HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Operation Protective Edge And PTSD

Itzik's relatives by HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky.

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Israeli media reported on Wednesday that the condition of Itzik Saidyan, a former IDF soldier who self-immolated due to severe PTSD, has dramatically improved and he is now communicating with his family after almost half a year of being in a coma.

Saidyan has been hospitalized for about six months in critical condition after he self-immolated outside the rehabilitation department for disabled IDF soldiers in Petach Tikvah on Yom HaZicharon due to despair about not receiving adequate treatment for PTSD he incurred during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Itzik suffered the devastating experience of seeing seven of his friends blown up in Gaza during the war.

Itzik fought in Shuja’iyya, one of the most densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip that has become what the IDF called a “terrorist fortress” – over 140 rockets were launched from the neighborhood into Israel from July 8 to 20, 2014. On July 20, the Battle of Shuja’iyya began when IDF forces entered the neighborhood. Unfortunately, that day the IDF suffered 13 fatalities. The first 7 soldiers were killed when Hamas fired an anti-tank rocket at an APC, which exploded and killed all the Golani soldiers inside it. Later in the day, six more soldiers were killed when hit by an anti-tank missile and in exchanges of fire with Hamas terrorists.

What the media outlets didn’t report about Itzik’s miraculous comeback is that initially, the doctors didn’t believe that Itzik would survive but his family members and friends refused to lose hope. Several days after the horrifying incident, Itzik’s brother and friends traveled to Bnei Brak to consult with HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and ask him for a bracha. HaRav Chaim advised them to learn Maseches Makos in Itzik’s zechus and gave a bracha for Itzik’s refuah sheleimah.

Itzik’s family and friends immediately organized a shiur in Maseches Makos and were extremely makpid to fulfill HaRav Chaims’s instructions and complete the Masechta. About a month ago, they completed the Masechta and made a Siyum at Sheba Hospital in Tel HaShomer, where Itzik is hospitalized.

At the same time as they prepared for the Siyum, Itzik began to show signs of recovery and to the astonishment of the doctors, his condition continued to improve. He regained consciousness and is speaking with those around him. He even began receiving visitors this week and speaking with them.

Despite the great neis, Itzik is still in great need of Rachamei Shamayim, and the public is asked to daven for Yitzchak Chaim ben Lydia b’toch sha’ar cholei Yisrael.

Below is a photo of Religious Zionist Party chairman Betzalel Smotrich and MK Ofir Sofer with Itzik’s family members after visiting him in the hospital on Tuesday. “The fact that Itzik woke up and is talking is a neis,” Smotich wrote after his visit. “His mother Lydia requested that we all continue davening for his refuah.”

Singer Aviv Geffen also visited Itzik and wrote after his visit: “To see and not to believe. I just finished visiting Itzik who told me: ‘Aviv Geffen, I respect you and appreciate you but you’re not my genre.’ He looks great and I salute the nurses in Sheba’s burn unit.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Unbelievable news, I’ve chills. Continued besuros tovos and refuah shelaima! My heart goes out to Itzik and his family. Please note that his Tehillim name in one tweet is different than the name you listed: יצחק חיים בן לידה

  2. Amazing story. Refuah Sheleimah.
    Is the segulah of learning Makkos for PTSD in general, or for the physical refuah of this case specifically?