Shock in Ponevezh Yeshiva After Bochur Disappears and Seemingly Joins IDF


A Ponevezh Yeshiva student has gone missing from Yeshiva and his parents’ home for the last two weeks. There have been a number of eye-witness reports that hint to the student being on a Tiyul in the north of Israel, however, no one has been able to make contact with the bochur.

The truth, when it was finally revealed on Thursday, shocked the yeshiva. The student decided to leave the Yeshiva and his parents’ home in Yerushalayim and enlist in the IDF. His friends have said that he is currently living in a home established for lone soldiers.

Friends of the Bochur spoke to Kikar Shabbos about their friend and his intentions. “A person who revealed himself as helping lone soldiers, appeared here and is a dangerous person who is looking to topple Talmidei Yeshiva from among the students here in Ponevezh. Over the course of a few months he convinced our friend to leave everything and enlist.”

The bochur in question used to be a chavrusa with one of the Roshei Yeshiva. One day he simply vanished from the Yeshiva altogether.

According to one of the friends of the bochur from yeshiva, “After a deeper investigation that we undertook, we found that this person who helps lone soldiers paid for the bochur to take a week-and-a-half long trip with other bochrim who have  left yeshivos in the past and tour the north of the country on an all-expense-paid trip in order to convince him to cut all ties with the yeshiva and enlist.”

Another of the bochur’s friends told Kikar Shabbos that the bochur’s family is in distress as their son left without any warning and cut all ties with his family without even giving them a chance to talk to him or say goodbye.

An educator who is close to the Yeshiva said in an interview with Kikar that: “This is a story that terrifies every Jewish soul. This is how you snatch a bochur from yeshiva? You cut him off from all of his friends and family? This is horrible and terrible.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Finaly some#RealNews about the dangerous “chappers” that the idf has hired to drag bochrim out of yeshivos & send them to the army! This is communist tactics that they are using!

  2. oh please STOP this ridiculous headline and article. You would think that he converted to Islam or X-nity the way you describe it. All he did was to join the JEWISH army of his homeland. I bet you that the family knew a lot more about this than asserted. Shabbat shalom

  3. If an over 18 year old can be convinced like this it is evidence of serious untreated underlying mental health issue the family should have him rejected for military service on those grounds

  4. I doubt that the IDF could restrict him from phoning his family unless they imprison him. The IDF is not a charter member of the Lev Tahor cult. If he decided to stop talking to his family and leave his yeshiva it was probably because he already had a troubled relationship with them.

  5. It is very sad that this bochur left without discussing his plans with his family and friends. But I feel that more of the responsibility for this move belongs to the bochur than this stranger. It was ultimately the bochur’s choice and he needs to talk to his family. How can a Yeshiva bochur not consult his family or friends? How can he cause his parents such anguish? I doesn’t sound like he was “snatched”. He was not cut off from all his friends and family. Rather, he cut himself off from his friends and family.
    “This is a story that terrifies every Jewish soul.” Actually, joining the IDF to defend Jewish lives does not terrify this Jewish soul. However, it should be done through normal means which this bochur did not do.

  6. Lots missing to this story as usual.
    No one suddenly over night decides to enlist even with help from others.
    The real story will come out soon.

  7. in the old days misnagdim left their lifestyle to join chassdic circles – no amazement. why amazed someone adopting the shittah of gedolai olam that feel and felt the obligation to serve in the IDF is a mitzvah de’oraysah

  8. ….And some commentators on YWN can’t understand why it bothers people living in Meashearim to have haredi soldiers in uniform walk around their streets showing their children you can be haredi and enlist in the IDF….

  9. to go from being a chavrusa with the Rosh Yeshiva to leave and enlist in the IDF probably tells something about the boy. If the RY decided to learn with him, he probably needed extra attention but seems like it was not enough.

  10. Now were’s the shock 😃 if he wants to join then let him he’s just being like everyone else serving his country not everyone has plans to stay in yeshiva and be a rabbi perhaps it could have been a good move what he has done by not telling anyone knowing very well that he’ll get all the backlash from ppl it’s not the end of the world what he has done it might just work out for the better you never know.

