On February 17, 22 Shevat, the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva’s beloved mitzvah of shemiras ha’lashon will, iy’H, rise to new heights across the globe. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s “Crowd-Learning” project, which aims to sign up 10,000 new participants to learn shemiras ha’lashon, can vastly increase the impact of the mitzvah that the rosh yeshiva, Rav Yehudah Zev Segal, zt’l, turned to in every situation requiring Hashem’s yeshuah.
Rav Matisyahu Salomon, shlita, the Lakewood mashgiach, recalled from his years in Manchester that wherever the rosh yeshiva was, at every occasion, whether in yeshiva, at a bris, at a chasunah, in his sukkah, or in shul, he always spoke about the vital importance of shemiras ha’lashon for each individual and for Klal Yisrael. It is well-known that hundreds of people each week would call him to seek his advice and blessings for a wide variety of difficulties. Whether the problem was health, shidduchim, livelihood, spirituality, or anything else, Rav Segal’s advice was to learn two halachos of shemiras ha’lashon each day.
“There is no family that has taken on learning two halachos a day that has not seen a yeshuah,” he said.
In his passion to spread the mitzvah, and thus the blessing and protection it brings, he developed the Shemiras HaLashon Yomi calendar. Little by little, this learning has become the “stock-in-trade” of Jews everywhere, forming a powerful yet under-the-radar second line of defense for Klal Yisrael, alongside daf yomi. Today, tens of thousands of Jews learn shemiras ha’lashon daily, and Rav Segal’s promise has proven itself time and time again.
The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, which promotes shemiras ha’lashon yomi throughout the world using a wide range of learning options, recently received a call from one participant who told of a remarkable yeshuah. The woman’s son had begun shidduchim and she, a regular shemiras ha’lashon yomi learner, wanted to bring the z’chus of the Chofetz Chaim to his side. Her hope was to bring a kvittel to his grave in Radin; however, that was not a practical possibility. Then she heard that the same purpose could be served by placing a kvittel in the sefer of a tzaddik. The woman placed a kvittel between two random pages of Sefer Chofetz Chaim printed according to the Shemiras HaLashon Yomi calendar. Eventually, her son became engaged. On the day of the vort, she opened the sefer to find that kvittel had been placed on the page correlating to that day.
In another instance, a young woman took upon herself to learn shemiras ha’lashon yomi as a merit for a friend who had long been waiting for her bashert. The woman finished the sefer one day at 4 p.m., and at 6 p.m., her friend became engaged.
The Manchester Rosh Yeshiva’s promise was clearly a good one that Hashem has fulfilled, sometimes — as in the stories above — with startling clarity. This could perhaps be explained by the purity of his speech; he was considered to be the Chofetz Chaim of his time. But in addition to that, he possessed a singular focus on this one mitzvah as the antidote to all difficult Heavenly decrees.
He closely heeded the Chofetz Chaim’s words, quoting the Midrash which said, “Hashem said I can save you from all harm if you distance yourself from lashon ha’ra.” As the Chofetz Chaim explained, when people speak lashon ha’ra, they are opening a Heavenly prosecution against the subject of their words. They’ve effectively summoned the Satan to his position, where he is free to open all the cases in front of him, not just against the victim of lashon ha’ra, but against the speaker and any member of Klal Yisrael with a sin on his record. When people refrain from speaking lashon ha’ra, the Satan stands silent and Hashem’s protection prevails.
‘Campaign Partners’ to Build Surge of Protective Z’chus
Today, with antisemitism on the rise in Europe, America, and around the world, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation is urging Klal Yisrael to join together in a unique “crowd-learning” campaign to spread the shelter of shemiras ha’lashon across the globe.
The goal is to enlist 10,000 Jews to learn shemiras ha’lashon. The campaign culminates on February 17, 22 Shevat, the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva’s yahrzeit, with a drive for “campaign partners” to spend a few quick minutes sending sign-up information to their email and WhatsApp groups. The surge of merit this campaign will create with so powerful a wave of shemiras ha’lashon can, iy’H, tip the balance of the Heavenly scales in Klal Yisrael’s favor.
The crowd-funding model is the perfect analogy for how and why shemiras ha’lashon has this power. Crowd-funding amplifies the power of each donation by involving a “matcher,” a major donor or donors who match the funds raised in the campaign. The “Matcher” for the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s campaign is none other than Hashem. Through His system of middah k’neged middah, measure for measure, Divine justice, He will “match” our increased kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and forbearance for each other with His own limitless kindness and compassion toward us.
This is an Iron Dome that we can construct for ourselves, our families, and Jews everywhere. It doesn’t depend on any country or any leader coming to our rescue. Instead, it depends on all of us joining forces to strengthen Hashem’s protection at a time when we can clearly see danger encroaching.
And as vital as this Klal-wide protection is, this 10,000-person addition to the world’s shemiras ha’lashon learning will also go far to bring peace and blessing to each person’s everyday life. All those who participate, who make shemiras ha’lashon a part of their day, will find their relationships becoming richer and more productive, their endeavors becoming more successful, and their home becoming more peaceful. Most of all, their heart will become more open and connected to Hashem, thus drawing more berachah into their life.
The sign-ups are already beginning to mount, but reaching the goal is crucial. With it, Klal Yisrael will have the “critical mass” needed to make a true turnaround in people’s interactions with their fellow Jew.
Clearly, the time to take action is now. Sign up today for a 1- to 5-minute-a-day lesson in shemiras ha’lashon by logging onto chofetzchaimheritagefoundation.org. Be a vital piece of Klal Yisrael’s Iron Dome.