Our Sages said (Pesachim 3a), "A person should never utter something unseemly, for the Torah went out of its way [to add] eight letters rather than utter something unseemly, as the pasuk says (Bereishis 7:8), '… and of the animals that are not pure.'" [i.e., instead of writing tamei ["impure"] which is five Hebrew letters, the Torah adds eight letters and writes asher aynah t'horah ["that are not pure"] to avoid using the unseemly word tamei "impure" (Rashi)]. At that time, an impure pure animal [i.e., a non-kosher animal] could be eaten [Rabbeinu Yonah explains in his chidushim on Sanhedrin 59b that although it was forbidden to slaughter and eat animal flesh at this time, if the animal died on its own it could be eaten. (Cf. Rashi, Bereishis 9:3)] but could not be brought as a sacrifice. Therefore, it is considered an unseemly form of speech, deprecating those things that serve as food for man. [Rabbeinu Yonah has resolved the following problem: if the word tamei is unseemly, why does it appear many times in the Torah? His answer is that the word is only unseemly when describing animals fit for human consumption. The word tamei relating to non-kosher animals appears in the Torah only after the prohibition on their consumption at Sinai (Matnas Chelko)]. It follows that a person is obligated to be careful not to utter something unseemly, even if his departure from unseemly language forces him to be wordy and to elaborate more in his discussions. This becomes a kind of safeguard against obscene talk, which is of the more grave transgressions, and also is a safeguard against speaking lashon hara and finding fault with people. As ours Sages, z"l, said (Bava Basra 123a) in respect to keeping far from unseemly speech: "The Torah did not deprecate even an impure animal." Our Sages further said (Pesachim 3b) that in the presence of Rabbi Yochanna ben Zakai one of the Kohanim said, "I received for my portion of the lechem hapanim [i.e., the twelve showbread that were eaten by the Kohanim every Shabbos [this verse; Vayikra 24:5-9] an amount equal to the tale of a lizard." When he examined his genealogy they discovered a taint [in his lineage] [i.e., he was a chalal (Rashi; see Vayikra 21:15), and therefore unfit to be a Kohen. This shows the power of speech to reveal the inner soul (Zeh Hasha'ar). A real Kohen would never speak about the holy lechem hapanim in such a manner].
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