By Rabbi Moshe Bernstein
The Portions of Tazria and Metzora continue the discussion of the laws of Tzaraat, which refers to what is known as Leprosy.
If a person has skin with varying degrees of whiteness and the priest (only in times of the Holy Temple) determines it as leprosy, it reflects an inner problem: evil tongue. The prohibition of "evil tongue" or "lashon hara" refers to the prohibition of speaking negatively or maliciously about another person, especially when the information is true but unnecessary to share or could cause harm.
The prohibition of evil tongue serves as a reminder to use our words wisely and responsibly and to prevent the spread of harmful gossip, which can damage reputations and cause pain and suffering. Observing the prohibition of evil tongue requires self-control in one's speech. It involves refraining from engaging in gossip, avoiding speaking negatively about others behind their backs, and being careful not to spread rumors or falsehoods. Instead, one should seek to promote positive communication and build constructive relationships with others.
Noahides are also obligated not to speak evil tongue, as it is considered a universal moral principle that applies to all human beings. The Noahide Laws, which are seven basic moral laws that are incumbent upon all humanity, include the prohibition against slanderous speech or gossip. This is because the principle of treating others with respect is a fundamental aspect of ethical behavior, which is essential for creating a world aimed at the service of G-d.
Moreover, the Talmud teaches that slanderous speech can have far-reaching consequences for the speaker. The spiritual consequences of evil tongue can have an impact on one's eternal existence and right to deserve the world to come. This is because speaking negatively about others can create a negative spiritual energy that can have harmful effects on the speaker.
The Talmud teaches that the Second Temple was destroyed due to the sin of baseless hatred reflected by slanderous speech (lashon hara). Therefore, refraining from speaking negatively about others, can help to rectify this sin and bring about redemption. Observing the prohibition of evil tongue can hasten redemption by rectifying the sin of slanderous speech and hatred, promoting unity and peace, and creating a more just and righteous world.
By Rabbi Moshe Bernstein
Rabbi Moshe Bernstein is a writer and a Community Rabbi in Netanya, Israel. He believes in making connections between the Jewish People and the Noahides worldwide in order to share and enhance the knowledge of the Torah's Universal Code for Humanity and fulfill Isaiah's Prophecy 11:9 " And the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the oceans".