TRAGEDY: BARUCH DAYAN HA’EMES: Body of Aaron Sofer Z”L Found; Levaya Info

candleUPDATED: After six days of searching, and Davening around the globe for the safe return of Lakewood Bachur Aaron Sofer, his body was located.



The body was located in the same forest he went missing in last Friday while hiking with a friend, sources tell TLS.

Sources say the death does not appear to be terror related.

Additionally, it appears he may have fallen down a cliff while attempting to navigate his way out of the forest.

The body was reportedly found about one mile from where he was last seen by his friend.

UPDATE: The Levaya will tentatively take place tomorrow 9:30am. (Israel time) in front of Rabbi Kaplan’s Yeshiva on Rechov Even Ha-Azel. Kevura will be in the Eretz Hachayim Cemetery Lakewood section in Bet Shemesh.

[TLS-News Breakers]


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  1. kollel wifee, plz dont place unnecessary blame on the friend who will probably have trouble living with this the rest of his life. srsly not the time.

  2. wierd, in Israel it is not yet confirmed 100% and on the lakewood scoop it is already official.
    yes, the signs are all there and yet an Aguna would be unable to marry with the information received so far.

    but the price of the “news sooop” i guess is worth it to be able to confirm the unconfirmed death.

    Boruch Dayan Haemes

  3. BDE. I knew him years ago. He was always a wonderful boy.

    To #5:

    Please forgive me, but your writing was not clear. It sounds like you are blaming the friend. That is not called being on a low madreiga, it is called being idiotic.

  4. Nebuch!!! I am crying!!! Sooo sad!!! Hopefully all the tears we cried have filled up the cup and hashem will bring mashiach speedily!! We all need to grow and change ourselves!! This is so close to home and who knows what tzara hashem can bring next chas vshalom!! I think all the women of this town should take a kabala in the area of childrens clothing. It became an avoda zara. The clothing is idolized. The stores became our master. We bow down to them and buy the crazy prices just to have our 3 yr old dressed just so! And we run before sizes are sold out and they are disgusting about returns!! How low can we fall??? Are we not in this world to serve hashem properly so we can get to olam haba?? May all our tfilos and kabalos be a zchus for ahrons neshama!! Bde!

  5. to #5.

    It is not at all difficult to be dan lekaf zechus, as there is no basis at all to blame the friend. As soon as he realized that Aaron was missing, he reported and got the best searchers involved and they couldn’t find Aaron so how could the friend have found him on his own?! He couldn’t have done a better thing than to report, which he did. The fact that they got separated is normal when 2 boys go on a hike together. You didn’t expect that they should have been holding hands the entire time.

  6. Heartbreaking!! We should be mindful as we post on this site that many people will be reading both the updates to this devastating news and people’s reaction. I dont think anger or blame is what is appropiate at this point in time if at all.

  7. Oy! Oy! OY! Rachmana L’tzlan! Oy! Oy! Oy! Hashem Yeracheim! Rachmana Chus, Rachmana P’roik, Rachmana Sh’ziv! Please Hashem, let us all come close to you and take away any more suffering from your broken-hearted people. Send Moshiach Tzidkeinu Bimheira Biyomaynu, Please, I’m begging you!

  8. to #5 you need extreme therapy and extreme basic hashkafa classes – quickly – i hope your attitude doesn’t rub off on your family and friends – Hashem Yeracheim!

  9. Please everyone beating up #5, calm down!! Do we really think name calling is the right response? To #5, please realize his friend is beating himself up as it is, but bottom line this has NOTHING to do with him (although it is easy to see it that way..) and relize Hashem wanted Aharon as a korban for US to do teshuva.

    Everyone who is name calling, don’t think you’re any better than #5. We all need to work on ourselves, everyone has their nesyonos.

  10. BDE

    with tears in my eyes, I beg everyone-myself included to wakeup & do teshuva, how much worse must the situation get (parts of my siddur are waterlogged from tears of non stop crying for klal yisroel) when will we finally wake up & return to Hashem as a nation together? have we not had enough tzaros in the past few years of non-stop horrific tragedies?

    May his neshama have an aliya, may his family have a nechama & may we all do teshuva ASAP so mashiach can come already.

  11. Oy nebech. BD”E. thanx, TLS, for covering this tragic story superbly & sensitively. And for removing #5’s insane post. And I bet she’s not even a kollel wife. Or a she.

  12. Why is nothing being reported anywhere regarding the bochur who went hiking with Aron Sofer. According to Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin speach in Lakewood lasy night, he is being tortured by the Israeli to try and get a confesion out of him. Havent seen anything written regarding this.

  13. #19 maybe you a right. Sorry #5. I was just horrified. Totally horrified to think the boy, or a relative can read that post. Sorry if I over reacted. If you I hurt you ( which I did) Please forgive me ( say it with your mouth). I hope that you join my journey of change. Hope to meet you in yerushalim very soon!!

