In this week’s parshah, HaShem tells Moshe Rabbeinu: Emor el hakohanim — “You shall say to the kohanim.” The parshah goes on to teach us about some of the mitzvos which the kohanim must keep.

But the name of the parshah is Emor — “You shall say.” By just calling it Emor and not Emor el hakohanim — we can understand that HaShem is also commanding us about things we should say. This commandment seems to be hinting that we should talk a lot about certain things. But what? And haven’t we learned in Pirkei Avos: Emor me’at vasei harbei “Say a little and do a lot”?

If HaShem is commanding us to say some things, they must be words that are good and proper. What might they be?

The first thing that comes to mind is that we should be saying words of Torah. But that is a separate commandment: V’dibarta bam — “And you shall speak them [the words of Torah].”

So here it must mean something else.

With the word Emor, HaShem is telling us that we should always be saying good things about other people. We can see how important this is if we think about what happens when people, G‑d forbid, do not say nice things about others.

Our Rabbis tell us that when someone speaks Lashon Hora, three people suffer: the person who speaks, the person who listens and the person they are talking about. We can understand why the ones who speak and listen are responsible for the sin which they committed, but why should this affect the person they are talking about? He didn’t take part in their conversation. He may not even know they were talking about him!

Let’s think about what we are doing as we talk. We are bringing thoughts which are hidden into the open. And this causes something to happen to the person we are talking about. When we speak about the bad within a person, we are bringing it into the open by our words. That’s why speaking Lashon Hora about a person harms him, because it can encourage the bad in him. If we would not speak about the bad, perhaps it would stay hidden and he would not do bad deeds.

Now our Sages tell us that good has much more power than bad. Just think what could happen if we said only good things about others. Because speech brings thoughts into the open, saying a lot of good things about others will bring out the good that is inside them. And this is what HaShem is commanding us to do when He says Emor. We should be saying good things about others all the time.

Since speaking brings hidden things into the open, we should speak about the geulah with our families and friends, for this will help make it happen sooner.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 158ff)