[In this chapter, we] shall Explain That a Person [Should] Distance himself from Hearing Forbidden Speech
A person should accustom himself to be exceedingly careful with respect to that which [our Sages] said in [maseches] “Kesuvos” (5b): “Our Rabbis taught [in a Baraisa], “A person should never allow his ears to hear idle chatter, for they are the first of the limbs to be burnt.” [An explanation of this matter [is as follows]: Just as a physical fire that burns, [such that upon] entering a house, the first place that it encounters on its path is the first to be burnt. So too is this the matter with [respect to] the strong spiritual fire, it being the fire of gehinnom which is created through the impurity at the time that a person [brings] impurity to his limbs. That limb which was the first to become impure is immediately prepared to be the first [of the limbs] to be caught by the Heavenly punishment, that being the fire of gehinnom. Therefore, with regards to listening attentively to forbidden speech, the ears are the first of the limbs to transgress the prohibition with regards to listening to [forbidden words], and thereby [the ears] immediately become impure. By way [of the ears listening to the forbidden speech], the [forbidden] matter enters the heart, and, if he accepts the matter of Lashon HaRa [that was related] and [he] believes it, [then] he [brings] impurity [into his heart. Acceptance of Lashon HaRa brings impurity to the heart], for [by accepting forbidden speech, the person] has transgressed the prohibition of “Do not bear a false report…” (Shmos: 23; 1), that [transgression] being dependant in the heart. (The [aforementioned] is similarly true concerning the rest of the things that are not in accordance with the law of the Torah.) [This follows that which] is brought in Sefer Chareidim [where he includes “Do not bear a false report…”] among the prohibitions in the Torah that are dependant on the heart. Therefore, [based on that which we have said earlier], the ears are the first [of the limbs] that are prepared to receive their punishment in gehinnom. Considering the great severity of the sin of idle punishment and its punishment, the person] should, all the more-so, avoid listening to words of Lashon HaRa [spoken] concerning his fellow, for this sin [of accepting Lashon HaRa] is a much greater [sin than involvement in idle chatter].
 Gehinnom refers to hell.
 This teaching can be found in Sefer Chareidim, chapter 21; (1), sif 24, according to the new printing.