Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Chofetz Chaim Biography


Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan is commonly known as the "Chafetz Chaim," the name of his famous work on guarding one's tongue. Born in Zhetel, Poland on February 6, 1838, he was taught untill age 10 by his parents and then moved to Vilna to further his Jewish studies. Refusing the pulpit rabbinate, the Chafetz Chaim settled in Radin (Poland) and subsisted on a small grocery store which his wife managed and he did the "bookkeeping"-watching every penny to make sure that no one was cheated. He spent his days learning Torah and disseminating his knowledge to the common people.

As his reputation grew, students from all over Europe flocked to him and by 1869 his house became known as the Radin Yeshiva. In addition to his Yeshiva, the Chafetz Chaim was very active in Jewish causes. He traveled extensively (even in his 90s!) to encourage the observance of Mitzvos amongst Jews. One of the founders of Agudas Yisrael, the religious Jewish organizaion of Europe and later the world, the Chafetz Chaim was very involved in Jewish affairs and helped many yeshivos survive the financial problems of the interwar period. Exemplifying the verses in Psalms 34:13-14, "Who is the man who desires life...? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit," the Chafetz Chaim passed away in 1933 at the ripe age of 95.

The Chafetz Chaim's greatest legacy is the 21 sefarim (holy books) which he published. His first work, Sefer Chafetz Chaim (1873), is the first attempt to to organize and clarify the laws regrding evil talk and gossip. He later wrote other works, including Shmirat HaLashon, which emphasized the importance of guarding one's tongue by quoting our Sages. The Mishnah Brurah (1894-1907), his commentary on the Daily Laws of a Jew (his first series in the Shulchan Aruch), is found in many Jewish homes and is accepted universally to decide Halacha.

Firmly believing that he was living right before the time of Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the Chafetz Chaim wrote a work that stressed the learning of laws concerning sacrifices, the Holy Temple, and related topics. He also published seforim to strengthen certain aspects of Jewish life including kashrus, family purity, and Torah study.

Chapters : 12 34 5 67 89 10
GOSSIP : Home Commands Search

 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Roots
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Moshe Addressing Yosef’s Request
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5772

Can A Person Sleep For Seventy Years?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Leaving Mitzrayim: It Is All For OUR Good
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Questions to Ponder
Rabbi Jeff Kirshblum - 5764

Following Orders
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5762

ArtScroll

Input...Output
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Was It Really Fair-oh?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

What is Tu B'Shvat?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

> A Seamless Integration On A Higher Plane
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

As the Season Turns
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Those Who Help with Mitzvos
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

So Much for Miracles
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Life is a Stage
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

“What” is Beyond Our Realm!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Power of Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information