The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora’as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one’s skin — unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.
As mentioned above, there are three types of speech transgressions: 1) Loshon Hora (literally “evil tongue”) — making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth. 2) Motzie Shem Ra — slander — where what is spoken is negative and false. 3) Rechilus (literally “tale bearing”) –telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out PowerOfSpeech.org for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech.
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah writes regarding one who is afflicted for speaking gossip or tale bearing:
“All the days the plague is in him … he shall dwell alone; outside the camp shall his dwelling be” (Lev. 13:46).
What lesson can we learn from this?
The Sages said that since the metzora caused the separation of friends and the separation of husbands and wives, he should also be separated from others.
The isolation of the metzora gave him time for introspection. He could now recall the marriages and friendships his malicious gossip has dissolved. Removed from society, he would feel the mental anguish he caused others when his slander caused them to be ostracized.
From here we see that a person should learn from his own experiences the pain that others feel when they suffer. If anyone ever spoke Loshon Hora against you, you certainly did not like it. Remember those feelings and refrain from speaking against others.