In our sedra (2:14), Rashi brings an important Midrash which we must get to the bottom of. A young Moshe goes out of Pharaoh's palace and sees two Jews fighting. After trying to break in up, one of these Jews turns round to Moshe and says 'are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian!?' and Moshe responds (perhaps silently) 'aha, the matter is known.' What was known? Rashi (in his 2nd pshat) brings our Midrash, which reveals that because of this Jew's response to Moshe, Moshe gained an understanding of the slavery the Jewish People were in. How so? For Moshe was bothered by why the Jews should be in such harsh slavery - what sins had they done more than any other nation? And once he heard the Lashon Hara emerge from the mouth of this Jew, Moshe had the answer to his niggling question. But we need to understand this; why was Lashon Hara the cause for such slavery; is Lashon Hara that bad that it can cause such hardship to so many people for so many years?

The idea is that as long as we are not speaking Lashon Hara betweeen ourselves, HaShem so to speak 'overlooks' any sins we do. He treats them with mercy, instead stressing the fact that we are Jews and His sons, after all. But once we speak Lashon Hara, we are punished for the Lashon Hara, and we also then get the punishments for out past sins that we were treated with special mercy for. This is why, after the sin of the spies [which was one of Lashon Hara], HaShem lambasts Bnei Yisrael for having sinned 10 times now - He brings in all the last sins because this Lashon Hara of the spies brought back deserved punishments and suspended sentences for the previous sins. This is why Moshe realised that Lashon Hara caused our harsh slavery - for it brought back any previous sins which HaShem had let us 'get away with.' [This idea is from Rabbi Tatz, Rav Moshe Shapira, and the Meshech Chochmah]

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