It is hard to fathom what this past year has been like. Exactly a year ago 90,000 of us were celebrating with joy one of the momentous events in modern Jewish times, the Siyum Hashas in MetLife Stadium. But shortly thereafter, and for the rest of the year no more than 10, 20 or 30 of us were allowed in shul at the same time. In addition, our daily routines, business activities and family lives were disrupted beyond comprehension.
In the midst of all this chaos, the human spirit still struggles to achieve a sense of regularity or level of normalcy. As bizarre as it may seem, the pandemic has actually enabled many of us to do things better than before, in a number of ways.
While in-person visits to family, children and grandchildren have been severely curtailed, the miracle of social media has been a great blessing. We now “virtually” visit our children in Connecticut almost every day. Our 2 ½- year-old great-grandson calls us on the Portal himself almost every day, and we eat meals together virtually, sometimes with other family members joining in. We would never have had the opportunity for that close a relationship before.
Also, the widespread use of Zoom has enabled family and friends to virtually participate in weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals from around the globe, as never before.
Spending more time at home also leaves more time to learn, such as more than just one Daf a day as time permits (as in Chap-a-daf). It also lets us older slowpokes daven at a more leisurely pace than rushing through daily minyanim at warp speed because people have to get to the office.
While every cloud does not necessarily have a silver lining, as some are accompanied by hurricanes and tornadoes, others can bring a gentle rain that refreshes the earth and soul.Max Wisotsky