Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rabbeinu Yonah on Other People's Chumras

Shaarei Teshuvah III:176

(With the commentary of Rav Mattisyahu Salomon Shlit"a)

The third group, one who always mocks things, and actions, and his intent is not to ridicule those who do them, only he rejects things that should not be rejected, and rejects the potential positive outcome of actions where there is hope for them to be of benefit

RMS - Meaning, he does not speak about the person, rather about the things being done, for example, someone has adopted a certain Chumra, and the Letz says 'Its just a plain Chumra', and the like, meaning he wants to say its not really necessary. Or he says: 'There is no need to learn Mussar'. And this is Letzanus on the matter, not on the people, rather about some important matter or Mitzvos and the like, that he does not consider of value and he ridicules it.


And about this it states: ' One who scorns a matter, will cause himself injury.' And they said: 'Do not be contemptuous of any man, and do be disdainful of anything, for you have no person without his hour and no thing without his place.' And this Letz, what brought about this attribute is being wise in his own eyes

RMS - And the difference between this and the arrogant one is, that the arrogant one thinks that he, alone, has accomplished, and accomplishes, everything (e.g. a wealthy person who thinks that his success depends on him), as opposed to a wise man in his own eyes, who is a person who thinks he knows better, and therefore he says that this thing (this Chumra or this practice) is superfluous and there is no need that it be done.

And sometimes this Middah can bring a person to heresy, to ridicule Mitzvos, as it says "Malicious people taunted me exceedingly, but I did not swerve from your Torah."

RMS - Meaning, if one ridicules another who is meticulous in his Mitzvah observance, and not on the person, but on the Chumra and the Dikduk itself - he can come to heresy. And we see from this that there is a reality of someone who is essentially a good person, just he negates what others do,and because of this he does not receive the Countenance of the Shechinah.

And this third group is the group which does not accept Tochachah

RMS - Meaning, anywhere in Mishlei where it talks about a Letz who does not accept rebuke, it is speaking of such a person, who thinks he is so smart and clever, and therefore he negates the opinions of others and does not listen to them.

As it says: "Do not rebuke a Letz, lest he hate you', and it says: 'One who chastises a Letz takes embarrassment for himself', and it says: 'Strike the scoffer and the simpleton grows clever.'

And the cause of this Middah is not listening to Mussar, for this Middah which brings about being this type of Letz is the Middah of being wise in one's own eyes, and to such an extent has this Middah taken hold of him, until he mocks his peer's opinion, as it says: 'If you see a man who is wise in his own eyes, there is more hope for a fool than for him.'


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