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24 Shevat 5766 - February 22, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Study of the Laws of Loshon Hora Gains Impetus

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Rosh Chodesh Shevat (5766) marked the beginning of a new cycle of the study of the laws of loshon hora, according to the calendar arranged by HaRav Yitzchok Segal of Manchester zt"l (whose yahrtzeit was 22 Shvat). On that occasion, many newcomers joined the hundreds of thousands of Jews the world over who are already pursuing this program, which entails studying two halochos per day from the Chofetz Chaim's Shemiras Haloshon.

Regarding this study, HaRav Segal said: "Every family that studies two halochos of shemiras haloshon a day, merits to see a some sort of yeshuo, be it financially or in the finding of mates for their children or in other areas."

The organization Notzrei Loshon is one of the main initiators of these programs. Discussing the great impetus the study of these halochos has gained over recent years, Notzrei Loshon's coordinators say: "Until recently, the study of the laws of shemiras haloshon was nearly the exclusive pursuit of a few tzaddikim. Today the study of these laws on a regular basis, at specific times and periods such as during Bein Hametzorim (the Three Weeks) and Yemei Hashovavim (the weeks of parshas Shemos through Mishpotim), has become widespread."

This past Bein Hametzarim, Notzrei Loshon sponsored a series of shiurim for men on the halochos of shemiras haloshon in a number of cities, such as Kiryat Sefer, Brachfeld, Elad, Rechovot, Ashdod, Tiveria, Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim, with unprecedented results. Each series consisted of three shiurim.

The purpose of these shiurim was to stress that the halochos of loshon hora are just as important as those of milk and meat, and are practical halochos which one must study, in order to know how to avoid sinning in this area.

When the Notzrei Loshon activists of Brachfeld organized these shiurim in their city, they didn't expect even ten people to attend. How surprised they were, when nearly one hundred people showed up to each of the three shiurim. In Kiryat Sefer, a similar phenomenon took place, and the many shuls where the shiurim were held were filled to capacity.

Similar shiurim were organized in Bnei Brak during Bein Hametzarim. Describing these shiurim, their coordinator says: "They were delivered by the foremost rabbonim, such as Rav Yaakov Destin and Rav Yaakov Meir Stern."

When asked how they organized them, the coordinators said: "We approached the organizers of already existing shiurim and asked if during the Three Weeks, they could change their programs and focus on the laws of shemiras haloshon. HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, the rav of Ramat Elchonon, was one of the prominent maggidei shiurim who allotted time to this topic."

"This particular period," say the coordinators of Notzrei Loshon, "wasn't chosen at random. It was selected in order to help rectify the sin of sinas chinom for which the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed.

In Bnei Brak, shiurim were delivered in fifteen shuls throughout the city, with nearly 500 people attending one particular shiur on Shabbos.

The organizers of the shiurim have a very interesting story to tell. They relate that they asked Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv to sign a letter calling the public to participate in these shiurim.

Maran HaRav Eliashiv, though, saw no reason for such a letter, and asked: "Is it also necessary to sign a letter saying that one is obligated to hear the Reading of the Torah?"

"Sadly the public doesn't see things that way," the organizer said.

"You have just said genuine loshon hora about the tzibbur," Maran HaRav Eliashiv replied and signed.

"Throughout the entire campaign, Maran HaRav Eliashiv encouraged and backed us immensely," the organizer continued.

Chassanim Project

Another of Notzrei Loshon's activities is the chassanim project, which began in Ponovezh. Within the framework of this project, newly-married couples receive two copies of the Chofetz Chaim's sefer, accompanied by a warm letter stating that if a couple studies two halochos from the Chofetz Chaim's Shemiras Haloshon together every day, it is laying a strong foundation for its new home.

This project is subsidized by Shimon Eran Endo, who donated the money for the distribution of these seforim.

Other Activities

In Rechovot and Ashdod, 15,000 copies of a journal which is dedicated to the topic of shemiras loshon hora are distributed. Illustrious talmidei chachomim contribute to this journal, and the rulings of gedolim such as HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and others are cited.

In addition, tests are held at the end of every month on the subject matter being studied in the two-halochos-a-day cycle. These tests appear in the journal, and may be answered while one has an open book in front of him. They are then dropped into special, beautifully designed boxes, hung throughout the city. Whoever takes them and receives a grade of no less than 85 percent, is granted a special stipend.

In addition to all this, special pamphlets which include tests are distributed throughout yeshivos in the country, and those who are tested receive stubs entitling them to books and other items.

Similar activities are held for girls in schools and seminaries throughout the country, where the study of shemiras haloshon is pursued. There are even programs in kindergartens in which the subject is presented on a suitable level.

Despite the broad activity, Notzrei Loshon doesn't rest on its laurels, and is striving to reach every single Jewish home. "We can't suffice with a majority. Klal Yisroel must be totally cleansed of loshon hora and dissent, especially during these difficult days of ikveso deMeshicha."

Looseleaf Format

A while ago, Notzrei Loshon prepared a special looseleaf format of the Chofetz Chaim's Shemiras Haloshon. Each page in this unique book is laminated, and can be removed from the looseleaf and then returned to it. This looseleaf is suitable for public places, such as yeshiva dining rooms and teachers' rooms, and enables group study with ease.

The printing and lamination of each page were very costly. Nonetheless, the looseleaf is sold at a low price. Generous donors, who perpetuated the names of their dear ones, helped subsidize this project.

In a similar vein, copies of the Chofetz Chaim on Shemiras Haloshon were sold at a token price to individuals and groups who resolved to study from the sefer on a steady basis. Over 300,000 copies of this sefer were printed and sold at less than cost price.

Children's Activities

Notzrei Loshon sponsors many activities for children. Last Purim (5765) Notzrei Loshon, along with Mishmeres Hasholom, organized a competition for children whose costumes were related to the topic of shemiras haloshon. Recently, 7,000 copies of the sefer Gam Ani Notzer Leshoni for children, were printed.

Women's Activities

The Mishmeres Hashalom organization, which is comprised of thousands of women volunteers, put out special pamphlets a number of months ago for home and family use. These pamphlets strengthen the awareness of the importance of studying two halochos on shemiras haloshon a day. Over 2,000 regional representatives function in various neighborhoods, going from house to house, distributing material on shemiras haloshon. In addition, it sponsors a special chavrusa program, in which women study the two halochos together by telephone. Following are the numbers of the headquarters where such chavrusas can be arranged:

For Hebrew speakers in Israel: 02-5821180, 03-5748153.

For English and Yiddish speakers in Israel: 02-5384702

For Russian speakers: 08-9922301

In the United States: 732-8866111

In England: 208-2091340

Ahavas Chessed

Recently, many avreichim have also begun to study the Chofetz Chaim's Ahavas Chessed on a steady basis. This study is a direct offshoot of Shemiras Haloshon, since shemiras haloshon constitutes "sur mei-ra," and Ahavas Chessed constitutes "asei tov."

Am Yisroel kedoshim! May all who join and support these efforts merit many blessings and yeshuos.


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