There is a verse in the Torah reading of this week that deals with the treatment of two different types of handicapped individuals. LO TEKALLEL CHERESH VELIFNE IVER LO TITTEN MICHSHOL, “You shall not curse the deaf, and you shall not place a stumbling block before the blind…”. (Lev. 19,14)
This verse is obviously admonishing us not to mistreat the handicapped and not to put obstacles in their way. There is, however, a difference between these two examples that the Torah gives.
The first illustration is of the deaf that may not be aware of the ill-treatment meted out to them. They cannot hear and hence do not know that they have been abused. The second is of a handicapped person that cannot see but before long will stumble on the obstacle placed in his path and will immediately know that he has been physically harmed.
Everyone recognizes the harm done to the blind person and can readily see that it is wicked and sinful to act in this way. With the deaf person people may feel it is not that serious since the person does not know that he or she has been slandered.
The Torah equates the two in one verse, emphasizing that both of them are of equal immoral acts and are just as detestable.