The Shaarei aharos says that it is because they spoke against HaKodosh Boruch hu.
A Rav asked me: Sice when is speaking against Hashem regarded as loshon hara; it should be kefira?
I have had this question for years. Stumped someone on it this week. Who is Shaarei Aharos? I would suggest that it was a unique issur at the time because Rashi writes that the semichus of Miriam to meraglim is because meraglim saw and didn't take mussar. One could ask that maybe this was the order of events (which is a whole discussion in itself). Sifsei Chachamim maintains that Rashi does not usually explain semuchim (ibn Ezra does) so it must be that Rashi is teaching us that there was something wrong here about speaking lashon hara about Eretz Yisroel. People say don't say, "Israelis are this etc." as this is lashon hara, but the Chafeitz Chaim does not mention such an issur. Also, it would seem that there is no issur to say lashon hara on a meis, only a takanas kadmonim not to be motzi laaz on them (Mordechai Bava Kamma). Regarding telling lashon hara on a Jew to a goy there may be an issur because it causes dmaage to the Jew (heard from Rabbi Irons).
He probably meant, Shaarei Aharon
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