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In Elul, the Chofetz Chaim Would Speak to Us for Three Minutes…

Published on Sunday October 11th, 2020

The famous Rav Yaakov Galinsky, related the words of a man who learned at the Yeshiva of Radin, under the giant in Torah, the Chofetz Chaim:

"Every year, at the beginning of the month of Elul, the Chafetz Chaim would give a three-minute speech," recounted the student who had the privilege of hearing this speech himself. He proposed to Rav Galinsky: " I will repeat this speech, I will use the same tone and the same gestures as he did. Look at me and imagine the Chafetz Chaim talking to you,' said the student.

"Likewise, listen to me and imagine that I am the Chafetz Chaim," said Rav Galinsky to his audience.

In Poland and Russia, Etrogim (cedrats) were not grown. They were imported from hot countries, a very difficult mission carried out under terrible conditions, and a large number of them became unfit for use on the way and those which remained intact were sold at exorbitant prices. One Etrog was sold for between 5 and 50 rubles. A fortune! More than a few thousand dollars. Only wealthy men could afford to buy an Etrog, and communities would buy for the community using a public fund, explained Rav Galinsky, shedding light on the situation of the communities a hundred years ago.

"We are in the month of Elul," Rabbi Galinsky began, imitating the Chafetz Chaim. The holidays are approaching. Everyone is thinking to themselves: Ah, if only I was rich! So what? I would have bought an Etrog! A Lulav and an Etrog, the Four Species. And if I were extremely rich, I would have bought a Mehudar Etrog for 50 rubles, the mitzvah is worth all the fortune that it costs.

Why? To accomplish a Mitzvah to the height of perfection on the first day: the mitzvah of taking the Lulav is from the Torah. The following days, the mitzvah is a rabbinic one, in memory of the Temple. The reward for a single word of Torah study is much higher, much greater than the most perfect Etrog, all the Four Species together, the shofar or Matzah. It is greater than all of the 613 Mitzvot! insisted the Chafetz Chaim.

In one minute, it is possible to pronounce a hundred words, and in five minutes, a thousand words, like the 613 Mitzvot. And if we arrive five minutes late for the Torah study session?'' concluded the Chafetz Chaim with a cry from the heart.

"And this mini speech," concluded the Chafetz Chaim's student, shook all hearts."

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