Last Shabbos, we headed up to the mountains to participate in a wonderful Shabbaton with the ninth and tenth grades of Heichal HaTorah. The car was packed up with linen, luggage, and half our children (the rest went to their grandparents).

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.

When anyone asked “why” in her presence, my Bubby, Rebbetzin Fruma (Frances) Kohn would repeat the quip, “Why is a crooked letter!” However, with her European accented English, it would come across as “Vy is a crooked letter.” The irony and G-d’s humor was that for the last decade of her life, Vy was the name of Bubby’s Latin-American caretaker. Every time I went to visit Bubby and she called Vy, I had to restrain myself from repeating the quote I heard from her so often.

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.

I know people are busy, so I’m going to try to keep this short.

The month of June is a wonderful time of year. By now, the flowers and leaves are in full bloom, and summer is already in the air. The world has come back to life in its annually miraculous way.

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!”

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