May God Avenge His Blood

There is an expression which is frequently used after the murder of innocent Jewish civilians: “Hamakom Yikom Damo,” or HYD for short. The rough translation is “May God Avenge His Blood.” People who skew to the right politically use the expression to express the desire for justice and revenge against the murderer. Those who tend towards the left may use the expression to convey the notion that justice is a matter for God to mete out, not for man.

The expression deserves further analysis, particularly as it relates to Ari Fuld, who was murdered by an Arab terrorist on September 16, 2018.

Bible Source for God’s Vengeance

The source for the HYD expression can be found in the Torah reading which was read last Saturday in synagogues around the world in Parashat Haazinu:

(הַרְנִ֤ינוּ גוֹיִם֙ עַמּ֔וֹ כִּ֥י דַם־עֲבָדָ֖יו יִקּ֑וֹם וְנָקָם֙ יָשִׁ֣יב לְצָרָ֔יו וְכִפֶּ֥ר אַדְמָת֖וֹ עַמּֽוֹ׃ (פ

O nations, acclaim His people! For He’ll avenge the blood of His servants, Wreak vengeance on His foes, And cleanse the land of His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43)

This line comes towards the end of one of only two poems that occur in the Bible. The sentence conveys that God will take vengeance on the enemies of the Jewish people. As translated here, this quote could be used to support the intentions of both liberals and conservatives.

However, the line must be read in the context of the entire poem, which gives important nuance to this expression of revenge.

The poem in chapter 32 begins with a description of God’s generosity towards the Children of Israel in giving them the holy land. However, it warns that the Jews will forget and forsake Him when they “grow fat” in the land. God will then punish the Jews for their sin, but He will ultimately relent – not because of the righteousness of the Jews – but because He doesn’t want the enemies of Israel to believe that they had vanquished God. He will bring His vengeance upon Israel’s enemies, because those foes had also rejected God and hurt His people.

Atonement for the Land-People

By the end of the poem when God’s vengeance is mentioned, the Jewish people will already have been pummeled. “God’s servants” will have already been devastated for rejecting His words, sacrificing to Him with “alien things” and worshiping strange Gods (32:16-18). The remaining sliver of His people will be saved and will serve as a testament to His word and promise.

With such backdrop, it is worth reviewing the final words of 32:43 which are translated above as “And cleanse the land of His people.” The Hebrew is more complicated and nuanced, and a more literal translation is “and His land His People will be atoned.

“His land-people” is a very strange grammatical concoction, as there is no “and” connecting His land “and” His people. It can be best understood by looking at language used earlier in the poem (32:8-9):

בְּהַנְחֵ֤ל עֶלְיוֹן֙ גּוֹיִ֔ם בְּהַפְרִיד֖וֹ בְּנֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם יַצֵּב֙ גְּבֻלֹ֣ת עַמִּ֔ים לְמִסְפַּ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

“When the Most High gave nations their homes And set the divisions of man, He fixed the boundaries of peoples In relation to Israel’s numbers.”

כִּ֛י חֵ֥לֶק יְהֹוָ֖ה עַמּ֑וֹ יַעֲקֹ֖ב חֶ֥בֶל נַחֲלָתֽוֹ׃

“For the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His own allotment.”

The text of 32:8-9 ties the notion of His nation (ammo in Hebrew) with the land of Israel itself. His nation, His people and His land are a single integrated entity. The “admato ammo” – “his land, his people” of 32:43 is that amalgam of the Jews living in their land of inheritance.

The verb preceding “admato ammo” is “v’kiper” which is similar to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The complete clause means that God’s vengeance upon the enemies of the Jews will atone for past actions and cleanse the slate to rightly set His people in His land once more.

Neither the right- or left-leaning orientation of the expression “May God Avenge His Blood” captures the full essence of the quote which is meant to establish the enduring peace of Jews in Israel.

Ari Fuld

The Jewish people are now a fraction of their proper number, having been decimated in the Inquisition, pogroms, a Holocaust, wars and terrorism over the past thousand years. Their paltry headcount was scattered among dozens of countries around the world, only recently being gathered again into His land, the land of Israel. It was a mere ten years ago, in 2008, when the number of Jews in Israel surpassed all other countries for the first time in 1900 years. The “admato ammo,” God’s land-people are finally established again.

One of the Jews to return to the Jewish homeland was Ari Fuld, moving to Israel from the United States several decades ago. He not only fought in the Israel Defense Forces, he loudly and proudly defended and supported the IDF at every opportunity. He taught classes on Judaism in school and was a fierce religious Zionist. Ari was the essence of “admato ammo” – part-and-parcel of God’s land-people.

