Loshon
organization, and a mashgiach in Toras Yechiel, read
the letter HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz sent to the rally.
"To the esteemed founders and heads of the Notzrei Loshon
organization, may they merit long life, and to all of the
participants in the important rally for the strengthening and
the inculcation of the awareness of the need to study and
review the holy work, Chofetz Chaim: Blessed are you
from the Source of blessings for having assembled in order to
strengthen yourselves on the issue of guarding your speech by
the study of the seforim, Chofetz Chaim and
Shemiras Haloshon. Many of the basic principles of the
Torah and of the mitzvos bein odom lechavero are
dependent on our speech, and whoever is careful in this vital
area acquires genuine life.
"The author of Afikei Yam was one of the outstanding
students of the Chofetz Chaim. Toward the end of the second
half of his sefer, he presents very valuable insights
under the title "Peninei Yam." In section
reish, he writes that the Chofetz Chaim knew that even
though it is difficult to refrain from speaking loshon
hora and rechilus, it should suffice to reflect
that, as alluded to by the verse, "nefesh omeil, omlo
lo," one might lose all of his exertion and toil in Torah
and mitzvos by speaking loshon hora, and his share
will instead be given to one who never toiled in Torah.
"He also says that the aphorism, `Life and death are in the
power of the tongue,' is to be interpreted in its literal
sense, for when one studies the Torah hakedosha every
single word of his is considered a mitzvah, while when one is
neglectful of his speech he is judged for every improper word
he says something. The result is that if he is not careful
about his speech he is likely to have more sins than merits.
In fifteen minutes of speaking loshon hora one utters
approximately 3000 words. The Chofetz Chaim writes that he
checked his own speech and in one minute he uttered 200
words, so that one who is involved in Torah study surely has
"By means of one expression of loshon hora one may
violate a few hundred thousand negative commandments. For
example, if one maligns his fellow in a newspaper read by
read by hundreds of thousands of people, he has violated the
command of "lifnei iveir" for each person who accepts
his slander. The best way to avoid loshon hora is by
fulfilling the mitzva to give one's fellow the benefit of the
"The root of most of disputes stems from the fact that each
side is absolutely certain he is right. However, even when
there are differences of opinion one should behave according
to the Torah, respecting and being mindful of the other's
honor. In that manner one will be able to cultivate the
quality of ahavas habriyos and to fulfill the positive
command of `love your neighbor as yourself.' In addition to
this, the Torah study of one whose mouth is clean and pure
and devoid of forbidden speech, is entirely and purely Torah,
just like what was given on Sinai."
HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav Shmuel Wosner and HaRav
Yechiel Michel Feinstein also sent letters.