First tip in our new series by Tova Younger on shmiras halashon:

Start off by praying. At the end of every Shemoneh Esrei prayer (the silent prayer with 19 blessings that is the mainstay of each prayer service), we ask Hashem to guard our tongue from speaking evil. Pause a moment and be sure to focus when you say it. There is also a beautiful prayer composed by the Chafetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, 1838-1933) which says it all. Keep in mind that regrettably, speaking lashon hora without doing proper teshuva greatly weakens the power of our prayers.

Translation of the Chafetz Chaim’s prayer:

Master of the universe, may it be Your will, merciful and beneficent G-d, that you grant me the merit today, and everyday, to guard my mouth and tongue from loshon hora and rechilus (tale-bearing) and from accepting such talk as true. And that I be careful not to speak about an individual, how much more so about all of Israel or a part of the Jewish people, or all the more so to complain about an aspect of the way the Holy One, Blessed be He, runs the world. And may I be careful not to speak any words of falsehood, flattery, mockery, discord, anger, arrogance, hurtfulness, words that pale one’s face and any forbidden speech. And let me be worthy only to speak words that are necessary for my body or soul. And may all my deeds and words be for the sake of Heaven.

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