This week’s parsha is most known for the sin of Lashon Hara, which means evil speech or gossip. We need to realize that the most distinguishing feature of human beings is our unique ability to speak. We need to be very careful to use our power of speech in a proper and elevated manner.
The Torah says that we are created in G-d’s image. One may ask how this is even possible since G-d has no image.
The answer to this question is that we are created in the spiritual image of Hashem. We emulate Hashem in our everyday actions when we do Chessed or kindness and speaking only Lashon HaTov or positive speech.
In his book, the Chofetz Chaim compiled a list of the main 7 reason why people speak Lashon Hara:
Anger – we lose control when we are angry and we may say bad things about those who anger us.
Joking – we seek a laugh in a negative way.
Giving up – we come to believe it is impossible not to gossip.
We see others do it – we have surrounded ourselves with people who are bad examples.
Judging others unfavorably – we see negative things in other people that we ourselves have and try to make them look bad so we feel better.
Arrogance – We think we are better.
Ignorance – We may not know the proper laws regarding Lashon Hara.
The Gemora compares Lashon Hara to a snake bite. When a snake bites something or someone it does not benefit from it at all, just releases a deadly poison. Unlike other animals like lions, for example, who bite their prey for food a snake does not benefit from what it bites. In other words the Gemora is saying that the speaker of lashon hara derives no pleasure form saying his gossip, but is this really true? Rashi says that in actuality everyone enjoys hearing a juicy peace of gossip. People are fascinated with the lives of others and enjoy speaking about one another to make themselves feel better. How can the Gemora say it is not enjoyable?
The answer is that it is not a natural from of enjoyment. Whatever enjoyment one gets from Lashon Hara is impure, even though it seems fun, one will not gain or benefit anything from it. People, who say bad things about other people, only do so to make themselves fell better. By pointing out other people’s insecurities and negative attributes its easier to ignore their own and fell better about themselves. Lashon Hara is a poison that kills and hurts other people. That little moment of fame only lasts for a moment, what you say will remain said forever. You are a keeper of what you don’t say and a slave of what you do say. Don’t be a snake! Speak Lashon HaTov and work on yourself instead of making others feel inferior! Focus on being the best person you can be! Shabbat shalom!