Chafetz Chaim – Introduction

Blessed be Hashem the G-d of Israel who separated us from all the
nations and gave us His Torah, and brought us into the Holy Land to
observe all His commandments. His entire intent was only for our
benefit, that through this we should be holy to Him as it is written
(Numbers 15:40), “In order that you remember and do all My
commandments and be holy to your G-d.” This enables us to receive His
good influx and great beneficence in this world and the next as it is
written (Deuteronomy 12:13), “What does G-d ask of you but etc., to
keep the commandments of G-d and His statutes, which I command you
this day for your benefit.”
He not only gave us His beloved Torah, but also commanded us not to
abandon it as it is written (Proverbs 4:2), “For I have given you a
good acquisition – do not leave My Torah.” He is not like a person of
flesh and blood who gives a good gift to his friend, and then, if his
friend does not utilize it properly, waits for his friend to abandon
it so that he can take it back. Not so is Hashem our G-d, for He
established in every generation of the First Temple prophets to
convince us to repent, and during the second Temple too, when the
Jewish level had dropped from its former sanctity, due to our many
sins, so that they lacked five things that existed in the first
Temple, nonetheless, so long as we were in the land of Israel and
possessed the temple, we were able to perfect all parts of our souls
within us, for the soul too has 248 spiritual limbs and 365 spiritual
However, at the end of the Second Temple, senseless hatred and gossip
increased among us, and through this sin the Temple was destroyed and
we were exiled from our land. From that day we pray to G-d every day
to draw us close as he promised us in the Holy Torah and through His
prophets, yet our prayers are not received as our sages said in
Berachos (32b), “From the day the Temple was destroyed, a wall of iron
divides between Israel and their Father in heaven.”
In truth, our complaint is not against Him, G-d forbid, but against
ourselves. Because on His part nothing is lacking, heaven forbid, as
it says in Isaiah (59a), “Indeed, the hand of Hashem is not too short
to save nor is His ear heavy from hearing; rather, it is our sins,
etc.” We find in the Gemara Sanhedrin (98a) that they responded to
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi – The Messiah will come today if you listen to
his voice, even if the time established for the Israel’s exile is not
yet complete. For the exile is supposed to be a thousand years
according to the length of the Holy One’s day as we find in the words
of our sages, yet, nonetheless, repentance has the power to annul the
decree. How much more so nowadays when over eight hundred years have
passed since that day, is there is no reason except from our part, for
our many sins are not allowing Him to rest His Divine Presence upon