Lone Soldier Profile: Evyatar Singerman
From Baltimore, MD
IDF Unit Mesaya’at Shiryon (Armored Support – the armored tank units that defend Israel’s borders and conducts operations when needed)
Tell us about your role in the army.
I am currently serving in a Mesaya’at Shiryon unit and am part of Yeshivat Lev HaTorah’s Lev LaChayal program. Our job is to clear the path to ensure there are no ambushes or traps set up to stop the tanks. We scout the buildings our tanks will pass to remove the threat of RPGs or other heavy arms that could be used to harm our armored vehicles.
What inspired you to join the IDF?
My decision to draft was a long process that began in childhood. I grew up in a very Tzioni family; we took many trips to Israel, during which I developed a love and deep connection to the land. From early on in my life, I sought to direct those feelings in a concrete way.
During my first year in yeshivah, I began clarifying the ideals and values that I wished to live by. In this reflective process, I discovered the ethical obligation to do my part. I am just as responsible for this land as any Israeli who grew up here. This point was stated clearly in the Torah itself by Moshe Rabbeinu. Two tribes, Reuven and Gad, approached Moshe with the request to remain and set up their permanent residence on the Moabite side of the Jordan River instead of entering Israel proper. Moshe protested vociferously, “You are going to settle here while your brothers go fight?” Native Israelis are my brothers. This is my People and my Land. I wanted to make sure to do my role because this is my story too!
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far in the army?
The shift in mindset to realize there is no individuality in the army, no autonomy whatsoever, can be rough. I am a soldier, entirely! There is a commander who gives orders; I just follow them. It’s my responsibility to follow the order, and there is no room for excuses or alterations to the instructions. I am not in control of my life while I am in the army! Now and then I get off for Shabbat, and then I have a chance to reclaim control over my time. But, otherwise, it’s not my time; it’s the army’s. I understand this is important to make me a good soldier, but it’s challenging sometimes. I would have loved to be at yeshivah for Rosh Hashanah, to sing and dance and daven with my friends and rebbeim. But it’s not a choice I get to make.
How does the loss of individuality help you be more successful as a soldier and unit?
It’s the most important thing. When we’re on a mission, I know that I am a part of a unit. I know that every guy is looking out for me and has my back; I can rely on them at all times. Every mission we carry out requires the whole team to work together. I need to focus on my piece of the mission without worrying about the other logistics. If one soldier on the team is unreliable, then the whole group is in jeopardy. Knowing there is one team and that we will get through everything together is critical and the only way to be successful.
The army is a very physical preoccupation. Does this experience have an impact on your spirituality?
In the army, I often get pushed beyond my limits, yet I keep moving forward because that is what needs to be done. I must jump in response to my officer’s commands, regardless of how I feel at the moment. I often think about carrying the commitment and vigor of my army service over to my mitzvah observance. If I act that way for my commander, a 21-year-old who is just a few months older than I am, then certainly I can and should do the same for G-d.