When the Chofetz Chaim wrote his sefer on Shmiras Haloshon, his goal was simple: put all the halachos regarding proper speech together in one place, in a logical order, and people will learn them, know them and abide by them. And people have been trying ever since.
With the introduction of a new Shmiras Haloshon daily learning sefer, Master Your Words/Master Your Life (Mesorah Publications), the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation offers an invaluable new tool for all who are trying to master this mitzvah, as well as those who have never undertaken a methodical approach to it before. It offers an “inside-out” approach that not only teaches the relevant halachos, but also delves into the personality traits, life situations and thought patterns that spawn loshon hora.
Arranged for daily learning according to the Shmiras Haloshon Yomi calendar established by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yehudah Zev Segal zt”l, the book offers four brief, clear, high-impact components in each day’s lesson. These include a halachah, a memory cue to keep the halachah in mind, a brief story highlighting the interplay between Shmiras Haloshon and middos, and an inspiring quote of the day. Each day’s lesson takes 3 to 5 minutes to complete.
The halachah of the day is presented in the form of a question that could arise in everyday life, along with a scenario that illustrates the situation. In this way, the reader has the opportunity to take the halachah out of the realm of theory and see how it actually plays out. Furthermore, this format raises the reader’s ability to spot Shmiras Haloshon issues when they arise in life.
Unique among Shmiras Haloshon sefarim, this one recognizes that knowing the halachah is not always enough to prevent a person from speaking or hearing loshon hora. Sometimes people are so accustomed to hearing it that it doesn’t register. Sometimes they harbor negative feelings about others that seep into their words, or they’re too ready to believe what they hear.
The “inside-out” approach offers stories of everyday people who have found ways to meet these challenges, as well as time-tested advice from a wide variety of Torah greats. The message is that Shmiras Haloshon is accessible to everyone, not just Klal Yisrael’s calmest, kindest, most elevated souls.
Master Your Words/Master Your Life is a book that really brings Shmiras Haloshon home. It offers a healthy dose of realism as it discusses and guides readers in facing life’s Shmiras Haloshon challenges, which are woven through every aspect of human interaction. For those who have tried other learning texts and been disappointed with their own progress, this book offers a fresh start and a new approach. For those who have been learning Shmiras Haloshon Yomi for years, it offers a refreshing variation on the theme.
The book is a collaborative effort, starting with Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Lowy, shlita, who reviewed each halachic question, scenario and answer to ensure its absolute adherence to the laws of Shmiras Haloshon. The author, Chana Nestlebaum, worked in tandem with Editorial Director Shaindy Appelbaum to produce a cohesive flow of lessons that would enable the reader to gradually deepen and strengthen his grasp of the mitzvah.
Enthusiastic endorsements for this endeavor were given by Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, and Rav Eliyahu Brudny, shlita.
Master Your Words/Master Your Life was released just in time for the new Shmiras Haloshon Yomi cycle, which started on 1 Shevat. It offers a great incentive to jump on board and make the next 119 days the first cycle of a lifetime of growth in Shmiras Haloshon.
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