Those who live in Eretz Yisrael (and Sefardim even outside of Eretz Yisrael) have the good fortune of being blessed by the kohanim every day. But for Ashkenazim outside of Eretz Yisrael, it is a merit we only have on the mornings of the Yamim Tovim.

Be strong all ye loyal, despondent baseball fans! All hope is not lost for the beleaguered 2020 baseball season.

While Major League Baseball is still on hold indefinitely, halfway across the world the sounds of whizzing baseballs and the crack of the bat can be heard.

So since the pandemic began, every morning I head down to my basement office (the one my wife calls my man-cave) to deliver shiur to my students on Zoom. When we first began doing so a couple of months ago, it was suggested that we use our phones for audio. This way, if the Internet connection in our homes is weak, we can continue saying shiur even if our video is frozen. That was sage advice, especially because I found myself often getting kicked off the Internet completely in the middle of shiur. When Chani called a technician to ask about what we could do to improve our Internet service, he explained that our current service was inadequate. With the added demand in our home, which had become the base for nine different classrooms in seven different schools, our Internet wasn’t strong enough. That, coupled with the fact that our modem was in the living room, and my office is a floor beneath it, made the connection even iffier. The technician compared it to a traffic jam. Everyone is trying to go the same way, but there is limited availability. Every device in our home was trying to grab the same limited connectivity.

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.

Like many educational institutions, since the pandemic began, our Yeshiva, Heichal HaTorah, has been having shiurim and classes on Zoom. While it unquestionably has its challenges and deficiencies, there are two things I love about teaching on Zoom: the mute and the commute. The commute from the kitchen to my downstairs office is economically friendly and saves a lot on gas. In addition, in the classroom, I periodically have to contend with a student who interrupts the shiur, or a brief conversation may ensue between a couple of students despite my protestations. These days, such challenges no longer exist. As the host of my class conferences, with one click of a button I can mute all, and peacefully continue giving my shiur. Sometimes, after muting everyone, I can see a student who is still talking animatedly. But now it no longer disturbs the class, and I can gleefully proceed.

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.

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