We have been correctly accused of being a generation that doesn’t take the time to stop and smell the flowers. The current challenging time of social distancing has compelled us to slow down, and has granted us the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers. Most years, we may not have much time to appreciate the majestic beauty of this time of year – of resurgence of life with budding leaves, stunning colors on trees coming back to life, and brighter sunshine.

A long time ago – or at least what feels like a long time ago – it was actually on a Friday morning a month BCE (Before Coronavirus Exploded), I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a soon-to-be-required Enhanced License. The lines at the DMV can be long, so I made sure to be there when they opened at 8:30 am. When I walked in at 8:32, the large room was mostly full, and there was already a long line, constantly growing. I was given a little slip of paper with a few random numbers and told to have a seat and wait until my number was called.

A number of years ago, during the week after Pesach ended, I was doing some pre-Shabbos shopping with our then-eight-year-old son Shalom. While we were driving to the store, we were listening to the weather report, which called for a chance of severe storms, including hail. Shalom became very concerned and began asking me a whole bunch of questions about when and how the hail would fall.

 I once saw a great quote: In the same vein that there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are no believers in a metropolis. In a city that has every amenity and every type of store possible, including convenience stores that have numerous brands of every type of commodity, one hardly feels vulnerable or the need to be reliant on a Supreme Power.

Today, we are all familiar with Rav Noach Weinberg and the incredible work he accomplished in initiating and revolutionizing the kiruv movement. But when he first set out with the dream of creating such a movement in the 1960s, he was met with fierce resistance and skepticism. He himself related that in 1966, when he first opened Aish HaTorah, people would point at him and say “there goes Noach the crackpot! He thinks he can get non-religious people to want to adopt a Torah lifestyle.”