Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation[1] (established in 1989) is a non-profit Orthodox Jewish organization based in Monsey, New York, United States, dedicated to spreading the teachings of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan who was known as the Chofetz Chaim ( חָפֵץ חַיִּים "Seeker [of] Life" in Hebrew) based on his work of Jewish ethics of the same name dealing with the prohibitions of gossip, slander and defamation known as Lashon Hara in Jewish law (Halakha).

The Foundation has become a popular fixture in the English-speaking Orthodox world. It utilizes a vast array of communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten awareness of their values in "judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect". The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation's website asserts their belief in the "Torah's timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony".

It has received serious commendation for its work from leading Rabbis. Rabbi Moshe Francis, head of a prominent Chicago Kollel has written that:

Years ago, an organization like the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation -- which is marshaling the latest technology and enlisting the best communicators to help Klal Yisroel fight loshon hara and other sins of speech – would have been unimaginable. Our efforts to control loshon hara have succeeded because we have taken a preemptive approach, teaching young children about the pitfalls of this aveira, honing their sensitivity and inspiring them...(Based on an address given by Rabbi Moshe Francis at the Torah U'Mesorah Conference of Principals held in Chicago in early 2000.)[2]

The Foundation has raised significant funds and advertizes its activities and events by taking out very prominent ads in the Yated Ne'eman (United States); Hamodia; The Jewish Press and others, as well as by distributing newsletters to the English-speaking Orthodox and Haredi public.

The founder and director of the Foundation is Michael Rothschild.

Wide ranging appeal and acceptance[edit]

The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation's publications, programs, and hence its goals have been furthered by the wide acceptance and recognition it has gained in the English-speaking Orthodox and Haredi world for its mission of publicizing the importance of the mitzvot ("commandments") of not speaking lashon hara or the spread of any form of slander:

Integrated into educational work by organizations[edit]

  • The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation's publications at its annual Tisha BeAv events were commended by Rabbi Kalman Packouz of Aish HaTorah: "...Last week on Tisha B'av many synagogues around North America had a program on judging people favorably. I was very impressed with a handout from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, which works hard and effectively to educate Jews about the Laws of Speech..."[3] and "...'The Road to Tranquility" ... proceeded with a quote made available from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation... an organization dedicated to raising the quality of interpersonal relationships..."[4]
  • The Orthodox Union (OU) cites and promotes the work of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation:
...If you were inspired by the message of "An E-Mail from Hashem" may I suggest that you contact the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. I have no affiliation with this organization, but they do terrific work in disseminating the legacy of the Chofetz Chaim, who fought so valiantly against loshon hora. In particular, I would encourage you to sign up for their daily e-mail and join the machsom lifi program. You may also wish to arrange a community wide machsom lifi campaign as well. (Participants in the machsom lifi program accept upon themselves to be extra careful with shimiras haloshon during a designated period of time each day as a tool to overall improvement.) What a great zechus (merit) this would be for Klal Yisrael during these perilous times if thousands of Jews become more careful in guarding their speech.[5]

Reported in the Orthodox and general Jewish media[edit]

The Jewish media has taken note of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation's work:

In recent years, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has carried on (Rabbi Yisrael Meir) Kagan's work and steps up its efforts at this time of year. On July 29, we mark Tisha B'Av, known as the time when national calamities hit the Jews. But instead of blaming outside forces, the Talmud says that the cause of the destruction of the Second Temple was the senseless hatred and ill will displayed between Jews. Since gossip and ill will are very much contemporary issues within Judaism, the Chofetz Chaim Foundation has created videos and other programs to spread the message about lashon hara...Tisha B'Av 2001[6]
  • The Jewish World Review utilizes as a resource and quotes from "Chofetz Chaim: A Daily Companion," a project of Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and Mesorah Publications"[7] and "Chosen Words: A newsletter for personal and spiritual growth...is produced by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation."[8]
  • Nachum Segal has promoted the work of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation on his popular radio shows in the New York area and on his show's website: "Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation presents a Tisha B'Av video with Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Rabbi Raymond Beyda titled 'Rebuilding the Bais Hamikdash Word by Word'"[9] and "Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Video: 'Do You Know The Way Home?'"[10]
  • Jonathan Rosenblum of Jewish Media Resources, wrote in the Jerusalem Post: "...Last Sunday, 10,000 Jews gathered in the Catskills to recite Tehillim on behalf of the Jews of Israel. On Tisha B’Av itself, 40,000 Jews in nearly 250 locations around the world, will view a video produced by he Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation devoted to avoidance of disputes..."[11]

