Matthew 15:31

New Testament

29 When he left there, Jesus went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up a mountain, where he sat down. 30 Then large crowds came to him bringing with them the lame, blind, crippled, mute, and many others. They laid them at his feet, and he healed them. 31 As a result, the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, and they praised the God of Israel. 32 Then Jesus called his disciples and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have already been here with me three days and they have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry since they may faint on the way.” 33 The disciples said to him, “Where can we get enough bread in this desolate place to satisfy so great a crowd?”

Mekhilta d'Rabbi Ishmael 20.15

Halakhic Midrash

(Ibid. 20:15) "And all the people saw the sounds and the lightnings": They saw what was visible and heard what was audible. These are the words of R. Yishmael. R. Akiva says: They saw and heard what was audible. There was nothing that left the mouth of the Omnipotent which was not inscribed on the tablets, as it is written (Psalms 29:7) "The voice of the L rd hews (with) flames of fire." "And all the people saw": the sounds of sounds and the flames of flames. How many sounds were there and how many flames were there? The intent is that each heard according to his power (to absorb what he experienced), viz. (Psalms 29:4) "the voice of the L rd in power, the voice of the L rd in majesty." Variantly: "And all the people saw": to apprise us of the exalted state of Israel. When they all stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, as soon as they heard the pronouncement, they assimilated it. As it is written (Devarim 32:10) "He encircled him; he invested him (with understanding). As soon as they heard the pronouncement, they assimilated it. R. Eliezer says: to apprise us of the exalted state of Israel. When they all stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, there were no blind ones among them, viz. "And all the people saw." And whence is it derived that there were no mutes among them? From (Exodus 19:8) "And all the people answered together." And whence is it derived that there were no deaf ones among them? From (Ibid. 24:7) "All that the L rd has spoken, we shall do and we shall hear." And whence is it derived that there were no large ones among them? From (Ibid. 17) "And they stood at the foot of the mountain." And whence is it derived that there were no fools among them? From (Devarim 4:35) "You have been shown to know, etc." R. Nathan says: Whence is it derived that the L rd showed our father Abraham, Gehennom, the giving of the Torah and the splitting of the Red Sea? From (Genesis 15:17) "And it was, when the sun had set, and it was dark, and, behold, a smoking furnace" — Gehennom, viz. (Isaiah 31:9) "He has an oven in Jerusalem." And "the torch of fire" (Genesis, Ibid.) — the lightning, viz. (Exodus 20:15) "And all the people saw the sounds and the lightnings. (Genesis, Ibid. 19) "between these pieces" — the splitting of the Red Sea — viz. (Psalms 136:13) "Who split the Red Sea into pieces." He showed him the Temple and the order of sacrifices, viz. (Genesis, Ibid. 9) "Take for Me a three-year-old heifer, etc." He showed him the four kingdoms that were destined to subjugate his children, viz. (Ibid. 12) "And when the sun was about to set, and a deep sleep fell upon Avram, and, behold, a great dark dread fell upon him": "dread" — the kingdom of Bavel. "dark" — the kingdom of Madai. "great' — the kingdom of Greece. "fell" — the wicked Rome. Some transpose it: "fell" — the kingdom of Bavel, viz. (Isaiah 21:9) "Bavel has fallen." "great" — the kingdom of Madai, viz. (Esther 3:1) "King Achashverosh made great, etc." "dark" — the kingdom of Greece, which darkened the eyes of Israel with afflictions. "dread" — the fourth kingdom, viz. (Daniel 7:7) "… fearful, dreadful, and of great strength."...

 Notes and References

"... Further examination of tannaitic sources and both the Palestinian and the Babylonian Talmud elicits the existence of additional traditions that reflect a more expanded list of individuals excused from the injunction to 'appear before the Lord.' Indeed, a brief glance at these lists reveals that they do not lend themselves to classification according to the standard rabbinic criteria outlined above. In T. Hag. we find the addition of the 'unclean person' to the list and the explicit mention of a blind person, while the Mekhilta (Kaspa, 20) surprisingly exempts the proselyte from pilgrimage. The baraita cited in b. Hag. 4a states: 'The scraper, the copper-smith and the tanner are exempt from appearing (at the Temple),' while the parallel tradition in y. Hag. 1:5, 76d exempts men afficted with blisters or with a polypus as well. According to yet another baraita: 'Ihe uncircumcised and the unclean are exempt from [bringing) the pilgrimage-offering' (b. Hag. 4b). Moreover, both Talmuds attest to the further amplification of the range of exemptions to include individuals suffering from less severe impairment. The deaf man of the Mishnah's tripartite category of a deaf man, an imbecile, and a minor, excused by virtue of his 'lack of understanding,' is customarily understood to be a deaf-mute, as we learn from m. Ter. 1:2: '... whom the Sages have spoken in all cases is one who can neither hear nor speak.' However, both Talmuds are cognizant of the tradition that the who is excused from pilgrimage includes the category of individuals with the ability to hear but unable to speak, or with the ability to speak but unable to hear ..."

Shemesh, Aharon "The Holy Angels Are in Their Council": The Exclusion of Deformed Persons from Holy Places in Qumranic and Rabbinic Literature (pp. 179-206) Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1997

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