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Joining the Marine [Park] Core!


Hearing “His Master’s Voice” at 78 RPM (Really Prime Moments)

Rabbi Hillel L. Yarmove  


No, this month’s column is definitely not intended as an advertisement for the Victor Talking Machine Company. And the picture of the terrier listening to “his master’s voice” on an old-fashioned phonograph, which the Victor company used as its trademark, is also not included here because I happen to like old things.


The real reason for that photo and the other two which are vaguely related to it is because I have recently turned 78 (Baruch Hashem!). And yes, I own both the shellac-based Chanukah record in the picture as well as the phonograph (when I was young, we called such machines “Victrolas”), both of which have some shaychus to the number 78. Interestingly enough, the record is an old-time 78-RPM disc (“RPM” means “revolutions per minute,” by the way), and the phonograph is able to play such offerings.


Perhaps then it is no coincidence that I chose both the record and the machine which plays it as an apt symbol of this stage in my life. After all, the typical “78 record,” owing to its being manufactured from shellac, proved to be exceedingly fragile and was usually unable to register all sounds in a thoroughly faithful fashion. (When you turn 78, b’ezras Hashem, you’ll understand my allusion here!)


However, “78” is much greater than a mere reference to an almost-defunct product. “78” is the gematriya of both “lechem” and “chasdo” as we see in Tehillim 136: 25. My rebbi muvhak, Harav Yehudah Leib Potashnik, zt”l (the author of Cheshbon Haolam), averred to me that indeed were it not for Hashem’s lovingkindness which permeates the product, bread would be no more nourishing than, say, a piece of paper.

Wow! What an amazing recognition!


Why, there’s so much more to do at 78, so many goals still to be aimed for, so much good to yet be accomplished! Such being the case, let me learn from the logo of that old-time record-making company, the Victor Talking Machine Company: Let me become a better servant of Hashem, one who listens even more intently to “his Master’s voice.”


And guess what? I might even “break the record” doing so, if I merit Divine assistance. And my 78 RPM (Really Prime Moments) should then become a genuine source of nachas to Hashem and to Klal Yisrael!


I may be reached at hillyarm@yeshivanet.com. 


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