Photo Credit: courtesy
Barak Fuchs (R) learning in Gaza

For three months, Nachal reservists lived in a girl’s high school on Kibbutz Chofetz Chaim in central Israel.  Rabbi Zevik Harel, the school’s rabbi, wrote to me as follows:

At the ceremony held when the reservists were leaving, I shook everyone’s hand, including that of Barak Fuchs, whose regular job is that of a programmer for Israel Aerospace Industries. I’d seen him during breaks sitting in the study hall and asked him: “Which book were you studying?” Elated, he replied, “Today I was privileged to complete the entire Tanach!”


He related that when he was called up for reserve duty, he tried to think of something that would be spiritually fulfilling, and decided that whenever he’d have some spare time, he’d study Tanach with the commentary of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.

“I told myself that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read the entire Tanach and, to be honest, it really helped me feel connected,” he shared. “Our company was going in and out of Gaza, non-stop, and during breaks I’d sit and learn. We didn’t know when we’d be released from army service, but the guys joked that as soon as I’d complete Tanach, then we’d be sent home. And believe it or  not, I’ve now reached the end of the book of Divrei Hayamim, the last book in the Tanach, and we’re going home!”

When Barak heard that I would be writing up his story, he asked to add the following: “I have ADHD and find it difficult to focus. I never had a daily study program. But I want to share with all my brothers and sisters: Don’t ever give up on learning! There are ways that you, too, can learn. I personally learn with earphones at different times of the day, whenever I have a chance.

“We need to understand that we may be challenged, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to use that as an excuse not to learn. It’s only a question of finding the way to overcome this challenge.”

The Steinsaltz Daily Study App is one of the easiest ways to maintain a daily study session, and it is now available free of charge.


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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.