Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

3 Shevat 5759 - Jan. 20, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







In Light of the Call of Gedolei Yisroel:
Much Interest in the Daily Study of the Laws of Shemiras Haloshon

by Betzalel Kahn

The chareidi community has eagerly responded to the call of maranan verabonon to join the new cycle of the study of the laws of shemiras haloshon.

In yeshivos and kollelim throughout the country, many avreichim and students have decided to participate in these studies which, in the yeshivos, will take place between the set study sessions. Many have undertaken to participate in the exams on the halochos they learn. In Israel one may join the exam-program, by contacting: 02- 5713487.

The book, Shemiras Haloshon, is currently at sale in both Hebrew and English.

In this context, it is worth mentioning a remarkable story that was related at the central his'orerus rally for women, organized by Toda'ah, and held in Bnei Brak on the 65th yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim last Elul.

The main speech at the rally was delivered by the av beis din of Bnei Brak's Zichron Meir neighborhood, and rosh yeshiva of today's Yeshivas Chachmei Lublinin in Bnei Brak, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, who stressed the importance of strengthening our devotion to the chinuch of our children, and sharpening our awareness of the dangers the posed to our generation by the unfit media which poison the souls of our youngsters, and undermine the walls of our pure education.

In his speech, he spoke about the Chofetz Chaim, whose yahrtzeit coincided with the day of the rally. He related that he was studying in the Chachmei Lublin yeshiva in Europe on the day of the petirah of the Chofetz Chaim. When the bitter news reached them, the rosh yeshiva, R' Meir Shapira, convened the students and with bitter tears eulogized the godol hador who had gone to his eternal rest.

In his hesped, Maharam Shapira related that during the final years of the Chofetz Chaim's life, a decree was passed against the talmudei Torah and chadorim in Poland. A contingent of rabbonim was sent to the Chofetz Chaim with the request that he head a delegation to the Polish government, for the purpose of annulling the decree. "We told the Chofetz Chaim: `On Yom Kippur, the fledgling priests told the Kohen Godol: `Our master, the Kohen Godol, stand on the floor and lessen the warmth of your feet.' Our master, the Kohen Godol, Maran the Chofetz Chaim, stand at the head of the campaign for the honor of Hashem and His Torah.'

"And the Chofetz Chaim, in his venerable old age, headed the delegation to the Polish government. When he appeared before the members of the government, they rose in his honor. The Chofetz Chaim told the Prime Minister that he couldn't speak Polish, and asked to speak in Yiddish. To this, the Polish Prime Minster replied: `Your honor will speak the language of the heart, and I will understand.'

"With heartfelt words, the Chofetz Chaim began: `Your honor, the Prime Minster, during the First World War, the Russians who ruled Poland murdered all the Poles who sought independence. One time, they led a group of captives through the town of Radin. The captives were bound in iron chains, and the Russians beat and disgraced them. When I saw this, I entered the beis medrash, opened the aron kodesh, placed my head between the Torah scrolls and prayed: `Ribono Shel Olom, even though they are non-Jews, they are Your creations. Why do they disgrace them so?. HaKodosh Boruch Hu heard my prayers, and Poland received its independence.'

" `Honorable Prime Minister,' the Chofetz Chaim continued. `I requested that Poland remain Poland, that Poland remain a state. If you don't annul the decree, Poland will cease to exist.'

"The Polish Prime Minster, who was deeply moved by the words of the Chofetz Chaim, rose and said: `Most honorable rabbi, the decree is canceled.' "

This story was related by my mentor, the rosh yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin, in his hesped over the Chofetz Chaim. At the end of the hesped, Maharam Shapira described the Chofetz Chaim's immense greatness in Torah, stressing that he was the Rav of all Israel and that he had strengthened his generation and all generations until the coming of the Moshiach in many issues, among them that of shemiras haloshon.

On that occasion, Maharam Shapira noted that in the generation preceding him, it was the Chasam Sofer one who had fortified our faith, and that at the time of the petirah of the Chasam Sofer, in 5700, the verse, "and the sun shone, and the sun set," as well as the statement of Chazal that, "the sun of the tzaddik doesn't set until the sun of another tzaddik. begins to shine," were fulfilled, because it was then that the sun of the Chofetz Chaim began to glow.

At the close of his stirring words, Rav Wosner emphasized the obligation to strengthen our shemiras halashon, saying that one who guards his tongue and his mouth merits longevity, as it is written: "Who is the man who wants life, loves days to see good? Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit."


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