Standing Up For Downs
Chana B. Keil wrote:
I have heard that it was the habit of a great rabbi to stand in the presence of a person with Down syndrome. Can you please tell me who that was and why?
Dear Chana B. Keil,
Ive heard that the famous "Chazon Ish," Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, stood up for people with Down syndrome and the like. If this is true, I understand it as follows:
Each person is given faculties. These faculties allow him to reach his potential. The greater gifts and faculties a person is given, the more he is obligated to achieve. A person is created far away from a goal but given the tools to get there.
A person born with very limited faculties obviously has a much smaller goal to achieve. So, in essence, the person of limited capabilities is created closer to his state of personal perfection.
Such a person may even be a reincarnation of a great tzaddik or tzaddeket (righteous person) who achieved near perfection the first time around, but needs to come back to this world just to "tie up some loose ends." Such a person is worthy of respect.