-- Chapter from Chofetz Chaim: Lessons in Truth -- Day 1: Who Wants Life? Chapter from Chofetz Chaim: Lessons in Truth -- Day 1: Who Wants Life?
Hello. Sign in to get personalized recommendations.
Your Account
Order Status
Customer Service
View Cart Checkout
Home Books Audio Software Judaica
ArtScroll Classics   |    Browse Categories   |    Best Sellers   |    The App  |   New Releases   |   Future Releases   |   Recommendations
ArtScroll Gift Finder
Privacy Policy
To unsubscribe, click here
Shop By Item Number  
Request A Catalog  
Siddur / Prayer Books  
Chumash / Torah  
Tanach / Bible  
Daily Dose of Torah  
Kosher By Design Series  
Passover Haggadahs  
Interlinear Series  
Tehillim / Psalms  
Rubin Prophets  
Torah Reader's Tikkun  
Foreign Language Editions  
Rashi & Ramban  
Children's Titles  
All Categories  
Gift Certificates  
Browse By Category  
Best Sellers  
New Releases  
Back In Print  
Browse by Author  
Browse by Title  
Schottenstein Talmud Bavli  
Schottenstein Talmud Yerushalmi  
Kleinman Ed. A Daily Dose of Torah  
Edmond J. Safra French Talmud  
Schottenstein Ed. Book of Mitzvos  
Click for ArtScroll Gift Certificates
Sample Chapters  
Parashah Talk  
Click to find a Hebrew Bookstore near you

  Day 1: Who Wants Life? from
Chofetz Chaim: Lessons in Truth
Daily studies in honesty and fundamentals of Jewish faith

By Rabbi Shimon Finkelman 

Other Available Chapters
Day Six: Everlasting Truth 
Day 118: What to Ask for 

Day 1: Who Wants Life?


King David taught: “Which man desires life (chofetz chaim), who loves days of seeing good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit...” (Tehillim 34:13-14). Therefore, it is only natural that Sefer Chofetz Chaim, which teaches us how to guard our tongues from the evils of lashon hara, should be followed by “Sefas Tamim” (“Sincere Speech”) which contrasts deceit and its punishments with honesty and its rewards. Sefas Tamim is drawn from many works, especially the classic ethical text Shaarei Teshuvah (Gates of Repentance) by Rabbeinu Yonah.

The Talmud relates (Avodah Zara 19b) that R’ Alexandri once walked through the streets announcing, as would a peddler, “Who wants life, who wants life?” Everyone crowded around him and begged, “Give us life!” He quoted our verse, “Which man desires life... Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit...”

What did R’ Alexandri tell the people that they did not already know from the verse? R’ Eliyahu Meir Bloch explained that one might have thought that King David’s words are intended only for those who aspire to a life of utter righteousness. To be a tzaddik, one must avoid gossip and deceit. But if one does not have such aspirations, then perhaps a bit of gossip or crookedness is to be expected! R’ Alexandri taught that this is not so. David is telling every Jew that avoiding lashon hara and dishonesty is the key to a good life in this world and the Next.

Honesty and sincerity are keys to a good life in both worlds

R’ Yissocher Frand relates the following story:

A man came to his Rav with a troubling question. “Rabbi, I don’t understand. I come from a very distinguished religious family, I am quite learned and I am meticulous in observing every detail of halachah. Now, Mr. ________, as you well know, is a simple man from a simple family. He keeps what he knows, which is not very much.

“Yet I have not merited to see nachas from my children, while every one of Mr. ________’s children is a gem. Can you explain this?”

“Are you prepared to hear something painful?” asked the rav.

“Yes,” the man replied.

“You entered the business world with nothing and worked very hard to be successful. But your approach was not at all straight; you would bend the rules to accomplish your goals, you could say one thing and mean another. That’s what your children saw, that nothing really means anything.

“However, Mr. __________, as you said, is a simple man -- simple and sincere. I am certain that he has never told a lie willfully. That is what his children saw and that is why they are the way they are.”

Yes, honesty and sincerity are keys to a good life in both worlds.

© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.