  11. So maybe the black yeshivas should set up a system like hesder so that boys who are moved to do so can split their time between learning and IDF service. That is surely preferable to the current “either/or” position which seems to force some boys off the derech entirely.

  12. 23 years ago we had an Israeli buchur vanish from Brisker Yesiva the same way. His father was a Rosh Hayeshiva too. Very sad. The yetzer Horah doesn’t sleep.

  13. Kol hakovod to this brave young man and those who facilitated his decision to join the IDF and help defend his family, his former classmates and all the residents of EY. Compared to the hooligans of the Peleg demonstrations who attack the police and security forces and who have earned a special place in gehenom, the young men of the IDF deserve all the support we can provide them.

  14. eric55
    November 30, 2018 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm
    If an over 18 year old can be convinced like this it is evidence of serious untreated underlying mental health issue the family should have him rejected for military service on those grounds.
    If an over 18 year old can be convinced like this it is “clearly evident” that his chinuch has more holes then a slice of swiss cheese.

  15. There is likely more to this particular story, but some of the above comments, particularly coming right before Chanukah which was all about fighting the misyavnim, is eye-opening. It makes one appreciate all the more the Brisker Rav’s statement that the Zionist State is the greatest achievement of the Satan (the greatest!) since the eigel haZahav.

    To read presumably yeshiva-educated Jews (and even MO-educated Jews) seeming to be perfectly okay with a young man leaving the holiness of a Yeshiva and pursuit of talmud Torah to, instead, join any army, much less the Zionist army, boggles the mind.

    The Zionist state is a Zionist state, not a Jewish state. Its army, the IDF, is a Zionist army, not a Jewish army. Moreover, the IDF was designed to be, and serves as, the indoctrination center of the religion of Zionism as the replacement for, liHavdil, Judaism. In other words, it is shmad. As a “bonus”, the IDF sets up its inductees to violate the “cardinal three”, and commit many more, sins.

    Yet some people don’t understand the shock of this story?

  16. Non-political….agree entirely.
    The fact that some are upset that a yeshiva bochur may also believe that there is no reason why one cannot be both a ben-torah and also take a year or two of his life to share in the defense of the medinah is truly disturbing. The notion among some segments of the Chareidi tzibur that all the risk should be carried by others is even more disturbing .

  17. Thought experiment: What if next week a very charismatic Rosh Yeshiva speaks publicly and convinces all young Jewish people in Israel that it is a mistake to join the army, and everybody chooses to learn Torah instead? What happens?

    1. A miracle occurs and all of Israel’s enemies lay down their arms.
    2. Israel is overrun by its enemies

    If you believe that option 1 will happen, that is called somchim al ha-nes.

  18. Some commenters have posted remarks that are utterly appalling in their disdain for talmidei yeshiva. Why YWN broadcasts these comments, thereby fomenting more rancor and disunity in Klal Yisroel — particularly on a website that purports to cater to the yeshiva world is very disturbing. Does Arutz-7 ever publish anything critical of their yeshivas or their students? Never — they are all stardust-coated heroes. Why is the frum tzibbur, its institutions, yeshivos, and talmidim subject to constant hyper-critical articles, but even more — by many commenters who feel they have license to bash talmidei yeshiva? But, if any non-Jewish person or website says or publishes anything against our people — everyone, including YWN — is howling “anti-Semite.” Somewhat hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

  19. Rambam lists a milchemes mitzvah as “helping to defend Israel against an enemy that comes against it” (Hilchos Melochim 4).

    “We must raise up a generation of warrior-scholars!” (R.Meir Kahane 1987)

    20% of Haredim boys are totally unsuitable for yeshivah. They should be sent to Nachal Charedi army batallions, where they would thrive & fulfil the mitzvah of milchemes mitzvah!

  20. No, it’s not a story that “terrifies every Jewish soul.” It’s a story of a young man who decided he’d like a different sort of life from the one someone else decided he should have. And I think it would be better if people didn’t react as if the young man had just been drafted into the Tsar’s army; he’s serving, of his own free will, in the Jewish army that protects the bochurim at Ponevezh. The correct response would be hakaras ha-tov, and tefilos for his safety while he’s busy protecting yours!

