Although the pandemic was a world-wide challenge that caused incredible loss and suffering, not everyone fared badly. Most prominently, within weeks of the beginning of the pandemic, “Zoom” became ubiquitous. It seemed like everything was on Zoom: meetings, parties, family get-togethers, shiurim, yoga, etc. Pfizer and Moderna have also done well in recent months.

Seven months ago, our family enjoyed a beautiful Sukkos, including an enjoyable Chol HaMoed. We went on a few outdoor activities with friends and family, and I was able to facilitate our community’s beautiful Chol HaMoed learning program. On Hoshana Rabah night I had the privilege to give a shiur via Zoom from my sukkah. The following morning, I wasn’t feeling all that well, but nothing terrible. By afternoon, my symptoms worsened slightly, and we decided that it was best for me to test for COVID.

American youth are familiar with Oscar the Grouch. Oscar, a green monster who resides in a garbage can, is an iconic character on Sesame Street. Oscar is perpetually grumpy and impatient with others and seems to enjoy everything everyone else doesn’t.

Ever hear anyone ask, “What’s the big deal?” If you’re a parent or a teacher, chances are one or more of your children have asked you that, when you were annoyed about something they did or didn’t do. Truthfully, you may have asked the same question to someone else who was annoyed at you for something you did or didn’t do. [Word of advice: It’s probably not a good idea to ask your spouse what the big deal is when he/she is upset about something.]

I was speaking to a friend recently, shortly after the horrific Meron accident that took place on Lag BaOmer. Like all of us, my friend was struggling to come to terms with what happened. When he discussed the tragedy, the struggle within him kept bursting to the fore. First, he said, “We have to have emunah that it’s all from Hashem.” But a moment later, he countered in a pained voice, “But how could it have happened?!” Then again, “We have to have emunah that Hashem does everything for the best.” Then again, “But it’s not possible that such a thing could happen, and in Meron on Lag BaOmer!”

 For children, it’s unquestionably one of the highlights of the Seder – hiding the afikoman. Some call it stealing the afikoman; some opine that doing so is inappropriate. But whatever it’s called, children love the little midnight game of hide and seek during the Seder.