I am trying to understand Avot Derabbi Natan 9:2. It explains that B'nai Israel tested G-d 10 times in total in the desert, but G-d did not punish them until they spoke lashon hara about the land of Israel.
Then, Avot Derabbi Natan uses a kal vachomer stating that if they were punished for speaking about land, that has no mouth, how much more so should the punishment be for speaking lashon hara about a human?
I understand the kal vachomer, itself. But, I have some follow-up questions:
- If the Mishnah uses a kal vachomer, people are not killed for speaking lashon hara about other humans. How is this a kal vachomer?
- The last paragraph in the Mishnah (as shown on the web page) seems to be incongruent. Earlier, the Mishnah lists all 10 tests. These were tests that all of Bnei Yisra'el did as a group. Then, he quotes a verse saying "They tested me 10 times". I assume the word "they" refers to all B'nei Yisra'el, not just the 10 spies. But when discussing the punishment for lashon hara, it mentions the verse relating that only the spies died, not all of B'nei Yisra'el. If the Mishnah wanted to compare things, why doesn't it list a verse related to the punishment of the people dying in the desert over the course of 40 years?