In Parshas Shemos, when the Torah relates how Moshe Rabbeinu told Dasan and Aviram to stop fighting, Rashi explains the words, “Moses became frightened and said, ‘Indeed, the matter has become known!’” by quoting a medrash, “the matter I was wondering about, [i.e.,] why the Israelites are considered more sinful than all the seventy nations, to be subjugated with back-breaking labor, has become known to me. Indeed, I see that they deserve it.” The fact that there were Yidden willing to inform on one another was reason enough for them to deserve golus Mitzraim.
What is it about loshon hara that it would warrant such a drastic punishment? Indeed why has so much been written, and such an emphasis placed on, not slandering or speaking negatively about each other?
Growing up, most of us were told something to the effect, “Whatever you do, please make sure you get along with your siblings.” Or, “It breaks our heart to see you fight.” Maybe we were better behaved and more in line with our parents’ wishes, but if we were not at peace with a sibling, it was as if we were cutting our parents to pieces; their spirit was only complete if there was unity in the family.
The same is true with our Father in heaven. One Jew might be better behaved, learn more, and in general lead a more spiritual life. But were they to separate themselves from other Jews by speaking lowly of them, then the very spirit of Hashem would be “pushed out” of their presence.
Hashem resides in unity. Even though we’re not perfect, as long there is ahavas Yisroel, Hashem will dwell among us.
This is especially important in these last days of our exile when we can literally see the world changing in front of our eyes. It says in the gemara that sinas chinam, baseless hate, was the cause for our exile. It follows that ahavas chinam, baseless love, will be the cause for our redemption. Ahavas chinam means loving our fellow Jew not because of something they did or didn’t do, but rather because of a deep love and connection simply based on their being Jewish and part of the same family.
When we rise above our differences then we can turn to Avinu Shebashamayim, our eternal Father in heaven, and request that He bring his family home accompanied with the great miracles and splendor promised when He originally sent us out on our long journey.
Wishing you and your families a most wonderful Shabbos,