  14. Devastated absolutely devastating
    Nows probably not the right time
    But a little weird in such a small forest the dogs didn’t pick up the scent at all?
    Very bad police work
    Not that it would’ve saved him but goes to show the police are not all powerful
    Gd bless Chris smith he is a real mentch
    Also kudos to Cory booker and all the others for their concern
    AD kan . We got the message now let’s do teshuva properly

  15. So Sad, BD”E. As for the cause, I think #9, “Cry” is right: The problem is the amount of time & money spent on childrens’ clothing. That must be it. For sure.

  16. Thank You TLS for removing my post; I know that it was definitely a horrible way to think (I mentioned that in my post, didn’t I) and I never, ever should have shot something like that off in a moment of grief. I would never want such a sentiment out there, so I appreciate that you did what I should have done and deleted it. I am deeply sorry for having posted it.

    I’m still shaking from the horrible nastiness targeted at me for what is a natural, albeit hashkafically incorrect, reaction to such news. Of course I’m hurt, I am a she, after all, and that is how we generally react to insult.

    May Hashem grant this very special family a nechama and help them get through this most difficult time. May He grant us the ultimate Nechamah of no more tzaar with the coming of Mashiach, very, very soon.
    And may we hasten that day by holding tight to the achdus engendered by this tzarah and remaining civilized and kind at all times and to all people.

  17. Aron is a kodesh kedashim (Holy of Holies)
    May his family find strength and comfort.
    May Aron be a mailetz yosher for all of klal yisrael.
    If this can comfort us at all – He is definitely in a much better place now, and now knows why any of our recent tzaros had to happen.
    H-shem loves us and him more then we can ever imagine.
    May we all reunite with Aron with the coming of mashiach very soon, if not today!

  18. Hashem Yeracheim. I was just thinking that although of course we have no idea why these things happen, look at the achdus that happened in Klal Yisroel when the 3 Israeli boys were kidnapped. Look at the achdus that resulted when this boy went missing.
    Does anyone think that we could possibly let Hashem know that we could have achdus, stop lashon harah and sinas chinam, stop constantly trying to one up the next person, WITHOUT needing these events to FORCE us to do so? It is about time we to some introspection and soul searching. Not just tsk tsk and go back to being smug about which school your kid got into.

  19. #9 Let me understand this….H’ashem took a promising young man from us because Chaya likes to buy fashionable clothes for her three year old? Is that it?

  20. For those asking why it took so long to locate his body. I was on the search for him in the forest. Yes, it is a small forest. However, there is a road that runs between two sections of the forest. Authorities didnt bother searching on the other side of the road from where he was lost. The searches themselves were extremely uncoordinated. The person that got stuff done was Yanky Meyers from Misaskim. Besuros Tovos.

  21. to kollelwife-
    we are truly sorry if we hurt you. but i def wouldnt call it a natural reaction to such news. not in a public forum, and not from a kollel wife’s mouth. sorry if you are shaking from the insult, but if that bachur or any friends or family of his would have read your comment, there would have been much more than just shaking from an insult. think about it. correct me if im wrong.

  22. Hi, I am no navi and am severally pained by this tragedy. Although, I do not have Ruach HaKadosh, I do know that throughout the recent conflict in E. Yisrael not one serious community wide gathering for tefilah was held in Lakewood.

    I like many others went to restaurants and enjoyed the summer while Jews in EY were under constant rocket attack and soldiers were in Gaza. Did we do enough? Should we not have gathered together at least once, if not multiple times to daven for our brothers and sisters the same way the search team gathered together to find Aaron?

    In recent days, two Lakewood young ones have passed away.

    Just thinking out loud and repeating Chazal’s dictum of the scariness of separating from the Tzibbur.

    May we only hear besoros tovos and always be metzaref to the needs of Yidden throughout the world.

  23. I think that lady with the children’s clothing is completely right definitely it’s the clothing we must work on
    Not the loss of our youth
    The obsession with money
    The ignoring of widows and orphans
    The poor who suffer with no one to help them
    Or even the blatant looking down in other people and vein odom Chavero issues that we have
    It’s definitely the kids clothes

    Lady. , what you been smokin?

