By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
In Vayikra, Perek Yud daled, posuk alef the Torah tells us the proceedings that happen when one becomes healed from his tzoraas. We learn that a person was stricken with tzoraas because he/she spoke lashon hora.
The Chovos Halevavos in Shaar Hachniya, Perek Zayin brings down a story about a chassid who was spoken about negatively in public. When the chassid found out about it he brought the speaker a gift. He said this is hakaras hatov for giving me all of your zechuyos and taking all my sins by speaking lashon hora about me in public. The Chovos Halevavos says that when many of us will come up to shomayim and they will open the book of zechuyos we will see many zechuyos for things we never did. In shomayim they will explain that those zechuyos are from the people who spoke badly about you. The same will happen when they open the book of aveiros also. That is why we have a mitzvah to remember what Hashem did to Miriam when she spoke lashon hora. The same concept is brought down in the Sefer Orchos Tzadikim, Sha’ar Ho’anava.
The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Shmiras Halashon, Sha’ar Hazechira, Perek Zayin brings proof to the above from the Midrash in Tehillim, Perek Nun Bais where the posuk says don’t let your mouth make all of your body sin since one who speaks lashon hora ends up with all kinds of sins that the person never committed. The posuk continues telling the person that a person who speaks lashon hora will lose the little Torah and ma’asim tovim he has done.
The Chasam Sofer in Drashos, Chelek Bais, page resh tzadik heh on Rus explains the Yerushalmi, Perek Gimmel in Bikkurim, halacha gimmel that one who rises into a leadership position gets all his sins forgiven. The Chasam Sofer explains that since people who are in a leadership position become the subject of a lot of lashon hora, the leader gets all those people’s mitzvos and they get his aveiros, so he is forgiven.
What happens if a person ends up doing teshuva? Does he get back all his zechuyos? The Chasam Sofer in Drashos for Zayin Ada
The Ben Ish Chai in drush gimmel for Shabbos Shuva says that is the reason during Yomim Noraim we say “kosveinu be’sefer zechuyos,” since everyone is doing teshuvaand all Jews forgive each other, We therefore ask Hashem to rewrite our zechuyos back into our sefer of zechuyos. The Pardeis Yosef explains the first posuk in Metzorah that this is the Torah of the Metzorah when on the day he becomes pure and does teshuva, otherwise the Torah he learned is not his but rather the person about whom he spoke lashon hora.
May we be zocheh to watch our mouths and thereby watch all our zechuyos.