click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

In Search of Aaron Sofer

In Search of Aaron Sofer

Let's do our part to help find our missing Jewish brother.


I can’t believe this is happening again.

The Jewish people are still twisting in pain over the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli yeshiva students back in June, and now we find ourselves in the same situation once again: examining forests, turning over stones, searching ceaselessly for an innocent yeshiva student.

Twenty-three-year-old Aaron Sofer, a yeshiva student from Lakewood, New Jersey, has been missing since just before Shabbos. He disappeared in the middle of hike with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest. Police, assisted by thousands of volunteers, have launched an extensive search for Aaron. His parents have flown to Israel to be a part of the desperate search for this Jewish neshama (soul).

Once again, it is time to step up the prayers and acts of kindness, as we beseech the Almighty to protect Aaron and return him to his parents’ embrace. With the Jewish month of Elul upon us, we can dedicate the spiritual growth attained during this auspicious time of the year to the merit of Aaron ben Chulda. We cannot just show up on Rosh Hashanah and expect to have a transformative and inspiring High Holiday experience. We need to engage in a spiritual inventory of our past year and an honest assessment of how we can fulfill our potential for the year that lies ahead of us.

A little time, some hard work and meaningful contemplation is the essence of Elul and is the only way to ensure a meaningful New Year.

I try to carve out 20 minutes a day during this month for some serious introspection and spiritual accounting. I use the time to reconnect to my true priorities, to clarify my unique purpose in the world and what I am trying to accomplish in this short life of mine. I try to be honest about my strengths and weaknesses and create an authentic and realistic plan for becoming better. Maximizing the days of Elul transforms my Rosh Hashanah experience. When I don’t, I walk away from the High Holidays feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.

Our job during the month of Elul, as the Days of Awe approach, is to send out a search party and launch an extensive search for the pure neshama within each of us.

These are days of repentance, the time to return to that deepest, most authentic place inside ourselves. The mistakes and miscalculations we make in our lives may corrupt and debase us, but only on the surface. That deepest, pure spark called the neshama remains perfectly intact. Taking time to think about what we may have done wrong, whom we may have hurt and how we want to live in the upcoming year allows us to recalibrate and come closer to who we’re ultimately meant to be.

May our spiritual return storm the Heavens and merit the physical return of Aaron Sofer. We hope and pray that our efforts will be fruitful and Aaron will be returned to his parents who lay awake at night and cry out for his return.



Seven hours after posting this article, the body of Aaron Sofer was found in the Jerusalem area of Ein Kerem. We are shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Readers can express their condolences in the comment section below.

August 27, 2014

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 38

(35) Reuven Frank, December 12, 2016 5:56 AM

What can we say?

Shock, grief, sorrow and tears were my first reactions.
I don't have what to say, and I'm not sure I'm entitled to say anything, having never dealt with such a loss.
May the Ineffable One avenge the blood of this fallen Holy soldier in His (HaShem's) army.
The translation of the ancient consolation prayer may help:

May the One who contains the universe, comfort you and yours amongst those who mourn for Tzion (the Holy Temple) and Yerushalayim (may it be rebuilt in Holiness and Splendor speedily and in our days)
and may you not (ever) have to continue to worry and mourn.
[My there be the resurrection of the deceased so that you can be reunited with Aharon.--Amen]

(34) Anonymous, September 5, 2014 12:27 AM

i cannot express my sorrow for your tremendous pain. may Hashem console your family as only He can.

(33) Loewenson, September 1, 2014 9:48 AM

Iam terribly saddened by ur tragedy

(32) Sara, August 30, 2014 9:38 PM


May Hashem give you the strength and comfort to continue!
May we only hear simchos!

(31) Keith, UK, August 30, 2014 9:15 PM

To The Parents Of Young Aaron

My wife and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to G-d for you. Many years back we lost our first son as a stillbirth. The pain was horrendous for both of us.
We never knew David's personality, and I suppose that helped somewhat and as time has passed that pain has eased somewhat. I can really feel how the passing on of your dear Aaron has created so much pain and almost a feeling of unreality. Something so very hard to accept. Even though we are very much at a loss to fully understand why this has happened, G-d will give you the strength and courage to cope with such a painful time. He will comfort you both. His love knows no bounds and is endless. Aaron's soul is now safely in our Creator's hands. Nothing can harm him or alter that now.

G-d bless you both. My wife and I are praying for you.

Keith, UK

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment