By Tzvi C. Marx
In fresh many years, list numbers of Jews are taking a newfound curiosity of their criminal historical past - the Bible and the Talmud, the legislation codes and the rabbinical responsa literature. during this stumble upon, they're drawn to how those assets relate to the difficulty of incapacity, and the measure to which halakhic attitudes to incapacity are in concord with modern sensibilities. for instance, can the blind or these in wheelchairs function prayer leaders? want the mentally incompetent realize any ritual legislation? Is institutionalization in a special-education facility the place Jewish nutritional legislation aren't saw authorised if it is going to increase a kid's functioning? and the way are we to interpret teachings that appear inconsonant with present sensibilities? Disability in Jewish Law solutions the urgent want for perception into the placement of Jewish legislations with appreciate to the rights and standing of these with actual and psychological impairments, and the corresponding tasks of the non-disabled.
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Extra info for Disability in Jewish Law
But what exactly is intended in describing the human as imprinted with the divine image? 2 What then of one who is disabled, “cut down” more than most? Is the divine likeness of such a person less than that of his non-disabled counterpart? From the biblical story itself, it appears that man was able to suffer the loss of divine-like magnitude in his physical endowment without any diminishing of his divine likeness. He continues to be described as so graced even after the Flood (Gen. 9:6). R. Samuel b.
Solomon Edels explains that it lacked “the spiritual power, namely speech, and had only animal vitality”; R. ”10 Inability to speak lies behind the general talmudic attitude that the deaf-mute lacks intelligence. 11 Novak criticizes this intellectual understanding of “in the image of God” because, since human thoughts are unlike God’s thoughts (Isa. 13 Novak argues, however, that although humans have this gift to a vastly greater degree than all other creatures, they are nonetheless still far from cognitively emulating God.
11 See Chapter 6 for fuller treatment of this point. 12 1979, p. 361. 13 Code, Laws concerning the Fundamental Principles of the Torah 2:8. 14 Novak, p. 364. 15 Mishna Avot 3:14. “Man” here refers to both Jew and Gentile; see Tiferet Yisrael ad loc. 16 Heschel, 1960, p. 140. 17 Novak, p. 365 and note 58, citing BT Berakhot 54a commenting on Deut. v. yerae; and Heschel, 1954, pp. 124–6. In Midrash Hagadol on Gen. 1:27, the term tzelem is attributed to man’s physical being as well as to the soul, so that man’s entire being is a divine endowment.