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Why does G-d put mentally retarded people in the world?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein


Library » Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Short Answer:

I don’t know! I don’t know why G-d does all that He does, as a matter of fact I hardly know why G-d does anything He does. However, I do know that G-d does not create things in vain. The fact that this soul was born into this world is in itself a testimony of its G-d given purpose and significance.

The Askmoses Answer:

Let me try to answer your question in three parts—a story, an insight, and a message for us:

It is said about King David that he once told G-d, “I understand why you have created everything in this world except for spiders and retarded people; why on earth did you create those two?”

G-d responded, “Be careful regarding what you ask, David; one day you will see how your life depends on these two.”

It happened many years later that King Saul wanted to kill David, and David had to flee Israel. He ended up in the land of one of the Philistine kings. The Philistines were sworn enemies of the Jews and soon rumor spread that David, the same David who slew the Philistine super-hero Goliath, was actually in their land. Word reached the king and soldiers were sent to find David.

It is very often that we discover amazing talents, qualities, and/or senses in people who we tend to think of as inferior to us
Meanwhile, David also heard these rumors and he was petrified. He then came up with a planned disguise. He pretended to be retarded. He walked around drooling and writing on the walls that the king owed him money.

When the soldiers found the “retarded” man said to be David they brought him to the palace. All the while David kept up his act.

It just so happened that the king had a brother who was retarded, and when they brought this new retarded person to the palace the king was furious: “Do you mock me! Do I lack retarded people here?!” And thus David was saved.

(There is another about David being saved by a spider).

No one is created perfect. What one has in one area he lacks in others. You can’t find a person who is wise, healthy, handsome, rich, famous, has a nice family and a great marriage! When a person lacks some “ordinary” abilities, he most likely has an abundance of "extraordinary" abilities.

It is very often that we discover amazing talents, qualities, and/or senses in people who we tend to think of as inferior to us, and yet we often find out how we are indeed inferior to them.

I once read an article about a father who took his retarded son to a neighborhood park where children were playing baseball. His son sat there watching the “normal” kids play. Then in the ninth inning, with the game tied, one of the kids on the team got hurt and they were short a man.

The father asked the boys if his son could fill the position. The boys hesitated for a moment, and then said “sure!”

They infielders moved in, the pitcher stepped closer to the plate, and one of the boys helped the challenged child hold the bat. The pitcher delivered a slow and gentle pitch. With the help of his “coach” the boy hit the ball.

He ran around the bases with everyone cheering him on—he actually scored the winning run of the game. All the kids danced around him and one of them put him on his shoulders. The boy could not stop laughing he was so excited. His father could not stop crying he was so touched.

Perhaps G-d put retarded people in this world to bring out the best in all of us!


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retarded individuals

Posted by: Kimberly Klein, Vancouver, WA on Sep 03, 2006

My mom watches over a woman who has down syndrome. Her name is Jenny, and she has become so special to our family my mom has taken her in to live with her permanently. Jenny brings out the truely fine qualities in life, the things that really make life good. If you are having a bad day all you need do is find Jenny. She is full of hugs and compliments enough to fill the emptiest of hearts. Her tender hands and gentle heart are truely the work of our mighty Lord. In Jenny's case she has down syndrome, she has an extra chromosome, as us "normal" people would say, but as a doctor I worked with once told me of such individuals, "You must wonder if they were the ones who were made whole, and us incomplete." I pondered what he had said for the longest time, and I really thought he must have been prodding me at first. However, as I have come to know Jenny and others like her I realize they are the kind of people in their hearts and souls that G-d would have us to be!
First king of Israel, anointed by the prophet Samuel in 878 BCE. Was dethroned because he failed to carry out G-d's command, and the royal crown was transferred to King David and his descendents.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.