#34-35. Not to Make Sport of the Handicapped.
"Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shall fear thy God; I Am the Lord."
There is a human principle which tells us that when we persecute those undeserving of being persecuted, there is backlash. Many call this karma.
Some might say this principle applies to the strong preying on the weak, or the majority picking on the minority. However, the cries of the weak against the strong, and the minority against the majority, are not cries for mercy, but rather cries for power. For when a minority gets some power, it immediately attacks the majority, to take more power. This is neither karma nor justice, but is merely revenge via the power of law, which the author Bastiat amply described.
The purpose of today's commandment is not to disempower the strong, but rather to stop cruelty against the handicapped (this does mean the weak or minorities have no rights or recourse, only that the present commandment does not handle such things).
Who are the blind? What is a stumbling-block? Who are the deaf? What is cursing the deaf?
It goes without saying that to trip up a blind person is rotten. It puts an unnecessary second impediment, and causes corrosion to the soul who perpetrates it. As for a deaf man, he may not hear a curse leveled at him, but we do. It's purposeless mockery. Left unchecked, such acts are dangerous to society, for any number of reasons.
Is this the extent of the commandment? Why are the lame excluded? We might say Torah puts limits on undue compassion but this would be incorrect in many instances. We might say the lame are included tacitly, but this too is incorrect, for we do not add to Torah, even with good intentions. In essence, the commandment only addresses these two handicaps, and that is that.
There is, of course, a deeper meaning herein. For not only are we to refrain from tormenting the physically blind and deaf, but also those spiritually blind and deaf.
If a man is not educated in Torah, he is blind. We should put no stumbling-block in his way, but instead endeavor to teach every least commandment. Once educated, no longer blind, even if unable to perform for a variety of other handicaps.
Isn't the Law itself an impediment? To hear Christians speak, you would think so. However, the stumbling-block is actually this type of Christian doctrine which devalues commandments.
If a man trips over a commandment and therefore walks contrary to God, it is not the fault of the Law,
but rather the fault of the man. Just as shaming a sinner does not put
any part of the sinner's responsibility on the one who rebukes sin (see
613.33), teaching the Law does not place any blame for a pupil's sin on
the teacher, unless of course the teacher is teaching incorrect things.
If a man rejects Torah, he is deaf. We should not curse this man but instead reason with him. If he agrees to reason, he is no longer deaf. If he does not agree, he is a pagan, and all that entails.
The Law is not the curse, and it does not curse a deaf man to hear the Law. Rather, it curses those who desire to live outside of the Law. For the Law makes no distinction between persons, but only applies sin to those who transgress Torah. No Christian is safe for having chosen Christ, and no Jew is safe for being born Jewish. Only obedience to the Law evades the curse, and only repentance for sin against the Law removes the curse.
The actual curse against the deaf is let them keep sinning. Therefore, the only victory in this commandment is the deaf man's conversion to Torah (with or without attendant punishments for sins along the way), or else his excommunication or death.
When Jesus said it would be better for a millstone to be hanged around a man's neck and be cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones (Luke 17:2), He did not mean for promoting the Law of God, but rather for refraining from, or refusing to, teach the Law of God. A "little one" (child, handicapped person, or any number of other interpretations) is "offended" (that is, caused to sin) when Torah is withheld. We might even say the "little ones" are commandments, and that we should not "offend" a least commandment by refraining from teaching it.
This is just part of the lesson for today. Listen in for more!
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