Happy birthday to a close relative on a special birthday.
The following is an excerpt from an email I received from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation.
"Our Sages state:
R’ Yehoshua ben Levi said: The term “Torah”, appears five times in the chapters which discuss the metzora [whose affliction is punishment for having spoken loshon hora].1 This teaches that one who speaks loshon hora is considered as if he had transgressed the Five Books of the Torah (Vayikra Rabbah 16:6).
R’ Yochanan said in the name of R’ Yose ben Zimra: Whoever speaks loshon hora is considered as if he had denied the existence of God, as it is written, (Tehillim 12:5), “Those who have said, ‘With our tongues we shall prevail, our lips are with us, who is master over us?’ ” (Arachin 15b).
Sefer Yereim explains that when someone wants to speak loshon hora, he first casts a glance in all directions to make sure that the subject of his evil words is not present. His seeming lack of concern that his words will be noted Above conveys an impression that, to his mind, Heaven is not cognizant of what he is about to say. This is why speaking loshon hora is akin to denial of belief in God."
So remember, next time you want to say something negative about someone, don't look around, look up.