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Why Are Some People Deaf?

Why Are Some People Deaf?



My four-year-old asked me some hard questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer, like “Why did G‑d make people deaf? Did they do something bad?” I tried explaining that somehow everything G‑d does is for the best even if we don’t understand why, but I felt it wasn’t the best answer I could have given. Could you guide me how to answer her?


No human being is complete on his own. Each of us are lacking in some areas and have strengths in others. A blind person may have an especially keen intellect, and a deaf person, profound emotional strength. No one has it all. This means we need each other.

If you can see, you can help someone who can’t. If you are healthy, you can help someone who isn’t. If you have money, you can share it with those in need. And if you have emotional depth, you can support those in emotional turmoil.

The Talmud relates that the Roman governor Turnus Rufus challenged Rabbi Akiva with the following question: “If G‑d loves the poor, why doesn’t He supply them with their needs?” Rabbi Akiva’s reply was, “To give us the opportunity to save ourselves from Gehinnom (hell).”

Gehinnom is a world where no one ever helps anyone else, where everyone thinks only about themselves and cares not for another. We are in this world to do kindness. Every lack that one person has is an opportunity for another to fill it with love.

So let’s say all of this in the language of a four-year-old:

You are a good sharer. When you share your toys with other kids who don’t have those toys, you become friends. You can also share your eyes and your ears, by helping someone who can’t see or hear. And they can help you too. Then we can all be friends. That’s why G‑d created us all with something missing. He is not punishing us for doing something wrong; He is giving us a chance to do something right.

Talmud, Bava Batra 10a

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous via February 6, 2016

Very inspiring! I will share this with a relative who is constantly questioning why G-d allows bad things to happen. Reply

Aaron smith November 13, 2015

So powerful and wise - our ailments are the void that others strength fills - humanity is like a puzzle with each of us as a piece fitting into each other with gaps and protrusions we fulfill each other's needs. Reply

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