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  Home > Books > Jewish Law / Halacha > General Issues >

Chofetz Chaim: Lesson A Day

 
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Rabbi Shimon Finkelman

In giving Jews the Torah, G-d granted them a system of laws and beliefs designed to elevate the human personality to a lofty state. Among these laws, the principles of shmiras haloshon -- harnessing the awesome power of the tongue -- address most directly the question of what G-d requires in man's relationship with his fellow man. How we speak of others -- how we see them, judge them, empathize with them and, when necessary, how we criticize them -- defines us as people and as Jews. These aspects of life occur throughout each day, and these are the aspects that shmiras haloshon addresses.

The laws of speech were written by man's Creator to instruct His creation on how to live in this world. In their entirety, they comprise a precisely designed guidebook, one that is well within the ordinary person's ability to assimilate and observe. By following these G-dly principles, each Jew builds and strengthens within himself his traits of compassion, kindness and love. His relationships begin to reflect the qualities and purposes for which he was created. He lives in harmony with himself, his family and his Creator.

By creating us in His image, G-d gave each Jew the potential to reach this state. But we are in a world filled with stress, anger and derision, all of which continually, powerfully pull in the opposite direction. The Chofetz Chaim, whose life was a testimony to the enormous positive power of shmiras haloshon, said that the daily study of these halachos is the best way to succeed in this mitzvah. Not only does such study fortify one with knowledge, it rewards him with the Heavenly assistance he needs to put his learning into practice.

Shmiras HaLoshon Yomi, the Hebrew program that was the model for this book, provides a convenient, methodical and accessible way to follow the Chofetz Chaim's advice. Thousands of men and women worldwide have begun this five-minute-a-day learning program. They have seen how this small segment of learning makes an immediate, positive difference in their lives.

Now, The Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson a Day provides this priceless learning tool for every English-speaking Jew. In abridged form, it presents an adaptation of two of the Chofetz Chaim's masterpieces: Sefer Shmiras HaLashon, his work on hashkafah (philosophy), and his comprehensive work of halachah (law), Sefer Chofetz Chaim, the work after which he is known to this very day.

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