As a new year dawns, what did we learn — and how have we changed?
Last year we thought
that the usage of our site, TorahAnytime, would continue to grow slowly, in keeping with the past few years. We figured the predictable pace would give us the time we needed to upgrade our website and apps to accommodate the growing number of people who wanted to listen to a vast array of shiurim.
This year we learned
that our prospective audience is much bigger than we ever imagined, and we need to be ready on a moment’s notice for a massive influx of users. When COVID struck, TorahAnytime site usage went up nearly 300 percent. That definitely introduced a number of logistical and technical challenges for us as an organization. Our staff worked overtime to make sure the site would function just right for the viewers and the maggidei shiur, who were uploading more shiurim than ever.
Crisis has a way of highlighting who you really are. Fittingly, in Rav Avraham Schorr’s first lecture uploaded to TorahAnytime (back in 2009), he started with the following encouraging thought, a vort from Rav Tzadok of Lublin: “All (creatures) that live in the sea are tahor (ie: and have a status of sea creatures), except the ‘dog of the water’ because it seeks refuge (when being chased by other creatures) on dry land”(Keilim 17:13). We see from this Mishnah that the way we respond when stressed or scared reveals our essence.
That was his message, and during the COVID crisis, our numbers proved it. The 300 percent increase in our site traffic seems to indicate that when Klal Yisrael was stuck at home and had to fill their “free time,” instead of wasting their time watching cat videos and endless repetitive news clips, they strengthened their connection with Hakadosh Baruch Hu by learning, growing, and shteiging.
We’re thrilled to have been part of that, setting up the pools of water into which they fled.
Elimelech Adler is the Director of Development at TorahAnytime.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 828)
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