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4/1/20 - "Good Morning Everyone, It's Hump Day!" and Trigonometry

Like any High School-age children, ours take math and are studying Trigonometry, you remember sine (SIN) and cosine (COS), cotangent (COT) and triangles, lots of triangles. By the way, that is about all that I remember about trigonometry except for the Trigonometry matchbook that had all four-digit numerical values for these various sins because the Math Textbooks were written before scientific calculators. In any case, as I was looking over our son's math homework and vaguely recalling all these terms and images.  The images of Sine and Cosine became most evident when projections of the COVID -19 modeling was shown at the President's press conference from the day before. On a graph,  the Sine curve  "0" it slopes upward reaches an apex and then slopes downward back to "0" and then begins to curve upward again. Those are like the "waves' we see in radio waves etc. The Cosine curve does not begin at "0" on the graph but rather on…

Tuesday 3/31/20:: "On Three Things the World Stands Upon" and one of them is Act of Kindness

My sister lives in New York with her husband and their ten-year-old daughter on the Upper West Side near Central Park. Normally, we speak maybe once a week. Yesterday was my sister and brother- in-law's anniversary.  After I wished her a "Happy Anniversary", I joked asking her if she and her husband went to some fancy kosher restaurant. Obviously, the answer was "no". She cooked dinner. I asked her if it is as really bad in New York as it appears on the news. She said it is probably worse. She knows many people who have the Covid-19 virus. She mentioned that a hospital was recently put up in Central Park. They work hard to keep things as normal as possible for their daughter amid what my sister describes as like living in a Third World country. Then she started telling me about the various moments of kindness that she has seen and experienced.  The moments she told me about were not necessarily moments that she had experienced personally, they were mo…

Monday 3/30: Straightening Those Who Are Bent - "The Ball Game Has Gone Much Too Far My Dear" (Bob Weir - "Born Cross Eyed")

I woke up this morning, Oy, am I sore!  For some reason, I am acutely aware of how sore I am while I say the morning blessing: Baruch Atah Adoshem Elokeinu Melech Ha'Olam Zokeif Kefufim.Blessed Are You Lord Our God, King of the Universe Who straightens the bent. While I am sure there is a spiritual component to this praise of God; right now my legs and my back are sore and straighten out is currently an adventure. No, I haven't started bringing up the Pesach dishes, pots and pans. Yesterday, the weather was far too nice. It seems that everyone was out walking, staying away from each other but walking. Our son, who hasn't really been outside at all, even asked to go outside. He asked me to move the cars off the driveway so that we could shoot baskets.  I happily agreed. Well, shooting baskets quickly became a game of 1 on 1 game up to 7. Well, I made him work for every basket, there was nothing easy. but 15-year-old legs jump a little higher and move a little quic…

Sabbath Guest 6 Feet Apart

Our living room windows face the street and so we can see cars go by and people walk along the sidewalk as well as people walking up to our driveway.  Yesterday, while reading my book, I saw people. It was so exciting. A family of four walked up our driveway and they knocked. We all heard the door and collectively, we were so excited to have guests. No, we did not invite the family inside. The visiting family walked to the end of our driveway and we all came outside and stay 6 ft/ 2 meters apart.  There we were, two families, friends for many years purposefully standing apart. Yet there we were, despite standing 6 feet apart, we were talking about our children, our lives, our parents and how we are all dealing with this pandemic. We stood outside like this for little more than an hour. For a brief moment, something had lifted. We were talking to people, not through phone, nor through a computer application. Instead, we were speaking with live people almost face to face.  Nor…

Erev Shabbos 3/27/90 - Mizmor Shir L' Yom Shabbat - A Song For the Sabbbath Day

Well, today we all prepare for our second Shabbat living a life of Shelter in Place.  It is also the first day of the Month of Nisan. In terms of time, the week is drawing to a conclusion and culminating in Shabbat.  Among the rituals that occur at our Shabbat Dinner table includes blessing the children. With our eldest in Boston, my Bracha for her usually occurs by sending a WhatsApp message right before Shabbat, blessing her and reminding her how proud I am of her. For the children who are home with us,  I offer them a blessing, kiss them and then they walk over to Mom who kisses them as well. At the conclusion of the ritual, we ask our children to reflect upon the week that passed and share an example of something good that they experienced or something they are proud of.  We instituted this little ritual as a way of getting our children to reflect on the past and to "count their blessing".  However today is also Rosh Chodesh, The theme of prayer for Rosh Chodes…

Rosh Chodesh: "Or ask for the moon and heaven too" (Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia - If I Had The World To Give)

Well, today isn't just Thursday.  Today isn't only that we are heading towards our second Shabbat in this "new normal". Today (and tomorrow) is also Rosh Chodesh, it's the end of one month and the beginning of the new month, the month of Nissan. In case anyone had looked outside into the night sky, the moon and its light have been noticeably absent. Tonight and over the next several days we should begin to notice the moonlight. Normally I don't get too excited about Rosh Chodesh, but everything seems to have taken on the heightened meaning given the circumstances of our lives. Maybe a bit of boredom has set in. Maybe we are just looking for anything to reassure us that no matter how bad things are, Rosh Chodesh reminds us that the moon waxes and wanes. seasons change, and Pesach is in two weeks. Of course, when I finished davening and I joyfully wished her a Chodesh Tov. It's Nisan, It's two weeks until Pesach. It is the Zman Cheiruteinu, th…

And it's Just Like Any Other Day That's Ever Been (Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia - 'Black Peter")

As we continue to hunker down in our home. I have noticed something very troubling; it is something that has now happened several mornings.  Our son wakes up in time for his online class. He sits at his desk in his pajamas. He comes downstairs, he davens he eats and he returns to his classroom. Several hours later, he returns to the kitchen to eat lunch. He is still in his pajamas. Later in the afternoon, he may come down to get a snack or he may remain in his room until late afternoon. More importantly, he hasn't changed out of his pajamas. He eats dinner and this routine has gone on for several days in a row.

          At the very end of Shacharit, we recite several verses from Psalms that have been designated as Shir Shel Yom, a Psalm of the day, sort of thing. Each psalm of the day begins with a formulaic statement: HaYom Yom Revi'i B'Shabat Sh'Bo HaYu Levi'im Omrim B'Veit HaMikdash - Today is the fourth day of the Sabbath in which the Levites wou…