#616 Musings Beyond the Bunker (Friday March 24)
Tonight begins the weekly holiday of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath). I have always been moved by the notion that one of the most important holidays of the year is one that occurs 52 times a year. The concept is beautiful—having a holiday each week is to bring the concept of celebration and gratitude into our everyday lives on a regular basis. We are reminded each week of the need to celebrate and experience renewal. It elevates the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.
Another idea that I find special is the three basic prayers that accompany all Jewish holidays and meals—the lighting of the candles and the blessings over the wine and the bread. The first no doubt hearkens back to the creation and “let there be light.” Light, of course, allows us to see and to experience. Without light, there is no seeing—only a darkened world. Light is the symbol of hope.
The blessings over the bread and wine are interesting because, as it has been said, they both are products of the partnership of God and man. God creates the grapes but man must transform the grapes into wine. God creates the grain, but man must make it rise and make bread. One is insufficient without the other.
One doesn’t have to accept the idea of a supreme being to be moved by the beauty of this thought or see its applicability to our very existence and purpose. We are presented with many gifts but we are the architects of what comes next. We are given life, the Earth, parents, the teachings and lessons of the past, and value systems. It is upon this foundation that we build. We can take what has been given to us and make something even greater. In fact, we are duty bound to try to make something greater.
SPEAKING OF WINE
It is no secret that I love wine. Andrea and I love going to wine regions when we’re on vacation, whether by ourselves or with others. We find that areas where wine is grown are beautiful, with people who are easy going and welcoming, and with excellent food.
I remember my first trips to Napa with friends from college and law school. We would pile our way into a car and make the trek, often after an SC football game. These visits were eye-opening. Among the most vivid memories was the tour at Robert Mondavi Winery. What affected me at the time was that their tour of the winery began in the vineyard, looking at the vines. The guide then pulled grapes off the vines and had us taste them (they were quite sour). Then he said something that resonates with the whole notion of the partnership between the Earth, or nature, and man: “This is where it starts, with the earth and the vines and the grapes. What happens next is the second half of the process.”
BOOK CORNER—AN ENTERTAINING AND INFORMATIVE READ ABOUT WINE
If you love wine and food, the history of Napa Valley, and anecdotes about iconic figures in these industries, I think you would enjoy the Reflections of a Vintner: Stories and Seasonal Wisdom from a Lifetime in Napa Valley. Stories of Thomas Keller, Julia Child, Robert Mondavi, Robert Parker and others are featured. A little wine, a little education on winemaking, a little history, a little humor—all informative and entertaining. The author is one of the legendary cult wine producers in Napa, Tor Kenward. By the way, don’t believe all the hype about Tor’s wines. They’re better!
Have a great day, a great weekend and a great Shabbat (regardless of your religion),
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