After spending a beautiful Shabbos Chanukah with our family in Toms River, New Jersey, we capped it off with an enjoyable family event on Motza’ei Shabbos. We ate pizza, played games, ate chocolate coins, laughed, ate latkes, and then ate doughnuts. But the highlight of the night for our children was undoubtedly receiving individual presents from their grandparents.

May 1945. Liberation day finally arrived. Chaim was more dead than alive, but he had survived. Although he had suffered terribly and lost almost everything, he had outlived Hitler. So many times throughout the war, he had given up hope; there was simply no way he could go on. The odds of his survival were practically zero, and yet, in each situation he somehow survived. It was as if a divine hand was guiding him in the miserable darkness.

One day, during my wonderful years in Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, my friend “Richie” (name has not been changed, as I have no intention of protecting his anonymity) excitedly motioned for me to follow him into his dormitory room. As he opened his door, I heard a strange noise from inside. Hanging from a string attached to the middle of the ceiling was a flying cow with wings, circling the room, mooing, and yelping.

 If I was making supper for my family, it would consist of Cheerios every night. The only choice would be: with milk or just plain cereal? My wife, however, aside from deciding what to make for supper, and investing the effort to actually make it – with multiple children, baruch Hashem, invading our home – she also has to contend with ungrateful children who don’t approve of that night’s supper. (You thought this only happened in your house?)

Our son Avi became a bar mitzvah on Thursday evening, 26 Cheshvan 5781. Unfortunately, my father-in-law was not feeling well enough to attend the Shabbos event, so Avi and I went to visit him in Lakewood on Thursday afternoon.