The day was Sunday, September, 16, 2018, when one of the hardest news spread around the world. Ari Fuld, 45 years old, a warrior, father, rabbi, mentor, was stabbed in the back by a terrorist.
Ari was born in New York and immigrated to Israel in 1991. He served in the IDF and lived in Efrat with his wife, Miriam, and children, Tamar, Naomi, Yakir and Natan.
Ari was one of my rabbis when I was in yeshiva. He was more than just a rabbi to me, he became my mentor and friend. He was someone I could talk to at any time, no matter what was happening. Though Ari was not my family, he treated each and every person her knew as family, with incredible respect and patience. After his death, it was not just his own immediate and extended family who mourned for him, but people all over the world, who came to know and respect him.
I’m grateful that I got to spend time with him. In the same way Ari led his life, he died—with heroism. He loved Israel and the army with so much passion. When he was discharged from his mandatory army service, he tore up his discharge papers and continued to serve for the IDF throughout his entire life. After he was stabbed by a terrorist, he continued to run after him, jumping over a fence and fighting until he fell, unable to fight anymore. His heroic actions prevented the terrorist from stabbing a local store owner close by. His actions, seconds before he died, defined what kind of man he was his entire lifetime. Ari in Hebrew means “lion.” And that’s what he was– a lion for Israel.
As part of the purification process for Tzarat (a skin condition described as white patches or spots that one contracted as punishment for speaking lashon harah), the Kohen is commanded to take two doves. After killing one of the birds, the Kohen takes the second one, alive, and dips her in the blood of the slain dove, together with a crimson thread, hyssop, and branch of a cedar tree, before allowing her to fly to freedom.
Ari always said that’s the story of our nation. We may get drenched in the blood of our brothers, but we can’t just sit there feeling bad for ourselves. We have to fly to freedom. That’s why when we fly away, our wings are still stained by the blood of all of Israel’s fallen soldiers. Today, on Yom Hazikaron, while we remember our brothers who died, we keep on flying.
Let’s take this as a lesson to always stand as proud Jews. Let us stand up and fight for what we believe in. Just as Ari did.
In honor of Chana bas Avrohom may her neshama have an aliya. Beezrat Hashem we will overcome our challenges, we will all be safe! And that Mashiach will arrive very very soon!