My Frightened Defiant Response To Authority

I’d react identically if my father or my rabbi or my God or my boss posted on my FB page. I’d be frightened that I’d been naughty.

It’s weird to me that all my reactions to authority are identical.

I only feel this way about Orthodox rabbis. Non-Orthodox rabbis don’t frighten me. But when an Orthodox rabbi calls me into his office, I am scared to death. I become defensive. I dissemble. I lie. I make promises. I’m dying to get out of there. I take refuge in the thought that at least I can write about all of this. He may run the shul but I run my blog.

The word “Petty” (an extension of “pet”, not the adjective) scares me to death. I knew I was in trouble whenever I was called, “Petty.” Punishment was sure to follow. I only got called “Petty” after I was bad. “Petty” meant that he sensed I was headed for disaster and he wanted to save me from destroying myself and others.

It’s like when my rabbi called me “Luke.” 99% of the time, he called me “Levi”, but when I was bad, he called me “Luke.”

A friend in shul calls me “Luke Ford.” He says, “I don’t accept your conversion.”

A friend at work describes me as “endless defiance.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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