Thursday, December 8, 2011


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayishlach

13 Kislev 5772/December 9, 2011

Aside for being renowned for the famous yeshiva, Bais Medrash Govoha, and for being the residence of my in-laws, the city of Lakewood, NJ boasts its own Jewish radio station. The station 107.9 FM WMDI is all Jewish all the time 24/6. On Shabbos the station plays nothing but static throughout the day.

As we were leaving Lakewood after spending a few days of Chol Hamoed Sucos at the home of my in-laws we were interested to see how far the Jewish station would reach. At the time the station was airing a shiur on Mishnayos. We were still able to hear the shiur as we drove all the way down Squankum Drive, and even onto the I-195. Then, after a momentary dulling, the station abruptly changed programming. Suddenly we were hearing a typical FM station where someone was singing about how incomplete their life is because someone else had abandoned them… It was then that we turned on a CD.

An FM radio station actually is not limited by a certain amount of distance, but by mutual interference of another program. Most stations reach a distance of about 28 km (as regulated by the FCC). However, in areas where there is no interference, such as Wyoming, a station can be heard at a distance of 139 km. But once an interfering station begins vying for the sound on your radio, it is the program which is closer to its transmitter which will dominate.

Our soul works in similar fashion. The more connected we are to our source the clearer we will hear the ‘voice of our soul’. But as soon as we travel beyond range, we enter the airspace and dominance of other programs and the sounds we hear will be vastly different.

When the Germans invaded Russia during World War II they were determined not to make the same mistake as Napoleon did a hundred and twenty years earlier. Napoleon’s superior army was destroyed by the sheer brutality of the Russian Winter, for which the French soldiers were ill prepared. Hitler was foolishly confident that the invasion would be over long before winter. The German invasion of Russia - Operation Barbarossa – in June 1941 was initially a great success for the Germans. The Russian forces collapsed under the onslaught. But as the Russians retreated they destroyed everything in their path, a tactic known as ‘scorched earth’, leaving the Germans no supplies. The German supply lines ran all the way across the Russian border, through Poland, and back to Germany. When winter finally arrived it was one of the most brutal ever, with temperatures dipping 40 degrees below zero. Once again the forces seeking to conquer Russia were destroyed by “General Winter”.

In the spiritual world, as in the physical world, one cannot venture to far from his ‘supply lines’. It is simply too dangerous for one to expose himself to the elements. If we want to ensure that the sounds which resonate within us is that of our pure souls, we must ensure that the connection to our source is vibrant and that we don’t allow other forces to interfere.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum