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“May G-d avenge their blood.”
Sounds harsh? This is a standard prayer that one might say when hearing of the death of a fellow Jew at the hands of a hate crime – of one who was killed for being Jewish. Last week, I included this short prayer at the conclusion of a Facebook post.
I know that previously, when posting thoughts of this nature, I’ve received some inquiries about the “avenge” piece, and this time was no different. In the chat box of a Words With Friends game, an acquaintance asked:
I always felt good about the simple Jewish approach to vengeance: it belongs to G-d. We pray to Him to bring it on people who perpetrate evil, and we go through appropriate legal channels (including this incredible law firm
) to bring about justice ourselves, but we do not take vengeance into our own hands.
Then I read this emotional piece
by my friend Sarah Rudolph, expressing resistance to using the term – and it really made me think. Revenge people-style, and revenge G-d-style are not the same thing. People-revenge is angry, instinctive, emotional, and anger-driven. G-d revenge is restoring justice to a world gone mad. I don’t want revenge, because I don’t want to become an ugly person. I want G-d to do it – because I know He’ll do it right.
And I’m proud of a religion that knows the difference.