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Confessions: Maradnu

We have rebelled. (Artscroll Vidui) Rabbeinu Yonah (The Gates of Repentance, Third Gate #8) describes someone who rebels against rabbinic authority: “It has been set forth in the Gate of Fear that a person must learn to observe other people, to understand them, and to discriminate between what is crooked and perverse and what is just, towards the high aim that we have indicated.”

I would expect a description of someone awful and evil to follow. However, Rabbeinu Yonah continues: “When you see gluttonous people, who make light of the washing of one’s hands before meals, who sit down to eat without reciting a blessing either before or after eating, and who break the fences of many other of the pronouncements and ordinances of the Sages, you are to judge them by these things.

“These things should apprise you of and enable you to appraise their ways, and to see that they are wicked and exceedingly sinful towards God, and that their end is destruction. Concerning them it is said that the penalty of one who transgresses the words of the Sages is death.

“For these evildoers have not been coerced by their evil inclination; nor have they been seized and driven to sin by the workings of earthy, physical desire. Their actions proceed from no other source than perversity of heart and the casting off of the yoke of Heaven from their necks. They are like the rest of the insolent rabble, who say, ‘Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Your ways.’ (Job 21:14)”

Rabbeinu Yonah describes the dangerous person as a rebel, who refuses to accept authority. It may begin as a rejection of the Sages, but will result in the casting off the yoke of Heaven.

The Moreid is the person who is so determined to be independent that he cannot tolerate authority.

When we decide a Halachic question for ourselves, a decision we are unqualified to render, we are rebelling. When we slap down a rebuke from a teacher, parent or rebbi, we are rebelling. When we are willing to act with respect but only on our own terms, we are being Moridim.

ToolsTikkun/Achieving Greatness

Accept someone as our Rebbi.

Ask questions before we act.

Using Shema to accept God’s authority.


Perform one Miztva as an expression of accepting God’s authority.

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