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Chagigah 3a - Cheiresh

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1Chagigah 3a - Cheiresh Empty Chagigah 3a - Cheiresh on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:14 pm

The gemara here discusses whether a deaf or a mute person can learn.

I remember that when I was learning Gittin, I had an impression from a Chasam Sofer (don't blame this on him) that the patur of חרש, a deaf-mute, from all mitzvos is not because he can't learn or understand or think. It's because he's cut off. His disability, through no fault of his own, makes it impossible for him to connect to the world around him.

When I was young, and I flew on a plane, there was a rule that you had to watch a movie. At least they showed it right in front of you and it was hard to avoid. So I watched it. Fortunately, there was no rule that you had to listen to it; in fact, you had to pay them for headphones. I can testify: I watched the people in the move run around, talk, walk, shoot at each other, and such - and I had absolutely no idea what the movie was about.
But I have no doubt that if I had bought the headphones, and listened to the movie with my eyes closed - that I would have been able to describe the whole plot of the movie. We think of blindness as being more disabling, but at least as far as civilization and people is concerned, we get more essential information from hearing than seeing. I have heard that Helen Keller (both blind and deaf) said this as well.

The patur of a child is similar. Not necessarily because they don't have brain-power, but because they are often oblivious to the context around them.

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