In this week’s Torah portion, Tazriah– Metzora, we read about laws of purity. Most interesting is a condition described called tzara’at. It seems to be a symptom of lashon ha’rah, saying something bad about someone else. Contrary to what most people think, lashon ha’rah is not about saying something bad that is not true. It is necessarily true but not nice. It is about drawing attention to someone’s perceived flaw.
Somehow the Torah understood that there was a physical manifestation to treating people poorly. When we were little we made people feel bad by proclaiming that they had “coodies”. The Torah proclaims that you have this condition when you make other people feel bad.
The Ba’al HaTorim, in his commentary on Tazriah, points out something very interesting. He says that this portion mentions the word Torah in reference to tzara’at five times corresponding to the five books of the Bible. This is meant to teach us that not speaking poorly about people is tantamount to keeping the entire Torah.
So, just because it is true does not mean you need to say it. I could give you many examples, but as my mother always says, “If you have nothing nice to say…”