Sukkos is an all-encompassing holiday – soul, emotion, and body. Our souls are rejuvenated with the feeling of unparalleled and joyous connection with Hashem. We are emotionally uplifted and swept away by the season of joy. As for our bodies, the sukkah envelops our entire being, our stomachs are nourished by delicious holiday meals, and the Four Species symbolize our spine, heart, eyes, and mouth.

A few months ago, Chani bought a bunch of green bananas. The next morning, when Gavriel, one of our three-and-a-half-year-old twins, requested a banana, Chani informed him that he had to wait until they turned yellow. For the next few mornings, Gavriel surmised that the bananas were “almost yellow.” He really wanted a banana, and when he was informed that they weren’t ready yet, he reassured himself that they would be ready shortly.

I remove my kittel from the closet every six months. Before Pesach, I take it out to wear at the Sedarim and to daven Tal on the first day of Pesach. Then, at the end of Elul, I take it out to wear on Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Hoshana Rabbah, and when davening Geshem on Sh’mini Atzeres during Musaf.

Before our family left to camp a few months ago, and again last week before yeshivah began, I had to go for a COVID-19 test. It’s not exactly the most pleasant experience, but “you gotta do what you gotta do.”

Teaching is never easy. It requires time, patience, technique, and a lot of caring. Then there’s also preparation, marking, parental feedback, and dealing with issues that arise. Teaching with a mask is that much harder. Aside from the discomfort of wearing a mask and the challenge of projecting your voice, it’s immeasurably harder to teach when students cannot see the teacher’s mouth and facial expressions. The same is true regarding the teacher’s inability to see his or her students’ facial expressions. It also makes it much harder to hear what they are saying. We don’t realize how much we read lips in daily conversations.

Before I go to sleep on most nights, I walk over to the beds of each of my children to kiss them good night. Before doing so, I watch them sleeping peacefully for a few moments. It reminds me what an invaluable gift each one is and how thankful I am for them. It’s not always easy to remember that during the day, especially when it gets hectic and tense. So, when my day is over and they are asleep, it’s a perfect time for that reminder. In addition, studies show that if people feel grateful before going to sleep, they have better sleep quality.[1]