Dear Daat Emet,
My cousin, a deaf woman of 26, intelligent and independent, wants to return to religion. My question is whether there is some way to talk to her to keep her from taking this step.
I await your answer,
The correct and most reasonable way is to present Halacha’s stand to the disabled in general and to the deaf in particular. While the modern, enlightened society tries to accept these disabilities and give the disabled opportunities for self-fulfillment, Halacha is still frozen in time.
There is no better way than to bring the practical example of a deaf woman who has been widowed without children. In the “democratic” State of Israel personal law is subject to Halacha, so a secular Jewish deaf woman who has been widowed without children must, before she can remarry, have sex with her late husband’s brother (yibum) and immediately after divorce him. The deaf woman, according to Halacha, cannot have the halitzah ceremony like other widowed women and therefore they obligate her to do yibum, to sleep with her late husband’s brother, even if he is already married to a different woman.
For details of the halitzah ceremony see the answer The Halitzah ceremony takes place in a modern country.
Thus is it ruled in the Shulchan Aruch: “A deaf woman, a fool, and a minor are given yibum and not halitzah. If the man wants to divorce the deaf woman with a get after he has slept with her, she is divorced” (Even HaEzer 172:11).
A similar case was adjudicated in the regional rabbinical court in Ashdod before the judges Y. Goldshmidt, M. Lopez, and M.Y. Milsky: “A claim by Mrs. A. against her brother-in-law B was presented before us, requesting he perform yibum on her. The above claimant was widowed on Tuesday the 19th of Cheshvan 5726 (1966) without leaving any children.” After ruling that the deaf woman must be given yibum, the ceremony (having sex with her late husband’s brother) was held on the 19th of Adar I, and the divorce took place in the city of Rechovot the next day, the 20th of Adar I (Rulings of the rabbinical courts, part seven, page 83).
This is an act of rape with a rabbinical stamp. The deaf woman had to have sex with her brother-in-law in order to marry her beloved. It is also permission for the married man to commit adultery.
Present the humiliating and degrading Halacha to your cousin and contrast it to the superior values of the enlightened world, in the hopes that she will consider and realize where she is headed.