“Who is the man who is eager for life, who desires years of good fortune?” PSALMS 34:13 (The Israel Bible™)
The kibbutz movement, which began in the 1920’s, was primarily a secular enterprise. Jewish pioneers sought to create an ideal living environment guided by brotherhood and shared idealism. However, there was also a religious kibbutz movement. In 1944, a group of religious Jews founded a kibbutz on the principles of Torah and religious idealism. They named their kibbutz in honor of one of the most towering rabbinic personalities of the century, Rabbi Israel Meir HaKohen Kagan, otherwise known as the Chafetz Chaim, the name of his book about the laws of guarding one’s speech. Chafetz Chaim means one “who is eager for life.” The name stems from this chapter in Tehillim where a question is raised, mee ha-eesh hechafeitz chaim (מי האיש החפץ חיים), ‘Who is the man who is eager for life?’ The response is found the next verse: One who guards his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.