Why IDF Commander Aaron Karov Lost 66 Pounds

Why IDF Commander Aaron Karov Lost 66 Pounds

Remember Aaron Karov? The IDF commander who was almost killed after he led his troops into Gaza a few hours after his chuppah?

Well, I just read a surprising article about him in Olam Katan Magazine which explained that as a teenager Aaron Karov was very overweight. And when he was 17, he decided to go on a diet and lost 66 pounds over the course of three and a half months.

Karov told Olam Katan, “For my whole life I was very fat. I weighed more than 220 pounds. And that meant I wouldn’t be able to join the army as a combat soldier….For my whole life I wanted to go on a diet, but it isn’t easy to give up on eema’s amazing food when you come home from yeshiva, or on the cookies and cakes when everyone else is enjoying them. It’s not easy to wake up every morning before everyone else and run for 40 minutes, but I wanted to be accepted into a combat unit, and to even become a commander. And losing weight was what I had to do to get there.”

And why would a person want to risk his life as a combat soldier in the first place? And why, in G-d’s name, would a person leave behind his wife of several hours in order to fight a war?

Karov explained himself with the following words :“Many times over the course of our lives we need to put our personal desires aside in order to do what needs to get done.”

But even after I put down this article, I didn’t get it. I understand having a burning desire for something pleasurable–a chocolate sundae, a bubble bath, a vacation on the beach. But to desire something so hard, so scary, so dangerous?

But when I thought about it some more, I realized that we mothers are the same way. Before we become mothers, we yearn to have a child. And after we have that child, we yearn to have more children.

And let’s be honest, JewishMOMs. Having children is hard! There’s debilitating morning sickness and then the zombie exhaustion of the ninth month, and then the intense pain of childbirth before we even arrive at the multitude of challenges of raising those babies we give birth to.

But we yearn to have children, with all the challenges that comes with them. We yearn for them just like Aaron Karov yearned to put his life at risk as an IDF combat commander.

Because somewhere deep down we, like Aaron Karov, understand that the greatest pleasures in life aren’t ice cream or bubble baths or vacations on the beach. The deepest pleasure is connecting to Hashem and doing His will. And often, for soldiers as well as for mothers, that requires “putting our personal desires aside in order to do what needs to get done.”

A woman’s supreme pleasure: the blood, sweat, and tears mixed with incomparable happiness and satisfaction that is being a JewishMOM.


  1. What a special man! What a beautiful article! Very inspirational and well written.

  2. Yonina Selman

    this brought tears to my eyes…thanks

  3. so true! It takes hard work to accomplish worthwhile things.

  4. I don’t know Aaron well, but I do know his wife, we were in a Yoga class together in Ariel. I think he is a true Gibor and I know that the country I live in is safe because of people like him. On the other hand I think we should also take a moment to think what a Gibora his wife was and is. She stood by him when he went to Gaza and through his long recovery. All over Israel so many women are supporting husbands in the army, whether it is full time service, or miluiim. Kol Hakavod to all the wives of the soldiers as well.

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