Last night we were at the Jerusalem wine festival enjoying the tastings when someone pointed out to me a new boutique wine with a picture of a young lady with Down syndrome. Of course we had to know the story behind the wine and the young man explained they made a wine for their winery in honor of their sister with Down syndrome. They said when people see wine they have no idea what it will taste like. Only after tasting a few sips of the wine do you begin to appreciate the depth, complexity and uniqueness of the wine. They believe that it’s the same way with their sister. People judge her just by looking at her. Only by getting to know her and interacting with does her uniqueness, depth and ability emerge.
Tonight begins the celebration of Shavuot. A profound time in Jewish history which commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people more than 3,300 years ago. The Israelites accepted the Torah and said “We will do and then we will listen.” They accepted the Torah without understanding its depth, nuance or complexity. They simply committed to taking on the mitzvot. They would learn in time the Torah wisdom.
Like wine and engaging with people who may look or act different we can only appreciate the depth and beauty of the Torah when we engage and study it.
Chag Someach and Shabbat Shalom!