This week’s parsha continues to describe the laws of the metzorah or the “ lepper” afflicted with Tzarat. As I mentioned in my D’var Torah last week however, our sages point out that Tzarat is not only a physical disease with biological causes but is actually a spiritual ailment caused by speaking lashon hara.

Our Sages give many reasons why Lashon Hara is damaging. However, in his weekly blog post on the parsha, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gives a reason that I personally thought was very fascinating for why lashon hara can be so detrimental. What is this reason? Lashon Hara undermines trust. According to some anthropologists speech evolved among humans specifically to strengthen their relationships with other people. What sustains these relationships is trust. Trust allows people to make sacrifices for the greater group and reassures people that others can be relied on to do the same. Lashon Hara however, undermines this quality. Lashon Hara makes people suspicious of others and weakens the bonds which hold a group of people together. If unchecked lashon hara can destroy any group that it attacks including families, friends, or even whole communities and  nations.

Often we don’t even realize how leaking one piece of embarrassing information about someone can have detrimental consequences. However, on the flipside, when speech is used properly it can have positive and productive results.

This past week I had the incredible merit (zechus) to get engaged to the amazing Tamar Berger. One thing I have learned about communication from mine and Tamars relationship thus far is that when used properly in a positive and productive way speech  can only work to help benefit and strengthen a couple’s relationship.

May we merit to only use speech for the good to strengthen and not hinder our relationships with others.

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbe- Gidon Herschander Currently in the Diaspora until the end of Pesach Nissan ,5776