I did not know Ari Fuld, ZT”L personally. I met him once when he came to speak at our shul, Beth Tfiloh Congregation, to raise money for Standing Together. I was inspired by him when I met him and was devastated by what happened. I have been inspired by the strength of his family and friends. I repeatedly have heard referenced that Ari was a defender of the Jewish people in this world, and the hope that he would be an even stronger defender in the heavens. With all of this is mind, I had goosebumps when I read the following words on Kol Nidrei night in slichot. I share this in the hope that it brings some comfort to all of those who knew Ari and that it provides a Zchut (merit) for his Neshama (soul).
דוד שואג בקול יתן קול דברו סלחתי
הס קטגור וקח סנגור מקומו
ויהי ה׳ למשען לו, למען נאמו סלחתי
Beloved, who ROARS loudly, grant us the sound of His word, I have forgiven.
Silence the accuser and let the DEFENDER take his place,
And may Hashem be his support so that He can say I have forgiven.
While the pshat (straightforward interpretation) here is the Beloved refers to God, I don’t think it’s a stretch to see a double meaning. Here is how I read it this year. As Yom Kippur approached and God above prepared to seal our fate for the coming year:
Ari, the BELOVED of so many, is in the heavens above, ROARING LOUDLY, telling Hashem to forgive us. Ari, the DEFENDER has taken his place, and has silenced the accuser. Hashem is Ari’s support, and we pray that He has said “I have forgiven.”
May Ari be a Meilitz Yosher, a true advocate for his family, his people, and the entire world.
Tehe Nishmato Tzrura Btzror Hachaim.