Ki Tavo–It Would Never Occur to a Dog

“Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind person on the road.”   (Deut.  27:18)

Both here and in Proverbs, this admonition against misdirecting a blind person goes hand-in-hand with the admonition against removing a neighbor’s boundary marker. Like the other actions that are anathemized in this passage, these are deeds that are committed in secret or are hard to detect.

Egyptian wisdom literature, which influenced the Bible far more than we usually admit, gives another variant of this directive: “Do not laugh at the blind man or tease a dwarf, nor injure the affairs of lame.”

What’s sad is that it’s necessary to say this. Yet we all understand this cruel facet of human nature, this taking pleasure in someone’s disability, vulnerability or gullibility.

I’m sitting here looking at my dog. She’s never told a good story, written a good song, cooked a good meal, or been transported by a piece of music.  But she would never even think of misleading the blind on the road.

***

I’ll be taking a break from Thursday’s Torah for the upcoming holidays.  See you after Simchas Torah.

Will

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