  21. Nonny: All the gedolei Yisroel of the previous and present generation knew/know the same Rambam you quote. And they still pasken differently. Why don’t you (and I’ve written this umpteen times) take it up with the gedolei harabbonim, and not hock a chainik posting on a website? And please, with all due respect, Rabbi Kahane was not a bar-plugta of the gedoleii hador.
    Stop imagining that you know some Chazal or Rambam or Zohar, or anything else, that the gedolei harabbonim don’t already know. Seriously!!

  22. Hametargem: This is what would would happen: The new ‘frum’ IDF would kick out all female soldiers who are only there for pritzus reasons. Frum soldiers would not be forced to serve in tanks together with females, Frum soldiers would be allowed to keep their beards, and not ridiculed for having them. Frum sodiers would not be forced to hear women sing in ‘army cultural events’ Soldiers would have sedorim for learning mussar and yiras shomayim. No-one would be forced/indoctrinated to attend secular zionist ‘educational events’. kashrus and tefilloh betzibur would be on the highest level, and the hashkofoh of the army would be in line with gedolei Yisroel. Then Haredim could join the army and Israel would not be overun by its enemies……….
    But dream on….. Until that happens, let the lomdei Torah- in who’s merit the county survives- continue to learn.

  23. Ben Gurion seems to be frummer that some of the commentators above: In the six day war, BG sent an armored car to bring Rav Chatzkal Sarna ztzl to Chevron after the IDF captured Chevron. When Rav Sarna stepped out of the armored car, Ben Gurion told him “Eyra bochorim hot dos gemacht’- ‘Your bochurim learning Torah- caused this victory!’

    Rav Sarna told this to my father a few days after it happened……

  24. Nobody in the Charedi world in Israel seems to believe in “Dinei d’Malchusa ke’Din Hu”. If they would, every citizen would contribute to the welfare of the Nation, and I am NOT referring to learning. Charedim have the option of doing military service, either straight, or Hesder (if they can stomach associating with a “modern” Hesder Yeshiva), or Shiluv (learn for a year, do 3 years military service, learn for 2 more years). And there are now enough spots available in Charedi units (army) or programs (air force) which cater to specific needs (keep the beard, time for Minyan and learning, no females). Or, if they don’t like serving in the military, how about doing Sherut Leumi? Plenty of options within Sherut Leumi to actually serve your own community. That this last option is not much taken up is proof, in my opinion, that the entire yeshiva system in Israel is just there to keep the boys corralled in, and to freeload with State benefits. Being a citizen of any country entails obligations, not just privileges. Israel is no different. And it is completely secondary if one considers Israel to be a Jewish Nation, or just a country coincidentally inhabited mostly by Jews. While I disagree with the idea that we should not try to start a Jewish Nation until the Moshiach comes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on that score. On a purely political level, without any halachic or philosophical underpinning, I believe it is an excellent idea to have one country where us Jews can take refuge from anti-semitism, which once again is rising everywhere, including right here in the U.S.

  25. Don’t forget that in addition to the 20% of FFB Haredi boys who are totally not suitable for yeshivah, there is another 20% who although they can cope with yeshivah life, are thoroughly miserable there. They would also make excellent soldiers: obedient, disciplined, punctual, brave, and with a heter from their rebbes/ravs, would make excellent soldiers. With the birth rate of chilloni Jews now severely negative & in terminal decline, the Nachal Charedi batallion (1000 men)will one day have to be…..a division (10,000 men)!

