We Need the Zechus of the Chofetz Chaim Now More than Ever
If there was ever a time that Klal Yisrael needed to unite in a massive outpouring of tefillah and achdus; if there was ever a time when tens of thousands of tinokos shel beis rabban needed to come together to invoke rachmei shomayim, that time is now!
Klal Yisrael has been through so much this year! It has been an unprecedented year of uncertainty, there has been much sickness in Klal Yisrael due to Covid-19 outbreaks. Tragically there have been numerous deaths as well. Sadly, we are still struggling with this pandemic.
Our battei medrash, yeshivos, chadorim and schools were closed for months. Baruch Hashem most of them have reopened, but things are not back to normal by any stretch of the imagination. Klal Yisroel desperately needs Divine mercy in what can certainly be called an eis tzarah.
Yes, it is an eis tzarah, but to counter an eis tzarah there is something called an eis ratzon, an opportune time for tefillos to be heard in shamayim, an opportune time when Hashem accepts our tefillos with ratzon.
The yahrzeit of the heilige Chofetz Chaim is such a time.
“We Cannot Forget The Chofetz Chaim’s Yahrtzeit At This Time Of Year!”
The great tzaddik Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, zt”l, Mashgiach of Lakewood, would often say, “We cannot forget that the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit is at this time of year, right before Rosh Hashanah. For some reason, no one makes a big deal out of it, but they should. The Chofetz Chaim’s primary emphasis was on shemiras halashon, being careful in matters of speech. He taught the primacy and power of speech and that it was possible to guard one’s tongue. During these days before Rosh Hashanah we must improve in matters of speech, lashon hara, idle chatter and ridicule. If we want to renew ourselves, the way is through guarding one’s mouth.”
This was said by Rav Wachtfogel more than two decades ago, but over the last five years, Dirshu, the organization that promotes accountable Torah study and mussar, has been making a highlighting the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit and its juxtaposition right before Rosh Hashanah.
This year, Dirshu’s Sixth Annual International Yom Limud and Tefilla will be held on Monday, 25 Elul/September 14. Although the yahrzeit of the Chofetz Chaim is actually on Sunday, 24 Elul/September 13, because many schools are not in session on Sunday or have modified schedules, the hanhallah of Dirshu chose the next day as a time when untold multitudes of Yidden from over 25 countries, many of them holy tinokos shel beis rabban, will come together to learn the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim and daven on behalf of Klal Yisrael in the zechus of the Chofetz Chaim.
The Importance of Unified Learning and Tefillah Among All Yidden to Invoke Divine Mercy
The Yom Limud and Tefilla was established by Dirshu specifically to bring all of Klal Yisrael together on the auspicious occasion of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit right before Rosh Hashanah in unified tefilla on behalf of Klal Yisrael and to encourage the continued learning of the Chofetz Chaim’s sefarim that have such power to invoke rachmei shomayim.
Organizers of the Yom Limud and Tefilla clearly tapped into the innate feeling of every Jewish neshamah in these extraordinary times when Klal Yisrael is facing literally unprecedented challenges. This concentrated effort in tefilla and achdus was designed to arouse heavenly mercy in the zechus of the heiligeh Chofetz Chaim who was so moser nefesh to promote these ideals among Klal Yisrael.
On the Yom Limud and Tefillah, Jews throughout the world will gather to recite specific chapters of Tehillim and learn segments from the two seminal sefarim written by the Chofetz Chaim, the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim.
Many Hundreds of Schools Across the World Offer Riveting Lessons and Programs in Memory of the Chofetz Chaim
The remarkable program that Dirshu has designed for schools in North America is sure to have a tremendous impact on tens of thousands of children both in major Jewish centers and in places far from Yiddishkeit hubs.
Dirshu has made available extremely compelling, artfully designed booklets in both English and Yiddish for three different age groups: grades 1-3, 4-5 and 6-8, all written and illustrated in a user-friendly and age appropriate way.
Each of the three versions contain beautiful stories about the Chofetz Chaim and other gedolim that emphasize the lessons taught by the Chofetz Chaim along with halachos of Yom Kippur based on the Chofetz Chaim’s sefer Mishnah Berurah, and halachos of shemiras halashon based on the sefer Chofetz Chaim.
Some of the material has been beautifully compiled and written by Mrs. Chavivah Pfeifer, a renowned children’s author who has written numerous books with stories and practical lessons for children.
The captivating stories and graphics are sure to motivate the children in each age group to read and be inspired. In addition, the combination of riveting graphics and the clarity of the lessons has been hailed by leading menahelim and mechanchim as a tremendously successful way of bringing the lessons of the Chofetz Chaim to life.
As a complement to the program, the famed Rebbe Hill, has recorded a CD with a story of the Chofetz Chaim to be distributed to each child in the many participating schools.
In their effort to reach tinokos shel beis rabban from across the spectrum, Dirshu has brilliantly designed a tailormade Yiddish version of the booklet for the Chassidishe chadorim. Those schools will be distributing a CD made especially for the occasion by the famed Chassidishe rebbi and storyteller, Rabbi Leibish Lish.
Throughout the diverse communities across the United States and Canada, a wide range of more than 150 boys and girls schools, chadarim and Bais Yaakov’s that truly represent the entire panoply of Orthodox Jewry, has signed up for the Yom Limud and Tefilla school programs. They include schools hailing from communities such as Monsey, NY; Lakewood, NJ; Brooklyn, NY; Manhattan, NY; Toronto, Canada; Houston, TX; Baltimore, MD; Cleveland, OH; Waterbury, CN; Phoenix, AZ; Passaic, NJ; Denver, CO; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; and Providence, RI. In addition, countless Chassidishe schools in Brooklyn, Lakewood and Monsey will also be participating.
This is in addition to schools, Chadarim and Bais Yaakov girls throughout all of Eretz Yisrael and Europe who will participate in the Yom Limud and Tefilla. According to Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein of Dirshu “Hundreds of schools in Eretz Yisrael, North America and Europe that together encompasses hundreds of thousands of children will participate in the Yom Limud and Tefilla utilizing the unique content provided to commemorate the auspicious day.
Aside from the many schools participating in the Jewish centers of Eretz Yisrael and North America, there will be tens of schools in the Former Soviet Union, schools in South Africa, Australia, South America and even Venezuela. The impact on young boys and girls learning about the Chofetz Chaim will be both huge and unparalleled,” he exclaimed.
Countering Danger with Unified Tefillah
The bottom line? Every thinking Jew can’t fail to realize that we are living in truly perilous times. Aside from the tremendous instability in the world due to the worldwide pandemic, the political climate is also a cause for great worry. The harsh political strife and extraordinary, mean-spiritedness has reached unprecedented levels. There is civil unrest and the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, that can have severe ramifications.
At this uncertain juncture we are in dire need of tremendous rachmei shomayim. Now, right before the Yom Hadin is the time to join together with untold numbers of Jews all over the world to daven for Klal Yisrael. The week of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit is also an exceedingly auspicious time to invoke Divine mercy.
Join with Klal Yisrael in Dirshu’s 6th Annual International Yom Limud and Tefilla this coming on Monday, 25 Elul/September 14.
By Chaim Gold