Hearing: Berakhot 15

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It seems important to recognize who is heard and not heard in the discussion of reciting and hearing.

Berakhot 15a (a few days back, in the Daf Yomi cycle) includes much discussion of the physicality involved in reciting the Shema: how should activities such as relieving oneself, washing, and donning tefillin be conducted in preparation; what roll do the voice and the ears play in reciting.

The latter raises the question of whether a deaf person who recites Shema but cannot hear the words fulfilled the commandment or not:

הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת ״שְׁמַע״ וְלֹא הִשְׁמִיעַ לְאׇזְנוֹ — יָצָא, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר: לֹא יָצָא
One who recites Shema and did not recite it so it was audible to his own ear, he fulfilled his obligation. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Yosei says: He did not fulfill his obligation.
— B. Ber 15a

In compiling a list of methods used by the Sages in their decision-making, it is worth noting what their methods do not include. Here, for example, they do not mention consulting deaf people about their perspectives. And, while we have seen stories about scholars and their slaves (and wives and neighbors) enter the record, as part of the decision-making process, we don’t even get, “Rabbi Hearing Guy once met a deaf man, and…”

So, just a few resources for connecting with Deaf Jews and advocates:

Jewish Resources for the Deaf — New York and Maryland
Center for Jewish Education — Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education
Yachad/Our Way — Because Everyone Belongs
Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel

signing

from Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel website

2 thoughts on “Hearing: Berakhot 15

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