  26. Correction, Nonny: the birth rate of secular Jews is in steep decline here in the U.S., but in Israel it is actually the strongest of the western world: approx. 3 children per couple (“replacement minimum rate” is considered to be 2.1, anything above that is considered population growth). Having said that, Dati Leumi is in excess of 4, and Charedi is closer to 5 o 6. So your statement about the Charedi Battalion (which started out as “Plugah”, i.e. Company, then became Battalion size, and now is at almost Regimental strength) being soon the size of a Division definitely sounds right. As a corollary of that: the more Charedim join the IDF, the more their needs will have to be taken into consideration. There is strength in numbers. Another fact is that among secular Israelis, quite a large percentage are also trying to get out of doing military service. The National Religious / Dati Leumi are making up a considerable percentage (way in excess of their share of the overall population) of the manpower in all combat units. And only the machinations of a few hardcore seculars managed to avoid the appointment of a Kippah-wearer as Chief of Staff …. but that soon will also change. The more religious, overall, the atmosphere in the IDF will become, the fewer real arguments against military service of Chareidi Leaders will resonate with the “man on the Chareidi Street”. Coupled with the legal fact that, once they complete their national obligation (be it military service or Sherut Leumi), they are free to go out in the job market and earn a decent living, and thus be less dependent on the pitiful handouts given to Kollel Avreichim. Once that happens, the Yeshivot can go back to how they operated in the 19th century: only the true talents stayed in Kollel, to eventually become the religious leaders. And since those would be fewer in numbers, the community at large (be it private fund raising and/or state subsidies) could actually give those true leadership potential / high quality learners a living wage to pursue their rabbinic dreams.

  27. gugpriv: take your erudite Torah rulings about “Dina de’malchusa” to the rabbonim. If you persuade them that you’re right — you’ll get your wish. Just haranguing us with comments on YWN is not going to go anywhere. But, you already know that.

  28. The problem here isn’t that he joined the army, it’s that he cut off all contact with his family. And that is cultlike and unacceptable.

  29. Gugpriv: Unfortunately Rav Moshe Feinstein ztztl explicitly disagrees with you. Igros Moshe Y’D’ 3′ 82. “Every single yeshivah bochur can become a godol beTorah”

  30. Reb Dons, at the time R’ Moshe Feinstein had a point: right after the war, with our ranks so brutally decimated, it certainly made sense to steer as many bochrim as possible into a yeshiva and according lifestyle. We had to replenish our population, and that could only be done with a hard core of religious upbringing (since the assimilation is also robbing us of “tribe members”). I am not sure, however, that this is, or was even then, a permanent solution.

  31. Avi K….you have it backwards….one “G-d” but two “faces”…..the judgments of the “G-d of wrath” throughout our history have always involved leaders from klal yisroel leading the people in wars against our enemies…..the Maccabean war defeating the Greek emperor Antiochus was not won only by a bunch of our guys shteiging… was won by a bunch of our guys who temporarily got out from behind their shtenders and engaged in an armed revolt against the reshoim and won…the concept of 24×7 learners who will not help defend EY is really not part of our mesorah.


  32. So, DID he join the army? So far the story is based on claims of some friends. Who are these friends? Where are they? Why isnt there a direct quote from anyone, by name? Is this reported anywhere else?

  33. I used to be bothered that so many commentators are against the bnei Torah party (Peleg) but in truth if you follow the comments on these types of articles you will see that the ones who are against Peleg are the ones who think there’s nothing wrong with going to the army even though all the chareidy gedolim have paskened that it is a great sin. Including rav shteinman who wrote in his widely publicized letter to rav don segal (google it): “it is an unforgivable sin to cause anyone who is not already mechallel shabbos as well as violating other sins punishible by kares to go to even the nachal chareidy (the “chareidy unit”) of the army!”
    Btw the reason is simple: there are published studies by mizrachi rabbis that 30% of mizrachi boys take off their kipa for good while in the army (google it).
    So in the future when you see people attack the tens of thousands of members of the Bnei Torah party (peleg) and the gedolei yisroel who lead them, first see what they commented regarding articles like these and you’ll see that their comments against the Bnei Torah party are the greatest proof that that party is correct!

  34. It’s really funny when I see all of the same people who are such “tzadikim” and quote is some Gedolei YIsroel when it comes to Israeli Army. Did you actually check what the same gedolei Yisroel say about you being on internet? If you are such tzadikim, you even should not be here, just subscrine to Hamodia and read the only kosher news especially since you are often scream how YWN is not for yeshiva people anymore. But seems you know what, I see you back again, so stop precahing others before you clean your house.

  35. Reb Dons, BG also said that in order to be realistic a jew must believe in miracles. He proved that he meant it twice. When he declared a state despite American and British warnings that the Arab would overrun it in a few days. Then he promulgated the Law of Return despite warnings by his advisors that the poor new country could only take in a few young people who could work hard. He was therefore a greater baal emuna then many “frum” people.

