Although the Gesher HaChaim enumerates no less than thirteen specific attributes that distinguish human beings from animals, the miracle of speech is the gold standard of that distinction, and through it man connects to Hashem by way of Limud Torah and tefillah.
Rabbi Zev Leff informs us that this use of our faculty of speech for the purposes of learning Torah and dialoging with Hashem is not incidental. At its core, speech is the outward representation of the Neshama and the means by which one manifests his inner kedusha.
It’s all about bringing out the spiritual potential from our Neshamos through speech by way of Torah and tefillah. In this way we build the world and infuse it with the energy it needs to exist.
When you crystallize what’s in your mind it coalesces into a thought that subsequently morphs into speech which is invariably a catalyst for action.
Simply put, speech is why we’re here.
Therefore, it follows that a person who takes speech, whose purpose is to give life, and uses it instead to tear down people and the world, is abusing the essence of life and turning it into an agent of death. Loshon Hora vaporizes a person’s claim to be a human being by destroying that aspect of creation that distinguishes us from the animals.
Is it any wonder then that Rav Leff tells us that Loshon Hora is an act of destruction that he compares to total death?
And do we not also see this in what happened to Miriam when she spoke Loshon Hora against her brother Moshe, and as a consequence thereof all of her skin turned white from tzoras?
Whereas Loshon Hora negates a person’s spiritual life and transforms him into a virtual dead person soul wise, a metzorah, whose flesh is covered from head to toe with tzoras, represents the physical mirror image of that rotting soul.
Like we said above, speech is why we’re here.
And when man puts that faculty of speech into play to create, by uniting man in the service of Hashem, he hits the high note of his purpose in this world.