Dedication, Devotion and Idealism: OTS Students Study Torah and Defend Israel

RKB visiting Machanaim soldiers
OTS President and Rosh HaYeshiva learns with Beren-Machanaim soldiers on active duty

At OTS’s Robert M. Beren Machanaim Hesder Yeshiva, many students and alumni are still serving both in the standing army and the IDF reserves, defending Israel on all fronts.

Back on the yeshiva home front are those students who are “mobilized” in intensive Torah study, while continuing to contribute to the war effort in every possible way. They are privileged to learn from leading Torah scholars who review various halakhot related to war and share some of the recent issues and questions that have arisen from soldiers and officers currently in the field.

For example, several soldiers asked if it was permissible for them to travel home on a Shabbat if that was the only opportunity they would have to see their families after many weeks away (the answer was yes, as it was critical for their mental wellbeing, as well as that of their family members).

Machanaim miluim visits
Yeshivat Machanaim students visit peers who hae been recruited since October 7th

Another question was whether the ceramic plate in the back of a protective vest (predominantly used for protection against “friendly fire”) could be given to another soldier to place in the front of his vest (the answer given was yes, as it enabled protection from a more definite danger as opposed to a possible danger).

These dedicated students also learn and pray for the wellbeing and safety of the soldiers, the refuah shlayma of the wounded, and the speedy return of the hostages still in captivity.

Recharging Batteries Through Torah Learning

Midreshet Lindenbaum‘s Hadas Torah/IDF Program soldiers also serve significant positions in various IDF units and bases throughout the country. Since the outbreak of war, many alumnae have been mobilized into the reserves where they are filling crucial roles in intelligence and combat support.

Hadas with Ohad in miluim
Rabbi Ohad Teharlev takes a break from his miluim duties to give a shiur to Hadas soldiers on base in southern Israel

While Midreshet Lindenbaum staff typically visit the Hadas soldiers weekly, wartime conditions have made this difficult, as many are on closed bases on the southern and northern borders, and their workload has been intensified, leaving them with less time.

Despite the fact that he himself has been called up in the emergency mobilization, Director of Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Israeli Programs Rabbi Ohad Teharlev still manages to get to certain bases, even as he fulfills his IDF role as a Bereavement Officer in the Golani Brigade. “The three-and-a-half hour drive each way was worthwhile – not just for the soldiers, who recharge their batteries with a Torah lesson and treats, but also for me,” says Teharlev. “I draw incredible strength from witnessing their dedication, devotion, and idealism.”

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