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How does one apply Exodus 22:27 You shall not curse a judge, neither shall you curse a prince among your people.

Am I to understand it’s ok to criticize a leader when they are in the wrong but not sin by cursing them

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  • "Am I to understand it’s ok to criticize a leader when they are in the wrong but not sin by cursing them [?]" What makes you think it might not be that way?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 10:35

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Sefer HaChinuch limits this mitzva to actual judges (69). However:

Gray Matter IV, Israel, Disobeying Orders in Tzahal (Israel Defense Forces) 3

The Torah identifies two institutions of authority. First, the Torah speaks of the beit din, specifically the Sanhedrin, whose Torah leadership we must follow. In this regard, the Torah exhorts us, "Based on the rulings they rule for you, and [based] on the justice they tell you you shall act" (Devarim 17:11). The Torah subsequently speaks of the leadership of a king. The Torah forbids rebellion against either of these institutions of authority. In fact, both a rebel against Torah authorities (zaken mamreih) and a rebel against political authorities (mored bemalchut) are punished by death, because such people threaten the stability and viability of society. The Ramban (Shemot 22:27) and Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 71), in explaining the prohibition of cursing a leader, write that the Torah forbids cursing any national leader, be he from the political authority or from the Torah authority.

If we look at Sefer HaChinuch 71, it seems this is just limited to Torah leaders, not secular political leaders.

Either way, it seems rebelling against even political authorities is a very grave matter! Criticising is not the same as rebelling though, neither is it the same as cursing.

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