The expression “Hamakom Yikom Damo” for Ari Fuld is not a simple prayer for God to bring justice to Ari’s murderer, but a request that God fulfill Ari’s dream of an enduring peace for admato ammo, His land-people. The Children and Land of Israel.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Ari Fuld. Warrior for Peace

Denmark and Netherlands Support Ari Fuld’s Murder

First.One.Through videos:

God is a Zionist (Joan Osborne)

1001 years of Expulsions (Schindler’s List)

Jewish Migration since 1900 (Diana Ross)

Aliyah to Israel (music by The Maccabeats)

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Denmark and Netherlands Support Ari Fuld’s Murder

Ari Fuld went shopping at his local mall on Sunday September 16, 2018, but never returned home. He was stabbed in the back and murdered by an Arab from a neighboring town.

The cold-blooded murder was barely covered in the liberal western press. However, it was covered by the Ma’an News Agency (MNA), which bills itself as an independent news agency for the West Bank and Gaza. The MNA had help in launching in 2005, as proudly stated on its website: “MNA was launched with generous funding from the Danish Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Netherlands Representative Office to the PA, and Ma’an Network is deeply grateful to both offices for their support during MNA’s foundational period.

How did the MNA report on the murder of this father of four? Read the article below (highlights added):

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian after stabbing attack

“BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Sunday near the illegal Israel settlement of Gush Etzion, south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, after the youth allegedly carried out a stabbing attack.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that a Palestinian youth stabbed two Israeli settlers, near the illegal Israeli Gush Etzion settlement.
Sources confirmed that one of the Israeli settlers, Ari Fold, 40, a father of four children, died after the stabbing attack. Meanwhile, the other Israeli settler suffered serious injuries.
Sources also reported that Israeli forces immediately opened fire and shot the Palestinian youth.
The youth was reported to be in moderate condition.
According to local sources, the youth was identified as 16-year-old Khalil Yousef Ali Jabarin, a resident from the Yatta village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.
Local sources confirmed that the youth was detained by Israeli forces and taken to an unknown location.
A number of Palestinians have been arrested, shot, or killed by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to carry out attacks or being in possession of a knife at the Gush Etzion junction.
Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in a majority of instances when Palestinians were killed, rights groups have disputed Israel’s version of events in a number of cases, and argued that many alleged attackers could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.”
The message in the story is clear: Israeli forces often claim that there is an attempted attack when none exists, and use it as a premise to shoot Palestinians. In this case, a Palestinian youth was shot and taken to an unknown location by Israeli forces for allegedly being behind a stabbing attack.
There was a video of the stabbing made available widely after the murder. There is no question that Ari Fuld was minding his business when this “youth” attacked him completely unprovoked. The news sources also reported that the Palestinian “youth” was taken to an Israel hospital for treatment. This fact was obviously known to MNA, as they posted a picture of the attacker being taken by Israeli medical responders.
MNA portrayed a David-versus-Goliath narrative of “Israeli forces” acting “illegally” shooting “Palestinian youths.” However, there was no Israeli military involved in preventing a widespread stabbing attack that Sunday morning, but local people who were fortunately armed to stop the Arab “youth” from killing more people.
Instead of describing the cold-blooded murder of a Jewish father, Ma’an wrote an article meant to inflame the passions of Arabs and anti-Zionists that Israelis are out for blood and shooting youths for no reason.
And it did this with the support of European countries like Denmark and the Netherlands.

Related First.One.Through articles:

Ari Fuld. Warrior for Peace

On September 16, 2018, Ari Fuld was stabbed in the back outside of a shopping mall by an Arab terrorist. He died shortly thereafter.

Ari grew up in Queens, NY and went to school in Riverdale at SAR Academy where his father was the principal. Like his parents and brothers, he was an ardent Zionist and later moved to Israel. He would marry and have four children.

Ari devoted his time to helping soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces. He would drive around the country delivering food, smiles and words of encouragement for the young men and women that were protecting the small nation. He would go on news programs defending the IDF, Israel’s policies designed to protect Israel, and speak out against countries and people that attacked the country politically.

It is unclear whether Ari was targeted for attack because of his zealous pro-Zionist views, or whether he was yet another Jew killed by an Arab for the simple reason that he was a Jew, no different than the Fogel family who were slaughtered in their sleep, Ezra Schwartz who was just delivering food to soldiers, or Leon Klinghoffer, who was pushed off a boat while on vacation.

What is not in question is the how fearless Ari was in taking his defense of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere he went.

While Ari lay dying, Jews around the world were reciting selichot, a selection of prayers which are said in the days before Yom Kippur. In the selection about Shalom, Peace, were statements about people like Ari, warriors for peace:

Peace, grant in our land, and subdue peoples under us,
may the nations, instead of us, be broken twice over.
For Hashem punishes with fire,
and yet encourages his warriors
I will hear what the Almighty God Hashem, will say
for he speaks of peace.

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Peace without end upon the throne of the Judean lion cub,
as his light shines forever, without being extinguished.”

While Jews pray for God to fight their battles, it takes warriors for peace to serve as the agents to bring about such peace. God will bring about the success of the warriors, but without warriors, there can be no success.

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet. Our most sincere condolences to the entire Fuld family and the entire Jewish people.