On lashon hara

The Shem m’Shmuel explains that what caught Rav Yanai’s attention was the peddler’s use of the word “sam,” literally, a spice.  You can’t make a meal of spices alone, but any regular meal served without spice is bland and not satisfying.  “Netzor leshoncha,” guarding against lashon ha’ra, is not just another dish on the menu of Torah, item number whatever of 613 possible choices.  It’s the spice that goes into every dish that makes every dish more  satisfying.  It’s a defining value of the system as a whole.    Read more in:
Divrei Chaim: avoiding lashon ha'ra as a meta-value

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