Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Found and Lost

Shimmy Blum

As Lakewood wrestled with the pain and sadness of the loss of one of their best and brightest talmidim, support poured in from the four corners of the Jewish world for the family of Aaron Sofer z”l.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of a community when one of its finest bnei Torah was lost in the prime of his life under extraordinarily painful circumstances. As summer vacation ended, and a new zeman and school year commenced, the Lakewood community has been living under a dark cloud since the moment the news of Aaron Sofer z”l’s disappearance and passing hit our shores. Mourners from all corners of the community and well beyond filed into the Sofer home, seeking to offer solidarity and a modicum of comfort to the bereaved parents, who had just returned home from Eretz Yisrael after the desperate search for their son ended with a heartrending levayah.  For nearly a week, virtually every community member had the image of Aaron Sofer in his mind; while davening, saying Tehillim, and inquiring about the latest developments as teams in Israel continued to search for the young man who disappeared the previous Friday on a hike in the Jerusalem Forest. Concern turned into panic as the days passed and the search uncovered no leads. By Wednesday evening, a special community gathering had been called in Ateres Reva Hall for the recitation of Tehillim and divrei chizuk. Traffic stretched for a mile around all sides of the hall as the event commenced. The community’s worst fears were realized the following morning when the news from Israel hit hard. Aaron’s body had been located, hat and jacket close by. Panic turned into mourning. The news hit Lakewood hard — especially at Yehivas Ohr Moshe, where Aaron had learned until last year, when he transitioned to Rav Tzvi Kaplan’s yeshivah in Yerushalayim. Ohr Moshe is headed by Aaron’s uncle, Rav Binyomin Eisemann shlita. “We lost the biggest talmid chacham and masmid in yeshivah, who never hurt a fly,” remarked a friend, Yochi Klitnick. It didn’t take any prodding for the bochurim at Ohr Moshe to pour out their memories. Well before his name made headlines, Aaron was recognized as a special soul. He arrived early to Shacharis every day, never, ever shmoozed during seder, and learned during bein hasedarim as well as after he returned home at night. He would arrive late to breakfast each day — he first had to set up the tables in beis medrash so that they’d be ready for seder — and wouldn’t bother toasting his bread, since it would take too much time off learning.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"