  24. This is one of those tragedies that leaves a tremendous amount of pain in what ifs, and in the pain it becomes hard to remember that the RBS鈥漁 determines the time when Neshomos come to the world and when they return.
    As someone who has also personally suffered the pain of shiva compounded by those who are clueless, I beg everyone to review the halachos of nichum availim before meeting with the family. CHAZAL knew what they were talking about. The mishpacha should determine how the levaya and shiva is to be conducted and what is open for discussion. Please live up to the bracha of “Ma tovu ohalecha Yaakov” and PLEASE RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY!!.
    Also as a parent I beg everyone to approach the Hanhalahs of their children鈥檚 Yeshivos to reevaluate their current security plans for their students.
    In E鈥漎 with the matzav as it is, the Bachurim /Seminary Girls should be encouraged NOT to leave the Yeshiva building WITHOUT cell phones. This is a simple measure that can be vital to their safety. In addition the kids need to be spoken to very frankly about the present situation and given parameters to follow for their own safety. We assume our kids realize, but understandably being young, independent and often relatively isolated from the news while in yeshiva they may not fully get it.
    The situation outside of E鈥漎 is also changing rapidly. Almost every community world-wide already has recently had to deal with anti-Semitic incidents and some have been violent. The yeshivas need to start reconsidering their current safety plans.
    We have to have to have Emunah and Bitachon and at the same time we have the chiyuv of Histadlus. V鈥橲hamartam es nafshoseycham is a Mitzvas Assay.
    It should be a given that we all need to do some serious Teshuva and Tephilla. Its Elul, why not avoid the holiday rush!

  25. To the people who are concerned that this May have happened due to fashionable children’s clothing, rest assured you have nothing to worry. It says clearly in Sefer Shemiras Haloshon that in a time in history (don’t remember which, don’t have Sefer near me) there was a lot of Avodah Zarah but Hashem did not punish the Yiden because they had great Achdus.
    In my Bais Yaskov years we always learned the second chorban was due to a lack of “Bein Adam Lachaveiro”
    The act of Judging others or looking down in your heart at those who have different sensitivities and priorities is Far worse than ‘fashionable clothes’…

  26. Maybee at this time it would be a good idea that instead of saying opinions (myself included), Attacking others, and not keeping to comment rules, which are all not the way we should react to such a tradgedy, We should take out a Tehilim (Psalms) and Daven ( Pray) to Hashem for all of us in this turbulent time of danger world wide.
    We should learn Mishnyos for Ahron ben Moshe Tzvi 讘讙谉 注讚谉 转讛讗 诪谞讜讞转讜

  27. to 29. Lakewood is home because we live here. Gush Etzyon is not because we don’t.
    That was easy, wasn’t it?
    Unless we create new translations of the word home. You would have to warn us first.

  28. It is absolutely revolting that people will decide why tragedies happen in Klall Yisroel. All you can do is try to be better, or take something upon yourself as an aliya for this precious person who is now lost to us. Daven and connect to Hashem.

    G-d has His reasons that we can’t possibly fathom, and it is ignorant and foolish to blame it on clothing. You are not G-d. You do not see the big picture. You do not have the answers.

    Instead of pointing fingers, why don’t you work on yourself to be a better person? (Whatever that means to you on your own level.)

    May Hashem grant this family comfort during this very difficult time. Besuros tovos.

  29. 讘专讜讱 讚讬讬谉 讛讗诪转 – 讛爪讜专 转诪讬诐 驻注诇讜

    Note fom #46 – I did not meen do disqualify in any way thoose who are saying the right message – Teshva, Tefilah and Tzeddaka is what we should be doing, and our Limud Hatorah should bring to action, that we live the way a Ben Torah should. To be Midakdek in Shmiras Shabbos, Tznius – not to be fashionable, We are not here to stay – our homes should reflect that. Kosher computers. In short we all must each have a mentor , The Ziknei Hayir, as we read this week Parshas Shoftim and the Halacha of Egla Arufa – We should be able to say “Our hands did not spill this blood” – With our actions – See Even Ezra Perek 21 Possuk 7, Vi’eineinu.

  30. #14
    And we wonder why people go off the derech! Hashem took an innocent Bachur from this world because of childrens clothing?! Heavy Avoda Zara there!

  31. its all about that clothing life, people. thats why this kid gave his pure soul back to his creator. thats why.
    maybe he completed his tafkid in this world and his neshama is perfect and beautiful? maybe he did exactly what he came here for and the master of the world wanted his dear one back next to him??
    just a suggestion..

  32. Governor Chris Christie released the following statement on the tragic passing of Aharon Sofer:

    鈥淲e extend our deepest condolences to the family of Aharon Sofer on their unthinkable loss. As parents, Mary Pat and I cannot imagine the sense of grief and sadness that engulfs them at this moment. We add our thoughts and prayers to those of so many in New Jersey and around the world for this family and the community of Lakewood. Together, we can help them deal with this awful tragedy

  33. Before the body of Aharon Sofer was found, Allison Kaplan Sommer wrote a pointed article for Haaretz questioning why, in Israel, the media basically ignored the disappearance of Aharon.

