There is something that has to do with the essence of what surrounds us. Things, people, environments, have an essence that can sometimes change, in part, and that is transmitted to individuals.
This essence can be good or bad. We can be, for example, in the company of people who give us a good feeling or we can feel that we are dealing with arrogant people who want to take everything ahead and that gives us comfort or discomfort.
Parashat Tazria makes a conscientious description of the effects that gossip has on some objects, such as clothing, the walls of environments and on the body, on the skin. It is as if “the bad” that came out of the mouth of someone who said something maliciously was perceived and what was perceived was attached to objects.
In the Talmud, Treatise of Arachin, we are taught that there are seven errors that cause these skin ailments in man: gossip (Lashon HaRa), bloodshed (Shefichut Damim), vain oaths (Shvuat Shav), prohibited sexual acts (Gilui Araiot), pride (Gasut HaRuach), theft (Gezel) and envy (Tzarut HaAin).
We are beings that have a hard time getting off of pedestals. It is difficult for us to lower our heads in front of others and it is difficult for us to understand that we are in a world in which being the center of everything has not helped in the last thousands of years... or ever.
In different ways we were taught that we must respect our fellow men, that none of us is better than any other and that we have all the same rights, even when we think in a diametrically opposite way. But this usually works only among the few who decide to work for it.
I remember the interpretation given by Rabbi Suraszki, who is also a sofer, about whether the name of Elohim could be erased once it had been misspelled in the writing of a Sefer Torah, for example. The answer is no. It cannot be deleted. But the interesting thing is that when the word has a previous letter attached to it... that letter can be deleted.... however, when it is attached to the end of it, it is no longer possible to delete it.
The explanation is that prior to the word Elohim, the letter that is attached only has its own essence; on the other hand, the one that is attached to it at the end is read AFTER having read "Elohim", with which it is embedded with the holiness of the name divine and it is then no longer possible to erase it.
So it is with our words. Before saying them, we can doubt them and correct them; we can have bad thoughts and repent. After we say them, everything—us, the person we are talking about and even the environment in which we say it—could be bathed in that bad vibe that leaves "stains" that may be indelible.
Each one of us decides whether to transmit pride or humility, slander or kindness, good intentions or stain to what is around us. It is just getting out of the center and evaluating before talking about others, measuring whether what we are going to say builds, generates some change or only contributes to nothing.
In this way, we generate a climate around us in which we can destroy what we have worked on, or simply work and share to improve who we are and what we do for a society and a world that is better connected and more respectful of each other.