There are numerous sources that seem to show that a deformity is considered something negative in Judaism. A deformed Kohen (priest) cannot serve in the Temple [this verse]. A deformed animal could not be brought as a sacrifice on the altar (Leviticus 22:20). The Sefer Hachinuch (Sefer Hachinuch, Mitzvah #275) believes that a Jewish leader cannot be physically deformed, since people would concentrate on his deformity rather than on the job he should be doing. However, all these examples analyze deformity in public or in the Temple, which is the symbol of perfection. However, on a more private level, the attitude toward deformity seems very different. The Mishnah (Avot 4:20) exhorts the Jew not to judge anything or anyone based on his outward appearance, but on its content. Based on this Mishnah, it should not make any difference how a person looks on the outside, but how a person behaves and thinks on the inside. Certainly, this is the crucial factor in Judaism. What makes man created in the "Image of G-d" (Genesis 1:27) is not his outward form, since G-d Himself has no outward form (Deut. 4:12, 15). Therefore, in Judaism, the person's attractiveness or lack thereof is irrelevant to his value as a human being. It is through his or her actions by which a person is judged, irrespective of physical appearance. Western society, by placing such importance on physical attractiveness, is antithetical, in this instance, to Jewish belief. While physical attractiveness can be an added positive in a person, it is certainly not among the most important traits for a Jew to possess (See chapter on "Beauty"). On the other hand, physical attractiveness or even deformity is not a negative feature in evaluating a Jew and may even be a positive feature, according to Rabbi Joshua. Certainly, the status of a deformed person in Judaism is no less or no better than every other human being.
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