Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You shall not curse the deaf

The Torah states (Leviticus 19:14): "You shall not curse the deaf nor place a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God - I am your Lord."

Apparently the Israeli Chief Rabbinical Court takes this command lightly. This week they made public a ruling which denies conversion to anyone who is deaf. The story was published today on ynet.

The court ruled in the majority that there was no point in converting [a deaf person] , since the Halacha exempts the deaf from performing mitzvahs; and since the conversion would be rendered insignificant, there was no way to perform it.

The court's reasoning was that since the Halacha says that "one who is deaf, one who is young and one who is a simpleton shall be exempt form ordinance," the [deaf person] is deemed incapable of observing mitzvahs, thus incapable of accepting the burden of ordinance, which is the cornerstone of conversion.

This in the 21st century.

It is the rabbinic court who are the simpletons - taking the most literal and rigid reading of the views of previous Rabbis as the unchangeable policy.

The Israeli Rabbinate is doing more to destroy the unity and viability of the Jewish people than all the Palestinian activists combined. Luckily they are becoming more and more irrelevant, as they take more and more hard line stands.

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