The Holiness of Israel and the Dignity of the Disabled

Rabbi Shai Held

Parashat Aharei Mot-Kedoshim

When Leviticus lays out its vision for how Israel is to live a life of holiness, it includes the following charge: “You shall not insult (tekallel) the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear the Lord your God; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:14). What exactly are these prohibitions designed to do? Is there a particular value the Torah is trying to instil in us? Are the "deaf" and "blind" here representative of more inclusive categories? The varying interpretations need to be assessed carefully, and with an eye to a crucial moral and religious imperative: learning to listen to the voices of those so often rendered voiceless. (5776)