The Portion of Tazria deals mainly with a skin affliction wrongly translated in the English Bible as leprosy. It is actually a form of skin disease which appears on the body as a rash. Our Talmudic Rabbis attribute this disease as a punishment for “Lashon Hara”, slander or tale bearing. The preceding Portion of Shmini ends with the laws of forbidden foods. Many Biblical commentaries deal with the juxtaposition of these two portions.
Rabbi Israel Salanter, the 19th century scholar and founder of the Musar movement, poses a very interesting answer. He says that many people are meticulously careful when it comes to Halachic observance of consuming kosher food. They are not as careful when talking about other people. They are free with gossip and slander. Hence the Torah put them together to emphasize that both are equally important.
This is an extremely serious message which is relevant to this day. We are careful about what we eat but we must be just as painstakingly meticulous when talking about other people. “Lashon Hara” is never permitted.