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Assuming a Haftorah need not be read out of a handwritten parchment, can a blind person read it out of a braille book? Or a book where the Hebrew letters are raised/embossed?

(I'd heard that someone had discussed this a while back.)

  • Why not? [15 c] – Scimonster Feb 22 '15 at 15:21
  • @Cnsersmoit Because many who permit reading out of books do so because of (possible) minority opinions that printed paper books are considered kosher "handwritten scrolls", not because you don't need to read it from a text – Double AA Feb 22 '15 at 15:27
  • In line with the (currently) only answer to this question, I know a blind person who will lain haftorah from a Braille book, with the sanction of the roshei yeshiva of his yeshiva. I can't recall what happens wrt getting an aliyah, but I think that he does get one on occasion. – Shokhet Mar 27 '15 at 21:46
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According to this article at shemayisroel.co.il it is permitted for a blind person to read the Haftora from a Braille book or even by heart.

The one called to the Torah for maftir must know how to recite the haftarah properly; he must therefore prepare the reading beforehand. He should read the haftarah out loud with the rest of congregation reading along quietly with him while listening to his recitation. One who does not know how to read the haftarah should not be called for maftir. Everything we said concerning the reading of the haftarah, including the unique stature of this aliyah, applies both on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

One receiving an aliyah must read along with ba'al korei. If he does not, then the berachot he recites are rendered berachot le'vatalah (wasted berachot) according to the view of the Shulhan Aruch. Therefore, one who does not know how to read may not receive an aliyah.

For this reason, a blind person should preferably not be called to the Torah, as he cannot read along with the ba'al korei. However, places where the custom has been to give aliyot to the blind need not change their practice. In Eress Yisrael, the practice follows the ruling of the Mehaber (139:3) not to call blind people to the Torah. Even if the only kohen present is blind, a Yisrael should be called for the first aliyah. In extenuating circumstances, such as when a blind person has a "yarssheit" and very much wishes to receive an aliyah, he may be given the maftir aliyah, since seven people have already been called to the Torah in fulfillment of the day's obligation. We may then, in these extreme situations, rely on the ruling of the Maharil allowing the blind to receive aliyot. However, this is on condition that the blind person knows how to read the haftarah properly either by heart or by reading Braille. This is how I ruled when an actual case of this sort arose.

See also here.

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