Guard Your Words
[22b top] Rav Yehoshua denigrated Beis Shammai’s words as he had thought that there was no reason as to why they would differentiate between a vessel and its innards (in regards to purity status). However, once a discipline explained Beis Shammai’s reasoning [how it was ruled by them in order that an Am Haaretz (lesser practicing Jew, who was not accepting the Halacha (law) otherwise would not sin], R’ Yehoshua went and begged forgiveness at the graves of Beis Shammai and fasted many days to atone for his improper speech against them (even though they passed away long ago).
T’s Lesson: We see how powerful words can be. If we are supposed to be careful about speaking evil against those who are no longer with us (as R’ Yehoshua here shows), how much more so should we be careful of speaking ill of those who live and breathe around us! Always make sure to guard our speech regarding everyone, whether alive or not.