A Tale of Two Bombshells – Moshav Gefen

Moshav Gefen was founded by Moroccan Jewish immigrants in the 1950s. Located between Kiryat Malachi and Beit Shemesh, it attracts tourists to the national forests, interesting caves, and boutique wineries nearby. Belev Echad has been bringing moshav residents closer to their Creator for 15 years.

A Tale of Two Bombshells

One hot summer’s day, Belev Echad’s Rabbi Borochov was setting up for his weekly shiur in Moshav Gefen. The room felt stuffy even with all windows open, so Rabbi Borochov propped open the door as well to bring in some cross-breeze.

He couldn’t have known then what that cross-breeze would really blow in.

A few minutes into the shiur, the listeners heard footsteps in the hall. A young, secular moshav member popped his head into the room curiously. He stood for a few minutes, listening, then popped back out.

Fifteen minutes later, he was back. Again, he listened for a moment and disappeared.

The third time he popped in, Rabbi Borochov interrupted himself and smilingly pulled an empty chair close to him.

“You don’t need to stand. Come have a seat!”

The next week, the young fellow, Eyal, showed up at the beginning of class and stayed straight through. As he did every single week for the entire next year.

Over that year, Eyal and Rabbi Borochov became extremely close. Rabbi Borochov devoted himself to helping Eyal draw closer to his Creator. As the year drew to a close, Rabbi Borochov was feeling thrilled for Eyal and proud of his progress.

Then, after a class, Eyal casually dropped a bombshell.

“I won’t be coming to class for a while. I’m headed to the Far East with some friends.”

Rabbi Borochov could barely hold back a groan. Though touring the Far East – and getting involved in its deeply idolatrous culture – was the typical coming-of-age trip for thoroughly secular Israeli youngsters, Rabbi Borochov had thought Eyal would choose a better path.

He wished the young man well with a sinking feeling, knowing this was likely the last time he’d ever see him.

A few months later, Rabbi Borochov got a call from Rabbi Nosson Kohn, Belev Echad’s director.

“How’s Eyal doing?” Rabbi Kohn wanted to know.

Rabbi Borochov sighed. “I don’t think I made as much of an impression on him as I’d thought,” he said. “Eyal decided to join some friends on a Far East trip. I haven’t heard from him since.”

Rabbi Borochov could feel Rabbi Kohn’s sadness through the phone line. “Oy. He was blossoming so beautifully. Now he’s hurting himself so badly.”

Rabbi Borochov nodded heavily. “It’s like the entire last year never happened.”

“Do you happen to have his address?” Rabbi Kohn wanted to know.

“I don’t have it now, but I can probably get it from his friends. Why do you want it?”

“I want to send him a little something in the mail.”

Rabbi Borochov shrugged. “I’ll do my best to get it for you. Can I ask what you want to send him?”

“A little Torah book he might like. Maybe Torat Habayit.”

Months passed. One day, a friend of Eyal’s mentioned to Rabbi Borochov that Eyal was planning to come home that week.

“Wow, I’d be excited to see him,” Rabbi Borochov replied.

A few days later, as he was preparing for the week’s class, a young man walked through the open door. Rabbi Borochov looked up – and blinked. The fellow had Eyal’s face, but he was also wearing a kippah, tzitizit, and peyot.


Rabbi Borochov could hardly wait for his class to end so he could catch up with Eyal, who’d shared that he’d become completely religious. He needed to hear the story behind the young man’s unique, shocking turnaround.

“A few months into my trip, I was in a very low place. Spiritually, emotionally – I just wasn’t doing well.

“That’s when I got Rabbi Kohn’s warm, handwritten letter, and the Torah book. It felt like a hug from home – really, a hug from G-d. Alone and adrift as I felt, the book reminded me of you people, who cared about me and believed in me so much. Tears came to my eyes as I thought, what am I doing here, so far away from home, from these wonderful people, my people – my friends, my teachers?

“Everything turned around from there. I found a Chabad house and started living more like a Jew. I knew it was time to return to my true home.”

Eyal spent two years learning in a yeshiva geared toward baalei teshuvah. At the end of those years, he found his wife, also a ba’alas teshuvah brimming with idealism.

Today, several years later, Eyal serves as the rabbi of Moshav Gefen. He and Rabbi Borochov work together to bring their friends on the moshav closer to their Creator.

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