Work with Judaica publishers[edit]

  • ArtScroll, the major publisher of Torah Judaica, co-published a number of books with the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation: "Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness - Pocket Size. Daily lessons in the power of giving...Published in conjunction with the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, it has the same easy-to-use daily calendar format as Chofetz Chaim: A Daily Companion (on proper speech). Based on the inspirational lectures on Sefer Ahavas Chessed..."[12]
  • The Jewish Press (January 30, 2008) reports: "The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has long been known for its dedication to helping Jews throughout the world take hold of the precious mitzvos of shmiras ha’lashon and ahavas Yisrael. In an unprecedented undertaking, they have put together a team of Torah scholars, halachic experts, illustrators, graphic artists, research consultants and a most innovative author – who have collaborated on a book for children that just might become a classic in the world of children’s Torah literature."..."[13]

Help with dating and marriage readiness[edit]

The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has published material to help Jewish couples navigate the maze of finding a marriage partner without violating the guidelines of the Torah's prohibitions of slander or hearsay, yet to also know what is permissible to ask and tell so that future spouses not be fooled or harmed by unrevealed personal information of a delicate nature:

  • Traditional Orthodox shadchanim ("matchmakers") who are presently very active in the field assert that:
...We feel that everyone who is involved in shidduchim, whether they are matchmakers, singles, or family and friends of singles, has an obligation to familiarize themselves with the halachos of lashon hora and richilus as they relate to this subject. Even those of us with the best intentions may unwittingly transgress these prohibitions and in doing so we have the potential to do permanent damage to another Jew's reputation and to their future. Or, precisely because we want to avoid these aveiros, we may withhold vital information that we should disclose in order to avoid deception or prevent a tragedy. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has excellent materials on this subject. You can contact them...(Tips That Can Help You Be A Better Matchmaker by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, Esq.)[14]

and:

...Before you make the inquiry, we recommend that you familiarize yourselves with the Jewish laws of lashon hora (slanderous talk) as they relate to dating for marriage. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation can send you some material on this subject for a nominal fee. Call them ... for information regarding lashon hora and dating before you start the inquiry process. We also suggest that you consult with your rabbi about this subjects and the scope of your inquiries...(Checking It Out! - A "Formula" For Finding Better Dating Partners. By Sherry Zimmerman, Esq.).)[15]

Utilized by Bnei Noah[edit]

  • Certain Noahide organizations and groups utilize, quote and are motivated by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation: "Lashon Hara - There is No Justification for Speaking Loshon Hora, educational articles written by Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation..."[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation web site". chofetzchaimusa.org. 2008-02-10. 
  2. ^ "(Jewish Law Commentary): Accepting the Honesty Challenge. By Rabbi Moshe Francis (2000)". jlaw.com. 2008-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Shabbat Shalom Weekly (Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)". Aish HaTorah. 2008-02-10. 
  4. ^ "Spirituality: Personal Growth: Orange Juice Enlightenment". Aish HaTorah. 2008-02-10. 
  5. ^ "An E-Mail from Hashem. By Rabbi Yaakov Luban.". Orthodox Union. 2008-02-10. 
  6. ^ "What's so bad about gossip? Internet provides answers. (Friday July 27, 2001)". Jewish San Francisco. 2008-02-10. 
  7. ^ "Chofetz Chaim: A Daily Companion". jewishworldreview.com. 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Chosen Words (2005)". jewishworldreview.com. 2008-02-10. 
  9. ^ "Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Tisha B'Av Video (August 14, 2005)". nachumsegal.com. 2008-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Video: "Do You Know The Way Home?" (August 3, 2006)". nachumsegal.com. 2008-02-10. 
  11. ^ Jonathan Rosenblum (July 27, 2001). "Why we love to hate.". Jerusalem Post. 
  12. ^ Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness - Pocket Size: Daily lessons in the power of giving. ArtScroll Publications. 2008-02-10. ISBN 1-4226-0094-7. 
  13. ^ Yitzchok Kornblau, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications (2008-02-10). "Book review: Trekking Through Time". The Jewish Press. 
  14. ^ "Tips That Can Help You Be A Better Matchmaker. By Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, Esq.". jewishdatingandmarriage.com. 2008-02-10. 
  15. ^ "Checking It Out! - A "Formula" For Finding Better Dating Partners. By Sherry Zimmerman". jewishdatingandmarriage.com. 2008-02-10. 
  16. ^ "There is No Justification for Speaking Loshan Hora: Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation". Noahide Nations. 2008-02-10. 

External links[edit]