"According to Jewish philosophy, when a person faces a crisis, they can grow from it and become greater than before. I see this in my personal life. Today I feel stronger and better than I did before I was wounded.” So said Aharon Karov, who was critically wounded while fighting Hamas in Gaza more than a year ago, in a dialog with teenagers from the city of Ariel.
Karov told the teens at the OU's Jack Gindi D'Oraita Center that he had made a choice to become stronger. “As I began rehabilitation, I told myself that I wanted to become even better than I was before I was injured, both physically and emotionally,” he said. The approach bore fruit, he said, “I have yet to complete rehabilitation, but I already feel that I've grown,” he said.
As an example, he said, “I appreciate life much more, especially the little things that often get taken for granted.”
He shared inspirational stories from the days after he was wounded, when he experienced an outpouring of support from the Jewish people, and reminded his young listeners of the importance of “ahavat chinam” --.
Many of the teens participating in the meeting were approaching the age at which they will be drafted into the army. Their discussion with Karov centered on the importance of enlisting in the IDF, and of combat service in particular.
"If you had known from the beginning that you would be badly wounded, would you go out to war anyway?” one young man asked. Karov answered in the affirmative, a response that earned him an emotional hug from the young questioner.
Karov's story captivated the attention of Israelis nationwide due to the fact that he joined his unit to fight in Gaza on the morning after his wedding. He was critically wounded less than two weeks after he was married.
His young bride, Tzvia Mordechai, was by his side during his lengthy recovery. In June, the couple welcomed their first child.
His meeting with Ariel teens took place at the D'Oraita Center, run by the Orthodox Union (OU). D'Oraita centers exist throughout northern and central Israel, and aim to both entertain and inspire local teenagers with a mix of fun activities, billiards, workshops, and one-on-one discussions with counselors.