    AY, if someone does not believe that there is dina d’malchuta dina by Medinat Yisrael he may not use any facility that was built through eminent domain (roads, streets, neighborhoods) nor may he use public transportation, which is subsidized by the state.

  36. Please don’t blame the bochur but the anti-IDF attitudes that forced him to cut te ties. If the yeshiva or his parents were more open he would not have done it.

  37. Get real folks , It’s not like he was taken to the Gas chambers. It was ultimately his decision to join the IDF , realize he’s doing something GOOD-protecting ALL Jews including Yeshiva bachurs so that they can learn in peace.
    of course if you dot agree with the government policy then move–there is plenty of room back in Europe. Go to France.

  38. Someone that just cuts off ties with his family and surroundings, obviously does not have a good relationship with them. He probably also has emotional issues. I do not believe that he was a good and happy yeshiva bachur till today. Furthermore, that someone convinced him to leave Yeshiva is quite ridiculous. Anybody who understands Israeli charedi culture knows that a boy between 16 and marriage needs and wants to be with a Chareidi chevra. Out of the Charedi world he feels alone and not accepted. Leaving that cocoon is only done by someone who is suffering so much and has almost no friends. The fact that at a certain time he learned with the Rosh Yeshiva does not mean anything, Roshei Yeshiva learn with a lot of different boys and the ones they choose to learn with usually has nothing to do with how Shtark they are.
    I know people will comment that he probably went to a Chareidi platoon where he will be accepted. This not true! The differences between a regular Yeshiva bachur and Nahal Chareid, [Shacharand Netzach Yehuda] are vast. Yes, the Charedim in the army are wonderful people but they are not yeshiva Bachrim.
    This Bachur is someone to be davened for. He is definitely going through great emotional turmoil.

  39. Staying in Yeshiva into your 20’s and then going to Kollel will make you very little money and one of the mitzvot is to support your family. You cannot do that in this day and age in Kollel. This kid took matters into his own hands and decided to serve his country, which the Chareidim refuses to do, so then he can do something useful with his life. Most people in yeshiva won’t end up being rebbeim and leaders. Only the ones that have extreme potential should stay in Yeshiva and Kollel keeping our nation afloat while the rest of us have an obligation to protect the homeland. The more chareidim join the army, the more the army will have to listen to them and make exceptions. So there is a solution that should be implemented.

  40. kinsler- you can either ask my father by phone-who is a Rav in London if YWN let me give you his number- or you can ask Someone from Rav Sarna’ ztztl’s family. About 5 years ago, Chaver Knesset Gafni asked me to provide it to him in writing so he could show it to members of the Knesset……I’m sure Bibi knows about it……

  41. Doma…
    ” Only the ones that have extreme potential should stay in Yeshiva and Kollel keeping our nation afloat ..”

    The problem is that there are many in the Chareidi tzibur who believe that ALL bnai torah have “extreme potential”, and thus I’m skeptical you could ever implement a practical way of sorting the upper 10 percenit Shteigers from the lesser lights. There are also certain Chareidi communities suffering from “Lake Wobegon syndrome” where all the bochurinm are “above average”. I cannot imagine the Chareidim agreeing to a system where only the top performers on some examination would be granted derferments from IDF service, even if the exam were administered by the Charedi leadership and rosh yeshivos. Some of you old eough to recall, the U.S. once had a sort of meritocracy where college and grad students were granted deferrals during the Vietnam War while everyone else (except for bone spur sufferers) had to subnmit to the draft. There was no element of “selectivity” for escaping the selective service. All you had to do was to show you had registered for 9 credits/semester and you were clear for the next 12 months. Until the Charedi leadership accept numerical reality that at some point in the near future the IDF will require Charedi yungerleit to serve in some capacity (given the relative demographics), its not clear that anythng will change..

  42. Gadolhadorah, the macabeeim fought leshem shamayim so Jews can continue to do Mitzvos. The IDF inherently is against the torah so your arguement is flawed. And yes, without limud hatorah , eretz yisrael will cease to exist