    鈥淚t remains a mystery why it is still absent from the Israeli mainstream,鈥 Sommer wrote yesterday. 鈥淚t is extremely rare 鈥 almost unheard of 鈥 for a news story in Israel to grab major newspaper headlines and TV broadcast time in the United States 鈥 and yet be totally non-existent when it comes to the Israeli media. But that is precisely the case when it comes to a missing young man named Aaron Soffer鈥 Not only is Soffer himself nowhere to be found 鈥 but news of his disappearance is completely missing from the mainstream Israeli landscape.鈥

    Sommer wondered if this was because he wasn鈥檛 Israeli, because he is 鈥渦ltra-Orthodox,鈥 or because the local media is solely focused on the war in Gaza and other unrest in the region.

    鈥淣obody seems to have a clear answer,鈥 Sommer wrote. 鈥淏ut whatever the reason, by Wednesday, the story had been plastered all over the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania region in every possible publication and even garnered some attention in the national media 鈥 with pieces on Fox News, USA Today, and an AP story that ran in The Huffington Post.

    鈥淏ut in Israel, the only outlets that have been covering Soffer鈥檚 disappearance and the search for him are religious publications and English-language media. As a result, the major international news outlets based in Israel haven鈥檛 focused on the story either.鈥

    鈥淭he media can really affect people鈥檚 response,鈥 Sommer quoted public relations consultant and social media activist Laura Ben-David as saying. Referring to the first two days following his disappearance, she said: 鈥淏y not putting it out there, people either didn鈥檛 know, or didn鈥檛 understand, how urgent this was. I鈥檝e heard from a number of people that they automatically discounted it when they only saw it in the chareidi press. And I am not anti-chareidi at all鈥 I simply don鈥檛 hold much stock in news that the mainstream media doesn鈥檛 report on.鈥

    The family were frum , articulate,well spoken,touching,wholesome,

    and primarily opposite of the media 鈥檚 normal portrayal

    鈥robably better kept off the screens of the israeli masses

    The mystery of why the saga of the disappearance of Aharon Sofer was ignored Israel by the mainstream 鈥 and its media 鈥 remains

    Or does it?

  34. Prayers for the family and friends. I am not Jewish, but we all have the same God, and he listens to everyone’s prayers. The family is in my thoughts.

  35. Not that childrens clothing should be the sole problem but 拽讘 讛讬砖专 beginning perk 驻讘 clearly says the folly with goyish clothing and the reasons there apply also to childrens clothing. The chofetz chaim says clearly (in back of 注诇 讛转讜专讛) that b/c of lack of tzous we loose our protection. For the achdus people the lack of achdus by churban bais sheni was b/c of tzedukim and problems they caused see r a miller on the subject usually for the most part the bnei torah followed shalom like it says by bais shamai and bais hillel.
    It does say bachurim are taken away early for aveiros of arios ie internet, movies, goyish music ( nivel peh) tznius…(by the way i am filtered100%) so achdus really means following the torah not making peace with wicked people who dont follow the torah and yes we are comanded to despise these people 讗讜讛讘讬 讛 砖谞讜 专注.. A peson that leaves or is leaving the fold or Any other way not following the torah when they were raised 注诇 驻讬 转讜专讛 does not have status of tinok shnishbu see igrosmoshe on subject. If that means no shalom its says anyway 讗讬谉 砖诇讜诐 诇专砖注讬诐 讗诪专 讛 if hashem swears by this then we need to follow and not make up new opinions if the torah
    If people posting here would have torah knowledge then speak from that otherwise dont bash if you have a head devoid from torah or simple jewish values!!!

  36. bd”e hashem has his ways , we have our whys. in achdus we davened in achdus we will be saved. from this long terrible galus, we have endured all of these days.

  37. Firstly, if anyone’s doing the bashing it’s you…
    Second the biggest prob, from my humble perspective is when people decide to ignore the plain Pashut pshat – Achdus means Achdus! Togetherness in love for one another. There can be drashim that expound on the pshat, Not change it. When u give different meaning to the pshat – this might hit a nerve – but – that is what the Christians (lehavdil) have done with the Torah…
    When we learn R Alivas taidim were niftar bec they had a flaw – yes they did, as great as they were – We’re meant to Learn from it – Not whitewash it.
    Children’s clothing – folly with goyish clothing – have u noticed how goyish children dress today?? There is no shaychis to how we dress our kids.

    Hating & condemning the kids who were burnt by the system and went off… Is a deep lack of understanding why it happens. Every kid who goes off is because they experienced deep pain due to – learning disabilities and were mishandled by the system, dysfunction in family, or molestation – sorry no, not yetzer harah…

    When we grow spiritually without Humility, that’s when the yetzer harah takes over & totally confuses frumkeit. The only way to know what’s what is to Humbly ask Hashem to Lead us in the Right direction! The Only way!

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