The Hadas program at Midreshet Lindenbaum is a unique program established almost 20 years ago, and is geared toward post-high school, observant young women who wish to learn in the Beit Midrash and then serve in the IDF in select positions. Hadas participants receive a great deal of personal support in the drafting process and are offered posts in one of several tracks: the Educational Corps, Intelligence, Air Force, Commando support and the miitary spokesperson.
Hadas is highly respected by the IDF and as such, each young woman is viewed as a tremendous asset to the army. Our faculty visit the Hadas soldiers on their bases every other week in order to study Torah with them, share some nosh and schmooze – ultimately to ensure that they are thriving and are well integrated into their respective positions.
In the Fall of 2015, Midreshet Lindenbaum launched Hadas Chu”l, a track for orthodox, post-high school young women from abroad who wish to serve as soldiers in the IDF (either as Macha”l volunteers or as new Olot). This program includes a period of high-level Judaic studies with Israeli teachers and students, prior to being drafted. (A knowledge of Hebrew, equivalent to an intermediate level of Ulpan, is required for joining this program.)
Midreshet Lindenbaum offers several options for overseas candidates, including:
Midrashit - a 2.5-month or a 6-month period of study before being drafted.
Hadas - a year of study, before being drafted. The length of army service is based on each participant’s legal status in Israel. Sherut Leumi is also an option for our students.
Midreshet Lindenbaum maintains contact with parents throughout their daughter’s participation in our program. During their service, our students are given the option of living in an apartment together and being adopted by an Israeli family.
If you are an Orthodox young woman, about to complete high school and are thinking of a future in Israel, then this article is for you. If you are completing Sherut Leumi or military service and you feel a thirst for Torah... If your soul is tired, you feel you’ve entered a new stage and wish to delve into Jewish learning... I will try and touch on several key reasons for which you should come study at Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Israeli program in Jerusalem, (even if your parents are eager for you to start a degree or to start planning a future...)
A year of learning at our Midrasha can be as Harav Kook describes in Orot HaTorah: "Practical studies are food for the soul, building it part by part, just as actual food builds the body; and higher studies, deliberation of ideas, poetry, and elation, are air for the soul. No matter what, as long as the organ is fed healthier food, it will receive the best bounty..."
Learning nourishes the soul, it gives us strength to continue to live and to cope. If it happens that one stops learning, his spiritual world will weaken and fade. To paraphrase, it can be said that the study of Torah, especially at this time of one’s personal development, can be likened to “spiritual nuclear fuel" - fuel that ignites and gives energy not only during that particular time of learning, but throughout life. The flavor left by Torah study is “טועמיה חיים זכו” - “those who taste it, benefit with life” - that “taste” remains and illuminates at times of joy as well as times of distress.
Until now, you’ve learned Torah at school with the weight of homework and exams hovering over you. Now you have a unique opportunity to learn Torah purely for the sake of learning – for yourself, not for a teacher, a parent or a grade, but simply for the sake of learning Torah. Your new encounter with Jewish learning has an unusual capacity to contribute to your personal growth and to open your eyes, as though you were actually present at the original giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
It is said that like an artist who puts all of himself into his work, G-d has put His entirety into His own masterpiece – the Torah. Thus, an encounter with Torah is an encounter with G-d. There is truly one main goal in observance of Mitzvot and Torah study, and that is to become closer to God. But the big questions remain: how to achieve that? or how can one be touched by G-d?
A young woman who learns Torah will benefit in many ways. Today it should be inconceivable that one would train and specialize professionally but remain spiritually ignorant. It cannot be that a woman will delve into general studies without reading religious literature. Some argue that it is men who are commanded to study while women take care of the home. Today, when everyone is exposed to everything, we are all (men, women and children) commanded to engage in Torah study and to strengthen our faith.
You have a golden opportunity to get acquainted with the tip of the iceberg of the vast treasure of the Jewish Bookshelf – Rabbinic literature, Tanach, Halacha, Chasidut, and the Rishonim and Achronim. It is hard to imagine that you will find another opportunity in the future when you are not bogged down by maternal, familial, work or other responsibilities.
Every person who lives by the Torah and its Mitzvot is responsible for knowing how to behave and what to do. One must know the commandments, as we say in our morning prayers
“ללמוד וללמד, לשמור ולעשות, ולקיים את כל דברי תורתך”
"to learn and to teach, to protect and do, and to keep all the words of Your Torah" But beyond knowing "why" there is tremendous value in gaining knowledge for knowledge’ sake.
On the verse "when you rode your horses and your chariots to salvation?" (Habakkuk 3, 8) a great rabbi of Habad says: a person who learns Torah is like a man on horseback - as the horse can take the rider through valleys and high mountains where man’s legs do not reach because of nature’s limitations, the study of Torah takes one to spiritual heights, where no other study can take us. These are districts that delight the soul and cleanse the air for the spiritual journey.
When you learn Torah and leaf through the Jewish bookshelf you will slowly recognize a process of self-discovery. Every sort of study provides a mirror to yourself. Suddenly, you will feel that the journey into Torah is a journey into your inner world. Inevitably, knowing yourself will empower and strengthen you. You will sense a "Bat Kol" – a divine voice – speaking to you through the books, a connection to the root of your soul, your inner identity. Suddenly you will find a remedy for your pains, as if only for you the Torah was given...
יה”ר שנזכה להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה