Eicha

Text from Sefaria

א אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה בָדָד הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם הָיְתָה כְּאַלְמָנָה רַּבָּתִי בַגּוֹיִם שָׂרָתִי בַּמְּדִינוֹת הָיְתָה לָמַס׃
Rebbetzin Heller's read:

Why has she sat alone, the city that was full of people – she was like a widow. She was major among the nations, and ruled countries. She became a burden of tribute. [People will own Israel and take it over.]
JPS 1917 translation:

O how has the city that was once so populous remained lonely! She has become like a widow! She that was great among the nations, a princess among the provinces, has become tributary.
Alone. Simply, all of the people of Yerushalayim were driven out. More deeply, the Heavenly Yerushalayim was abandoned as we pursued other things. How could Yerushalayim be so empty, when it was so full? Like a widow. Hashem stopped providing things that we were misusing. Everything He gave us, we used destructively. His presence is so distant that we feel as if He's not there. Become tributary. Even in exile, Yerushalayim is on a whole different level than anywhere else, but we've become tribute. We're part of someone else's culture.
ב בָּכוֹ תִבְכֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל לֶחֱיָהּ אֵין־לָהּ מְנַחֵם מִכָּל־אֹהֲבֶיהָ כָּל־רֵעֶיהָ בָּגְדוּ בָהּ הָיוּ לָהּ לְאֹיְבִים׃ Weep at night – she wept at night and will weep at night, and her tears are on her cheeks. She has no comforter from all those who love her. All of her friends have betrayed her, and they became enemies. She weeps, yea, she weeps in the night, and her tears are on her cheek; she has no comforter among all her lovers; all her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. Weep at night. Why weep? It evokes a sense of mourning and loss. It's ok to feel loss when you've lost something; the problem is that we don't feel what we've lost, because we've grown up in exile. We lost our sense of mission and our sense of being a people. At night. The night that the Jews wept in the desert, when the meraglim brought back their report about Israel. At night. We are 'at night'. In the darkness - we are meant to feel that the physical reality of darkness was a parallel of spiritual reality. We're groping around, trying to find our way. Dealt treacherously. In the 1st and 2nd destructions, there were people who had all sorts of political alliances. They betrayed us. ג גָּלְתָה יְהוּדָה מֵעֹנִי וּמֵרֹב עֲבֹדָה הִיא יָשְׁבָה בַגּוֹיִם לֹא מָצְאָה מָנוֹחַ כָּל־רֹדְפֶיהָ הִשִּׂיגוּהָ בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים׃ Yehuda [the two-tribe kingdom] was expelled because they were poor. Even when she was with the nations she didn't find rest. All those who pursued her caught up to her during the time when they were besieged. Judah went into exile because of affliction and great servitude; she settled among the nations, [and] found no rest; all her pursuers overtook her between the boundaries. Exiled because they were poor. On a simple level, our Oni - our poverty - left us weak and unable to fight the conquerers. On a deeper level though, there's no poverty like poverty of the mind. It is this that "Oni" is referring to, and the tragic consequence of this was our exile. From much work. Our avodat Hashem isn't focused. We do a lot, but it's the wrong thing. Rav Shteinman often says, "It's all bein adam l'chaveiro. If you want to know why we're in galus, if you want to know what the problems come from, it's all between man and man." Some people respond by becoming more mehudar in bein adam l'makom; for instance, not holding by hechsherim that are certainly reliable. Hiddur is good, but you have to be balanced. You have to also be mehudar (which people often are) in bein adam l'chaveiro. Among the nations, she finds no rest. When people tried to escape and find refuge elsewhere, the nations of the world gave us no rest. Nor will they ever. Bein haMetzarim. This refers to the Three Weeks. Rav Tzvi Meir says, All those who pursue the Shechina can be heard. That's when you can say ana Hashem hoshia na and be heard. You can catch Hashem at this time, when you feel the exile. ד דַּרְכֵי צִיּוֹן אֲבֵלוֹת מִבְּלִי בָּאֵי מוֹעֵד כָּל־שְׁעָרֶיהָ שׁוֹמֵמִין כֹּהֲנֶיהָ נֶאֱנָחִים בְּתוּלֹתֶיהָ נּוּגוֹת וְהִיא מַר־לָהּ׃ The ways that lead to Yerushalayim are full of mourning. They're desolate, without those who came for Aliya l'Regel. All of her gates are desolate. Her Kohanim groan. Her virgins are in despair, and she is bitter. The roads of Zion are mournful because no one comes to the appointed season; all her gates are desolate, her priests moan; her maidens grieve while she herself suffers bitterly. The ways that lead to Yerushalayim are ... desolate. It was impossible to go to Yerushalayim at that time, and so people stopped trying. The roads were empty. Long before the destruction, people had begun to neglect the mitzva of aliyat regel, due to its difficulty. All her gates. One gate for each tribe, distinct and unique. (And one for everyone.) We were no longer in touch with our individuality, nor did we respect it in others. ה הָיוּ צָרֶיהָ לְרֹאשׁ אֹיְבֶיהָ שָׁלוּ כִּי־יְהוָה הוֹגָהּ עַל רֹב־פְּשָׁעֶיהָ עוֹלָלֶיהָ הָלְכוּ שְׁבִי לִפְנֵי־צָר׃ Those who hated us became our heads. Our enemies were tranquil, because Hashem brought about this sighing, because of her many sins. Her young children were taken and imprisoned before those who afflicted us. Her adversaries have become the head, her enemies are at ease; for the Lord has afflicted her because of the multitude of her sins; her young children went into captivity before the enemy. Those who hated us became our head. Her enemies are tranquil, because Hashem brought this about. The Romans got into Israel because of a civil war between two brothers, Hyrcanus and Aristobolus. One of them brought in the Romans, and they never left. We bring in foreign forces because of our own divisiveness. We have no sense of who we are, and even less sense of what we're doing as a people. Because of her many sins. Pesha is a sin of rebellion. Rebelling - "I don't want to do this! I want to be me! Who are you to rob me of my self?" Is our sense of self as a nation so superficial? And why are we afraid of Hashem's Torah - do we think He didn't understand? The insecurity that motivates thinking that Hashem is robbing us of our autonomy and identity is tragic, and it's not new. ו וַיֵּצֵא מן־בת־[מִבַּת־] צִיּוֹן כָּל־הֲדָרָהּ הָיוּ שָׂרֶיהָ כְּאַיָּלִים לֹא־מָצְאוּ מִרְעֶה וַיֵּלְכוּ בְלֹא־כֹחַ לִפְנֵי רוֹדֵף׃ All the glory of the Daughter of Tzion [meaning Am Yisrael] left her. Her officers were like deer. They didn't find pasture, so they went without strength before their enemies. And gone is from the daughter of Zion all her splendor; her princes were like harts who did not find pasture and they departed without strength before [their] pursuer. Like deer. They were cowardly; they would run. The people who were in power were not people who could lead; they were as insecure and afraid as anyone else was. They have no koach... because Hashem isn't part of their equations. Moral questions - what right do we have to do this? - weren't and aren't part of their equation. ז זָכְרָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם יְמֵי עָנְיָהּ וּמְרוּדֶיהָ כֹּל מַחֲמֻדֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ מִימֵי קֶדֶם בִּנְפֹל עַמָּהּ בְּיַד־צָר וְאֵין עוֹזֵר לָהּ רָאוּהָ צָרִים שָׂחֲקוּ עַל מִשְׁבַּתֶּהָ׃ The people of Yerushalayim can't forget the days of its poverty and suffering and bitterness. All of that which is endeared from within it – everything that was beautiful – that was from before the destruction, they forget when they see the downfall of the people to the oppressors, and nobody helps her. The enemies saw her. They laughed at her tragedy. Jerusalem recalls the days of her poverty and her miseries, [and] all her precious things that were from days of old; when her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and there was none to help her; the enemies gazed, gloating on her desolation. They remembered... its suffering. People, in galus, tried to grasp some memory of Yerushalayim's glory. They weren't able to. Sometimes today as well, people want to want. They were too distant. We are too distant, and everything is closed to us. ח חֵטְא חָטְאָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם עַל־כֵּן לְנִידָה הָיָתָה כָּל־מְכַבְּדֶיהָ הִזִּילוּהָ כִּי־רָאוּ עֶרְוָתָהּ גַּם־הִיא נֶאֶנְחָה וַתָּשָׁב אָחוֹר׃ Sins and more sins were done by the people of Yerushalayim; therefore she became distant, a wanderer. All of the nations who would previously give her honor now belittle her, because they saw her in her shame. She also groaned, and went backwards. Jerusalem sinned grievously, therefore she became a wanderer; all who honored her despised her, for they have seen her shame; moreover, she herself sighed and turned away. Became as a nidah. Distanced, as a nidah is distanced from her husband. Belittle her. They saw Yerushalayim as a parody of itself, and that let us see what we really were. ט טֻמְאָתָהּ בְּשׁוּלֶיהָ לֹא זָכְרָה אַחֲרִיתָהּ וַתֵּרֶד פְּלָאִים אֵין מְנַחֵם לָהּ רְאֵה יְהוָה אֶת־עָנְיִי כִּי הִגְדִּיל אוֹיֵב׃ She was tamei. The edges of her clothes were open. She didn't remember, didn't think, about what would happen to her in the end. Miracles happened in the negative sense. Nobody could comfort her. See our suffering, Hashem, because the enemy has become great. Her uncleanliness is in her skirts, she was not mindful of her end, and she fell astonishingly with none to comfort her. 'Behold, O Lord, my affliction, for the enemy has magnified himself.' She was tamei. She didn't do teshuva even when her shame was apparent, even when the nations mocked her lack of spirituality. Tumah is disconnection. She didn't think about what would happen in the end. We don't do teshuva, and we stick with what we're used to, because we don't think about where it's leading us. We've become progressively more fragmented and exclusive. Where are we going? י יָדוֹ פָּרַשׂ צָר עַל כָּל־מַחֲמַדֶּיהָ כִּי־רָאֲתָה גוֹיִם בָּאוּ מִקְדָּשָׁהּ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָה לֹא־יָבֹאוּ בַקָּהָל לָךְ׃ The enemy put forth his hand and stretched it on everything that was precious, because the nations saw the holy place [as a place they could rob]. People who are not even allowed to join the Jewish people despoiled the mikdash. The adversary stretched forth his hand upon all her precious things, for she saw nations enter her Sanctuary, whom You did command not to enter into Your assembly. Not allowed. The Ammonites and Moabites. יא כָּל־עַמָּהּ נֶאֱנָחִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֶחֶם נָתְנוּ מחמודיהם [מַחֲמַדֵּיהֶם] בְּאֹכֶל לְהָשִׁיב נָפֶשׁ רְאֵה יְהוָה וְהַבִּיטָה כִּי הָיִיתִי זוֹלֵלָה׃ All her people sigh. We wanted bread, and we had to give everything precious in order to buy food to bring back their soul. Please, Hashem, look, because I've reached a point where because I'm so hungry I want to eat all the time. All her people are sighing [as] they search for bread; they gave away their treasures for food to revive the soul; see, O Lord, and behold, how I have become worthless. All her people. Before the destruction, we were fragmented; but when we suffer, we suffer together. יב לוֹא אֲלֵיכֶם כָּל־עֹבְרֵי דֶרֶךְ הַבִּיטוּ וּרְאוּ אִם־יֵשׁ מַכְאוֹב כְּמַכְאֹבִי אֲשֶׁר עוֹלַל לִי אֲשֶׁר הוֹגָה יְהוָה בְּיוֹם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ׃ Let this not happen to you who pass by Yerushalayim. Let there never be such suffering to people who transgress Torah. Gaze and see my pain – has there ever been any nation that's been punished as the Jews were, that was caused to me, that Hashem brought upon us on the day that His anger burned. All of you who pass along the road, let it not happen to you. Behold and see, if there is any pain like my pain, which has been dealt to me, [with] which the Lord saddened [me] on the day of His fierce anger. Let there never be such suffering. Let this be the maximum. יג מִמָּרוֹם שָׁלַח־אֵשׁ בְּעַצְמֹתַי וַיִּרְדֶּנָּה פָּרַשׂ רֶשֶׁת לְרַגְלַי הֱשִׁיבַנִי אָחוֹר נְתָנַנִי שֹׁמֵמָה כָּל־הַיּוֹם דָּוָה׃ He sent fire from heaven. In my bones/fortresses they made them surrender. They took out a trap to my feet. They drew me backwards and made me suffer all day. From above He has hurled fire into my bones, and it broke them; He has spread a net for my feet, He has turned me back, He has made me desolate [and] faint all day long. Fire from on high. The destruction was determined above; the Romans only carried it out. As the Gemara says, "You burned a burnt house." יד נִשְׂקַד עֹל פְּשָׁעַי בְּיָדוֹ יִשְׂתָּרְגוּ עָלוּ עַל־צַוָּארִי הִכְשִׁיל כֹּחִי נְתָנַנִי אֲדֹנָי בִּידֵי לֹא־אוּכַל קוּם׃ And all of my sins repeated themselves. From his hand they were increased until they came up to my neck, and drained my energy. Hashem put me into the hands of those who are cruel and I couldn't get up. The yoke of my transgressions was marked in His hand, they have become interwoven; they have come upon my neck and caused my strength to fail; the Lord delivered me into the hands of those I could not withstand. Sins repeated themselves. It's about the repetition of sin. We keep doing it, again and again. That creates this heavy burden. טו סִלָּה כָל־אַבִּירַי אֲדֹנָי בְּקִרְבִּי קָרָא עָלַי מוֹעֵד לִשְׁבֹּר בַּחוּרָי גַּת דָּרַךְ אֲדֹנָי לִבְתוּלַת בַּת־יְהוּדָה׃ Hashem made all of my strong men submit. Hashem was found in my midst. He called to attack me at the time when they came together, to break my fighting young men. Hashem had them stamped upon. They were trampled, the daughter of Yehuda, as you would trample on wine. The Lord has trampled all my mighty men in my midst, He summoned an assembly against me to crush my young men; the Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter of Judah. As you trample on wine. Killed without any thought of our humanity. Trampled us as if we were inanimate. טז עַל־אֵלֶּה אֲנִי בוֹכִיָּה עֵינִי עֵינִי יֹרְדָה מַּיִם כִּי־רָחַק מִמֶּנִּי מְנַחֵם מֵשִׁיב נַפְשִׁי הָיוּ בָנַי שׁוֹמֵמִים כִּי גָבַר אוֹיֵב׃ And this is what I weep about. My eyes, my eyes have water come from them. Comfort is far, to bring back my soul. My children were desolate because the enemy prevailed. For these things I weep; my eye, yea my eye, sheds tears, for the comforter to restore my soul is removed from me; my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed. My children were desolate. He cannot be comforted for this, that all our children will know is the culture of our enemies, not our own. They will be empty shells. יז פֵּרְשָׂה צִיּוֹן בְּיָדֶיהָ אֵין מְנַחֵם לָהּ צִוָּה יְהוָה לְיַעֲקֹב סְבִיבָיו צָרָיו הָיְתָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם לְנִדָּה בֵּינֵיהֶם׃ Tzion [Knesset Yisrael] stretches forth her hands. She has no comforter. Hashem called out to Yaakov to go up to those who surround them, their enemies. Yerushalayim became as one who is distant amongst the community of nations. Zion spreads out her hands [for help], but there is none to comfort her; the Lord has commanded concerning Jacob [that] his adversaries shall be round about him; Jerusalem has become an outcast among them. Hashem called out. Hashem ordered surrender through the prophets, but they didn't listen, and so the battles were made worse and worse. יח צַדִּיק הוּא יְהוָה כִּי פִיהוּ מָרִיתִי שִׁמְעוּ־נָא כָל־עמים [הָעַמִּים] וּרְאוּ מַכְאֹבִי בְּתוּלֹתַי וּבַחוּרַי הָלְכוּ בַשֶּׁבִי׃ Hashem is the Tzadik, [admitted Tzidkiyahu,] because I've gone against His word. Listen, all nations, and see my suffering. The young women and men have already been captured. The Lord is righteous, for I have rebelled against His word; hear, I pray, all you peoples, and behold my pain; my maidens and my youths have gone into captivity. Hashem is righteous... See my suffering. The confession (by Tzidkiyahu, that Hashem is right) came too late to save anything. The people are already gone. יט קָרָאתִי לַמְאַהֲבַי הֵמָּה רִמּוּנִי כֹּהֲנַי וּזְקֵנַי בָּעִיר גָּוָעוּ כִּי־בִקְשׁוּ אֹכֶל לָמוֹ וְיָשִׁיבוּ אֶת־נַפְשָׁם׃ I called out to those who love me, and they deceived me. The Kohanim and the elders have perished in the cities, after they asked for food for them, and they had to return their souls to Hashem. I called to my lovers, [but] they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, when they sought food for themselves to revive their souls. They deceived me. We keep on turning to the nations, and they keep deceiving us. We don't learn anything. Not today, either. Not in Israel where people rely on the Americans, and not in America where people rely on the Americans. The only people who've learned anything recently are the French. כ רְאֵה יְהוָה כִּי־צַר־לִי מֵעַי חֳמַרְמָרוּ נֶהְפַּךְ לִבִּי בְּקִרְבִּי כִּי מָרוֹ מָרִיתִי מִחוּץ שִׁכְּלָה־חֶרֶב בַּבַּיִת כַּמָּוֶת׃ See, Hashem, my situation, how hard it is. My innards shrink within me. My heart turned over from within me, as I rebelled again and again against your mitzvos. On the outside, the sword was the ruler, and in the house, death. Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress, my innards burn, my heart is turned within me, for I have grievously rebelled; in the street the sword bereaves, in the house it is like death. In the house, death. By starvation. כא שָׁמְעוּ כִּי נֶאֱנָחָה אָנִי אֵין מְנַחֵם לִי כָּל־אֹיְבַי שָׁמְעוּ רָעָתִי שָׂשׂוּ כִּי אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ הֵבֵאתָ יוֹם־קָרָאתָ וְיִהְיוּ כָמוֹנִי׃ All of those who heard my sighing, none of them came to comfort me. All of my enemies heard how bad it was. They rejoiced because of what You did. And I say, halevai the day will come that they will be like me. They have heard how I sigh, [and] there is none to comfort me, all my enemies have heard of my trouble [and] are glad that You have done it; [if only] You had brought the day that You proclaimed [upon them] and let them be like me. They rejoiced. Our enemies sing and dance when they hear that we've been harmed. We should live to see them have the fate that they deserve. כב תָּבֹא כָל־רָעָתָם לְפָנֶיךָ וְעוֹלֵל לָמוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עוֹלַלְתָּ לִי עַל כָּל־פְּשָׁעָי כִּי־רַבּוֹת אַנְחֹתַי וְלִבִּי דַוָּי׃ We say, let all of their wickedness come before you, and let it be acted upon them, as you did against me for all of my rebellion, because my sighing is much, and my heart is depressed. May all their wickedness come before You, and deal with them as You have dealt with me for all my transgressions, for my sighs are many and my heart is faint. Why do we ask for revenge? Not because by getting revenge we become better, but because by getting revenge we see the forces of evil shed away so that good can flourish. Perek 2: The previous perek told us what was happening. Perek bet takes us deeper into the darkness of the times. א אֵיכָה יָעִיב בְּאַפּוֹ אֲדֹנָי אֶת־בַּת־צִיּוֹן הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ תִּפְאֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא־זָכַר הֲדֹם־רַגְלָיו בְּיוֹם אַפּוֹ How was it that the darkness was a consequence of Hashem's wrath and anger against bat Tzion. From above in the Heavens, Hashem has thrown down to the ground the beauty and chashivus of Am Yisrael. How did we not see anything? And there's no memory of the Beit haMikdash ["The resting place of Hashem's foot."] on the day of His wrath. How hath the Lord covered with a cloud The daughter of Zion in His anger! He hath cast down from heaven unto the earth The beauty of Israel, And hath not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger. How. We've never seen such darkness. Bat Tzion. Tzion literally means distinct, distinguished. We betrayed Tzion by who we were, by our lack of response to what it could be. Brought down. We never returned to the level we had once been. We were held accountable for living with such spiritual grandeur and not responding to it. Living with spiritual grandeur and ignoring it resulted in it being taken away. How did we not see? Of course the response is Hashem sending us darkness. ב בִּלַּע אֲדֹנָי לא [וְלֹא] חָמַל אֵת כָּל־נְאוֹת יַעֲקֹב הָרַס בְּעֶבְרָתוֹ מִבְצְרֵי בַת־יְהוּדָה הִגִּיעַ לָאָרֶץ חִלֵּל מַמְלָכָה וְשָׂרֶיהָ Hashem swallowed everything up (destroyed everything) and had no mercy on all of the dwellings of the Jewish people. He destroyed in His fury the fortified places of the daughters of Yehuda, until their foundations. He desecrated malchut Yisrael and its officers. The Lord hath swallowed up unsparingly All the habitations of Jacob; He hath thrown down in His wrath The strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He hath brought them down to the ground; He hath profaned the kingdom and the princes thereof. Had no mercy. Mercy would have been a disaster. We were damaged by our sins, and that damage needed to be peeled away. The suffering strips away the arrogance and desires that made us sin, leaving us as ourselves. Mercy would have been saying, so stay who you are! The fortified places. We thought we were able to protect ourselves. The government and its officers. The power sources that people rely on - that is what needed to be torn away. We were too invested in human power. It's a tragedy when we have to learn this way. The question is, why don't we learn any other way? ג גָּדַע בָּחֳרִי אַף כֹּל קֶרֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵשִׁיב אָחוֹר יְמִינוֹ מִפְּנֵי אוֹיֵב וַיִּבְעַר בְּיַעֲקֹב כְּאֵשׁ לֶהָבָה אָכְלָה סָבִיב Hashem cut off, with fury, all of the pride of Israel. He brought it back, His right hand, before the enemy, and Hashem burnt in Yaakov, amongst the Jewish people, fire and flame that consumed and burned from all sides. He hath cut off in fierce anger All the horn of Israel; He hath drawn back His right hand From before the enemy; And He hath burned in Jacob like a flaming fire, Which devoureth round about. Brought back His right hand. The one He would have protected them with. This is Hashem holding Himself back, so to speak. Hashem burnt in Yaakov fire and flame. Hashem was fighting on the side of our enemies in that battle; they were a rod in His hands. ד דָּרַךְ קַשְׁתּוֹ כְּאוֹיֵב נִצָּב יְמִינוֹ כְּצָר וַיַּהֲרֹג כֹּל מַחֲמַדֵּי־עָיִן בְּאֹהֶל בַּת־צִיּוֹן שָׁפַךְ כָּאֵשׁ חֲמָתוֹ He trampled his bow like an enemy, to the point that His right hand was so to speak stuck in air, like an enemy. He killed all those of beautiful appearance, in the tent of bat Tzion. His anger poured forth like fire. He hath bent His bow like an enemy, Standing with His right hand as an adversary, And hath slain all that were pleasant to the eye; In the tent of the daughter of Zion He hath poured out His fury like fire. Trampled His bow. This is how you prepare a longbow to shoot. Right hand. Midas haChesed. His decision to bring about change by force was already made. Like an enemy. If you were there, you might have asked, "Where is Hashem when these terrible things are happening to us?" Hashem is here; He is the one who's doing all of this. It's not the Romans, it's not the Babylonians, and it's not the Nazis. It's all Hashem's action in response to us. The tent of bat Tzion. The Mikdash. 22 000 young kohanim, says the midrash, were killed on the last day, defending the mikdash. Anger poured like fire. In an endless stream. ה הָיָה אֲדֹנָי כְּאוֹיֵב בִּלַּע יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלַּע כָּל־אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ שִׁחֵת מִבְצָרָיו וַיֶּרֶב בְּבַת־יְהוּדָה תַּאֲנִיָּה וַאֲנִיָּה Hashem acted as though He was an enemy who swallowed up Israel. He swallowed up all of her palaces. He destroyed all of their fortified places, and in the house of Yehuda, the only thing that increased was sighing and groaning. The Lord is become as an enemy, He hath swallowed up Israel; He hath swallowed up all her palaces, He hath destroyed his strongholds; And He hath multiplied in the daughter of Judah Mourning and moaning. The only thing that increased in the house of Judah was the crying and the mourning. We should let ourselves mourn what we've become. We should have the taniah and aniah without the force: we should be doing cheshbon hanefesh without suffering. ו וַיַּחְמֹס כַּגַּן שֻׂכּוֹ שִׁחֵת מוֹעֲדוֹ שִׁכַּח יְהוָה בְּצִיּוֹן מוֹעֵד וְשַׁבָּת וַיִּנְאַץ בְּזַעַם־אַפּוֹ מֶלֶךְ וְכֹהֵן Hashem destroyed like a garden is uprooted. He destroyed the place where His shechina would meet us. He cancelled Shabbos and holidays in Tzion, and He moved away, in His anger, a king and a kohen. And He hath stripped His tabernacle, as if it were a garden, He hath destroyed His place of assembly; The LORD hath caused to be forgotten in Zion Appointed season and sabbath, And hath rejected in the indignation of His anger The king and the priest. He destroyed the place where His shechina would meet us. He saw that the holidays at this point no longer were achieving their goal; we were fooling ourselves. Cancelled Shabbos. Made it impossible (via the war) to keep Shabbos. A king and a kohen. Tzidkiyahu, the righteous king who made the mistake of making a false alliance, [or is this about his predecessor?] and Sariah - שריה כהן גדול. ז זָנַח אֲדֹנָי מִזְבְּחוֹ נִאֵר מִקְדָּשׁוֹ הִסְגִּיר בְּיַד־אוֹיֵב חוֹמֹת אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ קוֹל נָתְנוּ בְּבֵית־יְהוָה כְּיוֹם מוֹעֵד Hashem abandoned His altar; He was repulsed by his mikdash. He gave the walls of the palaces to the hands of the enemy. The outcry of joy of our enemies sounded like our holidays. The Lord hath cast off His altar, He hath abhorred His sanctuary, He hath given up into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces; They have made a noise in the house of the LORD, As in the day of a solemn assembly. Gave the walls. The walls of Yerushalayim sank lower and lower each day. Their outcry sounded like our holidays. Song is in a higher heichal, so to speak, than words. The world of ruchnius can be grasped better by song, which is less limited than speech. All nations achieve whatever their ruchnius drives them to through their songs. The songs of the nations are their souls. There are those who put non-Jewish song to holy purpose, eg. Napoleon's march... But the opposite happened at that time. It was their song that was heard in the mikdash at that time. ח חָשַׁב יְהוָה לְהַשְׁחִית חוֹמַת בַּת־צִיּוֹן נָטָה קָו לֹא־הֵשִׁיב יָדוֹ מִבַּלֵּעַ וַיַּאֲבֶל־חֵל וְחוֹמָה יַחְדָּו אֻמְלָלוּ Hashem decided to destroy the walls of the daughters of Tzion, He stretched the line. In the end He did not hold His hand back from destruction, and He caused the outer fence to be lacking, and the wall - they collapsed at the same time. The LORD hath purposed to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion; He hath stretched out the line, He hath not withdrawn His hand from destroying; But He hath made the rampart and wall to mourn, They languish together. Hashem decided. There was time between the decision to destroy and the event; we could have done teshuva and changed things. Stretched the line. He didn't want to do this; He wanted us to change, and so He gave more chances. All of the lines were crossed by us, and then all the borders of the mikdash fell. ט טָבְעוּ בָאָרֶץ שְׁעָרֶיהָ אִבַּד וְשִׁבַּר בְּרִיחֶיהָ מַלְכָּהּ וְשָׂרֶיהָ בַגּוֹיִם אֵין תּוֹרָה גַּם־נְבִיאֶיהָ לֹא־מָצְאוּ חָזוֹן מֵיְהוָה Its gates sank into the land. The city was captured, and the great locks of the gates were broken in. The kings and the rulers were captured by the nations, and there was no Torah, and the prophets had no vision from Hashem. Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; Her king and her princes are among the nations, Instruction is no more; Yea, her prophets find No vision from the LORD. Ein Torah. The leading Torah scholars were expelled or killed, leaving the people with no leadership. It also means that when we lose Yerushalayim, "ein Torah," the Torah we have in galus is not like the Torah of eretz yisrael. No vision. The prophets saw no way to make this better, which was from Hashem. י יֵשְׁבוּ לָאָרֶץ יִדְּמוּ זִקְנֵי בַת־צִיּוֹן הֶעֱלוּ עָפָר עַל־רֹאשָׁם חָגְרוּ שַׂקִּים הוֹרִידוּ לָאָרֶץ רֹאשָׁן בְּתוּלֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם They sit on the floor and they're silent, the talmidei chachamim of Tzion. They scattered dust on their heads, they put on sackcloth. They bent their heads to the earth, the girls of Yerushalayim. They sit upon the ground, and keep silence, The elders of the daughter of Zion; They have cast up dust upon their heads, They have girded themselves with sackcloth; The virgins of Jerusalem hang down Their heads to the ground. Dust... sackcloth. They tried, they mourned... but they didn't change! They felt the pain, but didn't know where to take it. יא כָּלוּ בַדְּמָעוֹת עֵינַי חֳמַרְמְרוּ מֵעַי נִשְׁפַּךְ לָאָרֶץ כְּבֵדִי עַל־שֶׁבֶר בַּת־עַמִּי בֵּעָטֵף עוֹלֵל וְיוֹנֵק בִּרְחֹבוֹת קִרְיָה My eyes were ruined by my tears; they were shrunken, my innards. My liver poured to the floor because of the brokenness of my people, when the toddlers and the infants expired from hunger in the city streets. Mine eyes do fail with tears, Mine inwards burn, My liver is poured upon the earth, For the breach of the daughter of my people; Because the young children and the sucklings swoon In the broad places of the city. Ruined. He couldn't bear the suffering anymore. יב לְאִמֹּתָם יֹאמְרוּ אַיֵּה דָּגָן וָיָיִן בְּהִתְעַטְּפָם כֶּחָלָל בִּרְחֹבוֹת עִיר בְּהִשְׁתַּפֵּךְ נַפְשָׁם אֶל־חֵיק אִמֹּתָם To their mothers they would say, where is bread, where is drink? as they would faint as though dead in the city streets, as their souls would pour out on their mothers' laps. They say to their mothers: ‘Where is corn and wine?’ When they swoon as the wounded In the broad places of the city, When their soul is poured out Into their mothers’bosom. יג מָה־אֲעִידֵךְ מָה אֲדַמֶּה־לָּךְ הַבַּת יְרוּשָׁלִַם מָה אַשְׁוֶה־לָּךְ וַאֲנַחֲמֵךְ בְּתוּלַת בַּת־צִיּוֹן כִּי־גָדוֹל כַּיָּם שִׁבְרֵךְ מִי יִרְפָּא־לָךְ What punishments could I give witness to? What could I compare you to, daughter of Yerushalayim? What could I say that this is like, that I'll find comfort? Your break, your tragedy, is as huge as the sea. How could you be healed? What shall I take to witness for thee? What shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? For thy breach is great like the sea; Who can heal thee? What could I say that this is like. There's no destruction that ever took place like the destruction of the beit hamikdash. Your break, your tragedy. Their outer tragedy and brokenness was a reflection of their inner tragedy. יד נְבִיאַיִךְ חָזוּ לָךְ שָׁוְא וְתָפֵל וְלֹא־גִלּוּ עַל־עֲוֺנֵךְ לְהָשִׁיב שביתך [שְׁבוּתֵךְ] וַיֶּחֱזוּ לָךְ מַשְׂאוֹת שָׁוְא וּמַדּוּחִים Your prophets gave you false visions. They were fraudulent and didn't reveal your sins to bring you back. Instead they showed you false prophecies. Thy prophets have seen visions for thee Of vanity and delusion; And they have not uncovered thine iniquity, To bring back thy captivity; But have prophesied for thee burdens Of vanity and seduction. False visions. As Yirmiyahu was telling them the truth, the false prophets of the time were saying that everything was ok, that it was all fine - things that take you away from truth, because that's what people wanted to hear. Didn't reveal your sins. Because nobody wanted to hear about their sins. And neither do we. טו סָפְקוּ עָלַיִךְ כַּפַּיִם כָּל־עֹבְרֵי דֶרֶךְ שָׁרְקוּ וַיָּנִעוּ רֹאשָׁם עַל־בַּת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הֲזֹאת הָעִיר שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ כְּלִילַת יֹפִי מָשׂוֹשׂ לְכָל־הָאָרֶץ We would strike one hand against to other to release our feelings. Every person who went on the way would whistle, and they would nod their heads about bat Yerushalayim. Is this the city that people said was the most perfect and beautiful thing in the land? All that pass by clap Their hands at thee; They hiss and wag their head At the daughter of Jerusalem: ‘Is this the city that men called The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?’ Whistle. Which meant shame in those times. [Also, re:nodding their heads, compare Iyov 2:11] טז פָּצוּ עָלַיִךְ פִּיהֶם כָּל־אוֹיְבַיִךְ שָׁרְקוּ וַיַּחַרְקוּ־שֵׁן אָמְרוּ בִּלָּעְנוּ אַךְ זֶה הַיּוֹם שֶׁקִּוִּינֻהוּ מָצָאנוּ רָאִינוּ They would open their mouths, all your enemies. They'd whistle at her through their teeth and say, we've finished her, this is the day we hoped for. We found it, and we've seen it. All thine enemies have opened Their mouth wide against thee; They hiss and gnash the teeth; They say: ‘We have swallowed her up; Certainly this is the day that we looked for; We have found, we have seen it.’ The day we hoped for. Don't think they just wanted to conquer. The day they hoped for was seeing our suffering. This is hostility, and cruelty, and this is what Hashem is taking us to. יז עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר זָמָם בִּצַּע אֶמְרָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מִימֵי־קֶדֶם הָרַס וְלֹא חָמָל וַיְשַׂמַּח עָלַיִךְ אוֹיֵב הֵרִים קֶרֶן צָרָיִךְ Hashem did what he planned; he brought into action His speech that He commanded for years before. He destroyed and had no mercy. And the enemies rejoiced. The enemies lifted their honour. The LORD hath done that which He devised; He hath performed His word That He commanded in the days of old; He hath thrown down unsparingly; And He hath caused the enemy to rejoice over thee, He hath exalted the horn of thine adversaries. For years before. This is laid out in the Torah, and there were prophets warning the people for years. No mercy. Because mercy would have been tragic for us. יח צָעַק לִבָּם אֶל־אֲדֹנָי חוֹמַת בַּת־צִיּוֹן הוֹרִידִי כַנַּחַל דִּמְעָה יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה אַל־תִּתְּנִי פוּגַת לָךְ אַל־תִּדֹּם בַּת־עֵינֵךְ People who were there cried out to Hashem. We have to cry a river of tears, day and night. Don't give yourself a break. Don't let the pupil of your eye be silent. Their heart cried unto the Lord: ‘O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let tears run down like a river Day and night; Give thyself no respite; Let not the apple of thine eye cease. Cried out to Hashem. But by then it was too late. The action was already half-done, and our deeds are what Hashem had to peel away from us. We have to pour our tears. Don't let the pupil of your eye be silent. The pupil of our eye is the part that takes in so to speak Divine light. Don't stop having expectations of who we all could be, and weep for the failed expectations of ourselves until we change. יט קוּמִי רֹנִּי בליל [בַלַּיְלָה] לְרֹאשׁ אַשְׁמֻרוֹת שִׁפְכִי כַמַּיִם לִבֵּךְ נֹכַח פְּנֵי אֲדֹנָי שְׂאִי אֵלָיו כַּפַּיִךְ עַל־נֶפֶשׁ עוֹלָלַיִךְ הָעֲטוּפִים בְּרָעָב בְּרֹאשׁ כָּל־חוּצוֹת Arise, pray in song at night, before it's yet dawn. Pour out your heart like water. Lift up your hands to heaven and ask for mercy on your children's soul. Do we have to see them faint and die of hunger at the head of every street? Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out thy heart like water Before the face of the Lord; Lift up thy hands toward Him For the life of thy young children, That faint for hunger At the head of every street.’ In song at night. This refers to tikkun chatzot. Pour out your heart like water. Even if it's not tikkun chatzot. On your children's soul. Who will they learn from if not from our example? And if we don't peel away the gaiva and the taiva and all of the things that are making us what we don't want to be, who will our children be? They hear everything about the way we relate to each other. Who are they going to be? כ רְאֵה יְהוָה וְהַבִּיטָה לְמִי עוֹלַלְתָּ כֹּה אִם־תֹּאכַלְנָה נָשִׁים פִּרְיָם עֹלֲלֵי טִפֻּחִים אִם־יֵהָרֵג בְּמִקְדַּשׁ אֲדֹנָי כֹּהֵן וְנָבִיא Turn, Hashem, and look. Who have You done this to? That women eat their own children, spoiled children. If a kohen and a navi could be killed by Hashem in one day – how could we come to a point where this could happen? ’See, O LORD, and consider, To whom Thou hast done thus! Shall the women eat their fruit, The children that are dandled in the hands? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord? Eat their children. During the starvation, women ate their children. They didn't kill them and eat them, but they ate them after they were dead, because hunger is a cruel master. They reached the point where they would fight each other about eating the children. Spoiled children. Children who were treasured. A kohen and a navi. This is speaking about Zecharya ben Yehoyada; recorded in Divrei haYamim. They murdered him because he rebuked them when they came to worship idols. The king then, Yehoash, was a person of great spiritual force. They turned him into a cult figure, and bowed and worshipped him. כא שָׁכְבוּ לָאָרֶץ חוּצוֹת נַעַר וְזָקֵן בְּתוּלֹתַי וּבַחוּרַי נָפְלוּ בֶחָרֶב הָרַגְתָּ בְּיוֹם אַפֶּךָ טָבַחְתָּ לֹא חָמָלְתָּ Young men and elders fell upon the streets and the land. Young girls and young boys fell by the sword. You killed them in the day of Your anger. You slaughtered, and there was no mercy. The youth and the old man lie On the ground in the streets; My virgins and my young men Are fallen by the sword; Thou hast slain them in the day of Thine anger; Thou hast slaughtered unsparingly. כב תִּקְרָא כְיוֹם מוֹעֵד מְגוּרַי מִסָּבִיב וְלֹא הָיָה בְּיוֹם אַף־יְהוָה פָּלִיט וְשָׂרִיד אֲשֶׁר־טִפַּחְתִּי וְרִבִּיתִי אֹיְבִי כִלָּם Those who cause terror from all around gathered people together as though it was a holiday, and there was nobody left on the day of Hashem's anger. There was no remnant on the day that He caused this to happen, and the people who I, Yirmiyahu, developed and increased, even the children, all fell victim to the sword. Thou hast called, as in the day of a solemn assembly, My terrors on every side, And there was none in the day of the LORD’S anger That escaped or remained; Those that I have dandled and brought up Hath mine enemy consumed.’ Perek 3 א אֲנִי הַגֶּבֶר רָאָה עֳנִי בְּשֵׁבֶט עֶבְרָתוֹ׃ I am the man, and I've seen the suffering of the rod that Hashem cast forth in His anger. I am the man that hath seen affliction By the rod of His wrath. I am the man. The only one left. He saw what no navi saw. Many of the neviim prophesied how things could be, but only he saw it play out. I've seen. Hearing is used to mean understanding, or logic, but vision, actually seeing the event or person, draws in your emotions as well. ב אוֹתִי נָהַג וַיֹּלַךְ חֹשֶׁךְ וְלֹא־אוֹר׃ I was driven, and taken to darkness, and not light. He hath led me and caused me to walk in darkness and not in light. Driven. Into exile. Darkness. He couldn't see Hashem at that time. Yirmiyahu was exiled with them though he could have stayed, because the Jews were leaving and they needed him. He had to be their light, but he had no light. Darkness and not light. It wasn't just the absence of light but the presence of darkness, a wall through which Hashem could not be seen. Hashem created a situation in which there was absolutely no hope. ג אַךְ בִּי יָשֻׁב יַהֲפֹךְ יָדוֹ כָּל־הַיּוֹם׃ Only me – did he come back and put his hand against me all of the day. Surely against me He turneth His hand again and again all the day. Only me. All the answers people want had to come from me. Of course we know Yirmiyahu wanted to be with the people, but why should he suffer? In considering the problem of tzadik v'ra lo, people often get around this by saying either that he isn't really a tzadik or that he isn't really suffering. Here, though, we can't say that; we know he's a tzadik and he tells us he's suffering. Why can this be? There is an approach that says that righteous people, tzadikim, have a certain level of accountability. As the leader of his generation, he was to some degree responsible for keeping the bar high. In order for a generation not to be wicked, there need to be people who are truly righteous, who raise the ceiling, who create new expectations. Sometimes, if the generation is what it is, the blame can fall to some degree on the righteous people. Where were you? Where were you in terms of setting an example, in terms of sharing, in creating a ceiling that's a little higher, so they won't sink quite so low? This is why he says he had to suffer. Virtually everybody learning this is in the upper 10 percentile of Jewish knowledge. If Hashem put you in the upper ten percentile, you have enormous responsibilities towards everybody else. You have to be an example, and you have to overtly teach where at all possible, not just by example. You have to be there for them, and if you don't you're accountable for what they become when they haven't had access to somebody more than they are. The flip side of this is that you have to have in your repertoire of acquaintances at least a few people who are really rare in their spiritual beauty - who are much higher than we are. You have to get to know the people who are refined, who are great, who have spiritual depth - to move the bar up a little for yourself. ד בִּלָּה בְשָׂרִי וְעוֹרִי שִׁבַּר עַצְמוֹתָי׃ My flesh withered, and my skin, and my bones were broken My flesh and my skin hath He worn out; He hath broken my bones. Flesh... and bones. He's talking both symbolically and literally. The exile came with physical suffering. Additionally, it says in the Gemara that there are three partners in making a human. Specifically, it says that the bones come from the father and the flesh comes from the mother, not necessarily literally. The sense of structure comes from the father and the sense of actual being comes from the mother. His middos, which are inherent, inborn flesh and blood were distorted by the force of the exile, and his bones, his structure, were shattered by what he's been through. He felt the entire structure of his inner life falling. ה בָּנָה עָלַי וַיַּקַּף רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה׃ They built for me, and they surrounded my head with weariness (or suffering). He hath builded against me, and compassed me With gall and travail. Built for me. They built a prison just for him. Head. Nevuchadnezzar worshipped himself. He couldn't bear the 'head', Nevuchadnezzar. It's also a veiled reference to (Nevuchadnezzar's general) Nevuzaradan, according to the Midrash. ו בְּמַחֲשַׁכִּים הוֹשִׁיבַנִי כְּמֵתֵי עוֹלָם׃ He made me dwell in the dark places like those who were dead forever. He hath made me to dwell in dark places, As those that have been long dead. Those who are dead forever. For whom there is no hope. He took the exile to be so encompassing that there was no way out. ז גָּדַר בַּעֲדִי וְלֹא אֵצֵא הִכְבִּיד נְחָשְׁתִּי׃ He made a fence for me, in order that I not be able to go out, and he made me heavy with copper. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot go forth; He hath made my chain heavy. Heavy with copper. Copper handcuffs. He was the subject of a whole war. Nevuchadnezzar knew how much power Yirmiyahu had. ח גַּם כִּי אֶזְעַק וַאֲשַׁוֵּעַ שָׂתַם תְּפִלָּתִי׃ Even when I cried out, the prayer is blocked. Yea, when I cry and call for help, He shutteth out my prayer. The prayer is blocked. A terribly tragic sentence. They weren't answered. There was nothing about the answer to his prayer that was coming down into the world - "satam" - blocked. It wouldn't have been good for them (see above) ט גָּדַר דְּרָכַי בְּגָזִית נְתִיבֹתַי עִוָּה׃ They blocked my way with heavy fortifications, and the straight path that I go on has become crooked (or corrupted). He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone, He hath made my paths crooked. י דֹּב אֹרֵב הוּא לִי אריה [אֲרִי] בְּמִסְתָּרִים׃ He is like a cruel bear. He is unto me as a bear lying in wait, As a lion in secret places. Like a cruel bear. What kind of a thing is that to say? How could you compare Hashem to any animal? Again, when Hashem conceals Himself, it's not just the absence of good, but He gives force to evil. In previous times, animals instinctively sensed the tzelem elokim in people and didn't attack them. This is one of the first times that animals attacked people, because they'd sensed what we had come to. יא דְּרָכַי סוֹרֵר וַיְפַשְּׁחֵנִי שָׂמַנִי שֹׁמֵם׃ I had to turn from my way, because it's wild, and the underbrush sticks into my flesh and I feel like I have no hope. He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; He hath made me desolate. Turn from my way. Yirmiyahu knew that the road to galus was really the road back to Yerushalayim. We all know that everything has purpose and direction, but it's hard for us to live with. יב דָּרַךְ קַשְׁתוֹ וַיַּצִּיבֵנִי כַּמַּטָּרָא לַחֵץ He stepped on his bow, and He made me stand as if I was a target for the arrows. He hath bent His bow, and set me As a mark for the arrow. יג הֵבִיא בְּכִלְיוֹתָי בְּנֵי אַשְׁפָּתוֹ They got to my kidneys and after all of that, He returned the arrows to the quiver so He could do more. He hath caused the arrows of His quiver To enter into my reins. To my kidneys. The arrows hit their mark. The Midrash says that the arrows were so sharp they seemed newly-made. They were just ordinary arrows, but every arrow found its target. Kidneys. Kidneys are the symbol of counsel, taking advice. The kidneys serve the function of filtering - "Not this and yes that." Real advice comes from an unbiased person who can say that sort of thing, who can distinguish good from bad, and create balance. I have no counsel; I can't give advice. The Vilna Gaon says that will be the worst thing before geula; we will have no counsel. יד הָיִיתִי שְּׂחֹק לְכָל־עַמִּי נְגִינָתָם כָּל־הַיּוֹם I was a joke to my entire people; I was their song all the day. I am become a derision to all my people, And their song all the day. I was a joke. He was the subject of their satire, constantly. טו הִשְׂבִּיעַנִי בַמְּרוֹרִים הִרְוַנִי לַעֲנָה They satisfied me with bitterness, and they made me drink bitter herbs, poison. He hath filled me with bitterness, He hath sated me with wormwood. Poison. Of all the things people used against themselves and against Yirmiyahu, the worst was satire. Why is it the worst? Ramchal in Mesillat Yesharim says that mockery is the worst of the things that take one away from G-d. A person who satirizes things that are important can't turn around and see them as real, sacred and untouchable. The poison was the mockery, the leitzanus of the people. טז וַיַּגְרֵס בֶּחָצָץ שִׁנָּי הִכְפִּישַׁנִי בָּאֵפֶר They ground my teeth with gravel; I rolled in the dust. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, He hath made me to wallow in ashes. Gravel. There were little stones in his food. He's no longer talking about the sins of the Jews before exile, but what was actually happening. Yechezkel predicted this, that just as satire takes big ideas and grinds them into nothing, that part of their travail would be that they'd be eating fragments of dirt with everything. They had to taste the taste of fragmentation. יז וַתִּזְנַח מִשָּׁלוֹם נַפְשִׁי נָשִׁיתִי טוֹבָה My soul despaired of peace, and I forgot all goodness. And my soul is removed far off from peace, I forgot prosperity. יח וָאֹמַר אָבַד נִצְחִי וְתוֹחַלְתִּי מֵיְהוָה And I said: my salvation and my hope is lost before Hashem. And I said: ‘My strength is perished, And mine expectation from the LORD.’ My hope is lost. He thought that the only way there could be such profound hester panim would be if there is no hope for klal yisrael, and he includes himself in them. יט זְכָר־עָנְיִי וּמְרוּדִי לַעֲנָה וָרֹאשׁ Remember my suffering, my bitterness, the poison that I was forced to experience. Remember mine affliction and mine anguish, The wormwood and the gall. Remember my suffering. The Midrash says that in the end we will always remember suffering. This is because it is the source of our kappara. People know that they are not in charge when they are suffering. That can make us redeemable. כ זָכוֹר תִּזְכּוֹר ותשיח [וְתָשׁוֹחַ] עָלַי נַפְשִׁי My soul hath them still in remembrance, And is bowed down within me. כא זֹאת אָשִׁיב אֶל־לִבִּי עַל־כֵּן אוֹחִיל This is what I'll say to my heart, and because of this I'll still have hope. This I recall to my mind, Therefore have I hope. כב חַסְדֵי יְהוָה כִּי לֹא־תָמְנוּ כִּי לֹא־כָלוּ רַחֲמָיו My belief is that Hashem's kindness and his love of us will never be destroyed, and His mercy doesn't end. Surely the LORD’S mercies are not consumed, Surely His compassions fail not. His mercy doesn't end. We turn to emuna. Everything that happened to us is what we deserve, and the suffering is beyond belief, and finally we surrender to Hashem. That moment of surrender has enormous value. Emuna is knowing Hashem is there, everything is from Him, and everything is for tikun and compassionate. But there's more. It's also saying, "My way of expressing emuna is to live with Hashem moment by moment." The more you realize He's the only one you can turn to, the more you live with Him, moment by moment - and once you do that, you begin to see His rachamim. כג חֲדָשִׁים לַבְּקָרִים רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ The renewal there is every morning shows how great Your faithfulness to us is. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. Your faithfulness. Hashem's faithfulness means that whatever we do, He never forgets us. כד חֶלְקִי יְהוָה אָמְרָה נַפְשִׁי עַל־כֵּן אוֹחִיל לוֹ My soul says, “My portion is Gd; therefore I'll hope to Him.” ’The LORD is my portion’, saith my soul; ‘Therefore will I hope in Him.’ My portion is Hashem. There's a part of me that is Hashem. Because I can see this in myself and the people around me, I know that Hashem didn't put these souls with such greatness on earth for suffering or trivialities. כה טוֹב יְהוָה לְקוָֹו לְנֶפֶשׁ תִּדְרְשֶׁנּוּ Hashem is good to those who hope to Him, the ones who search for Hashem with their souls, their life. The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, To the soul that seeketh Him. The ones who search for Hashem with their souls. Search for Hashem with your life. Be open to truth, so you can listen when you hear it. כו טוֹב וְיָחִיל וְדוּמָם לִתְשׁוּעַת יְהוָה It's good for a person to hope, and to be silent and wait for Hashem's salvation. It is good that a man should quietly wait For the salvation of the LORD. Good... to hope, and to be silent. Be patient, and if you don't know what to say then don't talk. כז טוֹב לַגֶּבֶר כִּי־יִשָּׂא עֹל בִּנְעוּרָיו It's good for a person to take the yoke of Hashem's will upon Himself when he's still young. It is good for a man that he bear The yoke in his youth. When he's still young. A person who is young can teach themselves the art of searching, and of submission. It's much easier than if a person teaches themselves just through experience to think only of themselves, which often happens if a person lives alone for many years. They learn to think only of themselves. כח יֵשֵׁב בָּדָד וְיִדֹּם כִּי נָטַל עָלָיו Let a person sit alone and be silent, because the Torah was given to him. Let him sit alone and keep silence, Because He hath laid it upon him. Be silent. If you don't know how to interpret an event in light of the Torah, be silent – as Aharon was silent. He didn't try to find reasons - he said "I submit." כט יִתֵּן בֶּעָפָר פִּיהוּ אוּלַי יֵשׁ תִּקְוָה He should fall to the floor so his mouth is full of dust; perhaps there will be some hope. Let him put his mouth in the dust, If so be there may be hope. Fall to the floor. He should implore to Hashem with great humility. Perhaps in this merit there will be hope. ל יִתֵּן לְמַכֵּהוּ לֶחִי יִשְׂבַּע בְּחֶרְפָּה He should give the one who gives him a blow his cheek; he should be satisfied that he was only humiliated. Let him give his cheek to him that smiteth him Let him be filled full with reproach. Give... his cheek. Why should anyone turn the other cheek? It's a curse here! You're supposed to try to defend yourself – unless you're in a situation where it would be dangerous. It's a curse. לא כִּי לֹא יִזְנַח לְעוֹלָם אֲדֹנָי Hashem will never abandon us. For the Lord will not cast off For ever. Never abandon us. He may require some hishtadlus from us, or He may not, but He'll never abandon us. לב [כִּי אִם־הוֹגָה וְרִחַם כְּרֹב חסדו [חֲסָדָיו After all of the suffering, Hashem will have compassion, as fits his midas hachesed. For though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. After all the suffering. All of the suffering is never an end in itself; it's a means to an end, and the end is closeness to Hashem לג כִּי לֹא עִנָּה מִלִּבּוֹ וַיַּגֶּה בְנֵי־אִישׁ Hashem doesn't punish just because He thought of it, and cause people to suffer. For He doth not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men. Doesn't punish just because. Hashem never causes suffering for no purpose. This from Yirmiyahu, who saw so much suffering. It's never for nothing. לד לְדַכֵּא תַּחַת רַגְלָיו כֹּל אֲסִירֵי אָרֶץ To be oppressed and to be imprisoned by the people of the land. To crush under foot All the prisoners of the earth, To be oppressed. Hashem will let a person get to the point where they even give themselves over to be oppressed and imprisoned. לה לְהַטּוֹת מִשְׁפַּט־גָּבֶר נֶגֶד פְּנֵי עֶלְיוֹן The judgement made on any person will never be corrupt; there's always some hashgacha pratis. To turn aside the right of a man Before the face of the Most High, The judgement will never be corrupt. Whether it's now or later, people get what's coming to them. A person who cuts off their relationships with others in the end has no relationship. A person who turns away their face from Hashem in the end has no G-d. לו לְעַוֵּת אָדָם בְּרִיבוֹ אֲדֹנָי לֹא רָאָה Will a man's judgment be corrupted without Hashem seeing it? To subvert a man in his cause, The Lord approveth not. Will a man's judgement be corrupted. Whenever we see an injustice, whoever's feet we lay it at – the only reason G-d would not act is if it is for our good. לז מִי זֶה אָמַר וַתֶּהִי אֲדֹנָי לֹא צִוָּה Who is the person who wants to be a person of action? He should go forth and do it, unless Hashem is preventing him. Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, When the Lord commandeth it not? לח מִפִּי עֶלְיוֹן לֹא תֵצֵא הָרָעוֹת וְהַטּוֹב From the mouth of Hashem is not where good and evil come forth. Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not Evil and good? Does not come forth. It comes forth from our deeds. There's no such thing as pre-determined evil. לט מַה־יִּתְאוֹנֵן אָדָם חָי גֶּבֶר עַל־חטאו [חֲטָאָיו[ What reason could there be for a man who is still alive to complain, except for about his sins? Wherefore doth a living man complain, A strong man because of his sins? What reason... to complain. Complaining could be a request for help, but it isn't always. מ נַחְפְּשָׂה דְרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה וְנָשׁוּבָה עַד־יְהוָה We'll search our paths, and investigate them and return to Hashem. Let us search and try our ways, And return to the LORD. Return to Hashem. When a person does teshuva, if they're real and sincere about it, it takes them all the way straight to Hashem. מא נִשָּׂא לְבָבֵנוּ אֶל־כַּפָּיִם אֶל־אֵל בַּשָּׁמָיִם We'll lift up our heart in our palms to Hashem who's in heaven. Let us lift up our heart with our hands Unto God in the heavens. Our hearts. Our hearts have to be open to Hashem, not just our minds. מב נַחְנוּ פָשַׁעְנוּ וּמָרִינוּ אַתָּה לֹא סָלָחְתָּ [We say:] We have sinned rebelliously, with rebellious acts, and You have not forgiven. We have transgressed and have rebelled; Thou hast not pardoned. Not forgiven. Think about it: Hashem refusing to forgive, because you are stubborn. מג סַכֹּתָה בָאַף וַתִּרְדְּפֵנוּ הָרַגְתָּ לֹא חָמָלְתָּ You've covered [Your hashgacha] up with anger; You've pursued us; You killed and had no mercy. Thou hast covered with anger and pursued us; Thou hast slain unsparingly. מד סַכּוֹתָה בֶעָנָן לָךְ מֵעֲבוֹר תְּפִלָּה You've covered yourself up with cloud between you and me, and no prayers can pass. Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, So that no prayer can pass through. No prayers can pass. There are things that we do that make it impossible for our tefilla to be heard unless we do teshuva. He doesn't want to enter our lives any longer, because we've desecrated it so much - unless we do teshuva. מה סְחִי וּמָאוֹס תְּשִׂימֵנוּ בְּקֶרֶב הָעַמִּים Shameful and repulsive have You made us in the midst of the peoples. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse In the midst of the peoples. In the midst of the peoples. We fall victim to foreign ideologies and do terrible things. We end up amongst the nations and we don't even know who we are. מו פָּצוּ עָלֵינוּ פִּיהֶם כָּל־אֹיְבֵינוּ All of our enemies open their mouths against us. All our enemies have opened their mouth Wide against us. Against us. This is what saves us from assimilation, else we lose who we are. מז פַּחַד וָפַחַת הָיָה לָנוּ הַשֵּׁאת וְהַשָּׁבֶר There was anxiety and failures that happened to us. Could you carry this one who is broken? Terror and the pit are come upon us, Desolation and destruction. Broken. This is a description of us as a people – so wounded that it's questionable whether we could even be carried safely. We often say we'll do teshuva, and mean it, but the bottom line is that we're broken. מח פַּלְגֵי־מַיִם תֵּרַד עֵינִי עַל־שֶׁבֶר בַּת־עַמִּי My eyes pour forth tears because they're broken in this way. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water, For the breach of the daughter of my people. Tears at this brokenness. מט עֵינִי נִגְּרָה וְלֹא תִדְמֶה מֵאֵין הֲפֻגוֹת My eyes flow, and they don't stop, for full days. Mine eye is poured out, and ceaseth not, Without any intermission, נ עַד־יַשְׁקִיף וְיֵרֶא יְהוָה מִשָּׁמָיִם Until Hashem will look from the heavens. Till the LORD look forth, And behold from heaven. Look from the heavens. He'll look from above and see not only whatever merits we may have but the pain we're suffering. נא עֵינִי עוֹלְלָה לְנַפְשִׁי מִכֹּל בְּנוֹת עִירִי My eyes see that I'm the only one who's saved from all the people of my city. Mine eye affected my soul, Because of all the daughters of my city. נב צוֹד צָדוּנִי כַּצִּפּוֹר אֹיְבַי חִנָּם My enemies are like a trap, hunting me like a bird for no reason. They have chased me sore like a bird, That are mine enemies without cause. Hunting... For no reason. Which is prohibited to us. נג צָמְתוּ בַבּוֹר חַיָּי וַיַּדּוּ־אֶבֶן בִּי Hashem put a hole for us to fall into, as we live, and stoned us with stones. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, And have cast stones upon me. A hole for us to fall into. Not because he doesn't see our suffering, but because he does. He sees that we have to see the very end, see that we're cut off like someone in a pit. We can't get out on our own; Hashem has to help us. נד צָפוּ־מַיִם עַל־רֹאשִׁי אָמַרְתִּי נִגְזָרְתִּי They poured water on my head. I said, “I'm finished.” Waters flowed over my head; I said: ‘I am cut off.' נה קָרָאתִי שִׁמְךָ יְהוָה מִבּוֹר תַּחְתִּיּוֹת I called out Your name from this deep pit. I called upon Thy name, O LORD, Out of the lowest dungeon. נו קוֹלִי שָׁמָעְתָּ אַל־תַּעְלֵם אָזְנְךָ לְרַוְחָתִי לְשַׁוְעָתִי You heard my voice. Don't make Your ears not hear my imploring to be saved, and my tefila. Thou heardest my voice; hide not Thine ear at my sighing, at my cry. נז קָרַבְתָּ בְּיוֹם אֶקְרָאֶךָּ אָמַרְתָּ אַל־תִּירָא I'm sure that You'll be close to us on the day that I call out. You'll tell me then, don't fear. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon Thee; Thou saidst: ‘Fear not.' נח רַבְתָּ אֲדֹנָי רִיבֵי נַפְשִׁי גָּאַלְתָּ חַיָּי I'm sure that then, You'll take revenge against those who did battle against my soul, and You'll save my life. O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; Thou hast redeemed my life. נט רָאִיתָה יְהוָה עַוָּתָתִי שָׁפְטָה מִשְׁפָּטִי I know that You, Hashem, know all of the corrupt acts they've done to me, and You'll judge. O LORD, Thou hast seen my wrong; Judge Thou my cause. ס רָאִיתָה כָּל־נִקְמָתָם כָּל־מַחְשְׁבֹתָם לִי You saw all of their cruelty, all of their thoughts against me. Thou hast seen all their vengeance And all their devices against me. סא שָׁמַעְתָּ חֶרְפָּתָם יְהוָה כָּל־מַחְשְׁבֹתָם עָלָי You, Hashem, hear how they disgrace me, all of their thoughts about me. Thou hast heard their taunt, O LORD, And all their devices against me; סב שִׂפְתֵי קָמַי וְהֶגְיוֹנָם עָלַי כָּל־הַיּוֹם Their lips attack me all of the day. The lips of those that rose up against me, And their muttering against me all the day. סג שִׁבְתָּם וְקִימָתָם הַבִּיטָה אֲנִי מַנְגִּינָתָם When they sit down and when they get up, all of their officers pay attention to me and mock me. Behold Thou their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song. Pay attention to me. There's so much for them to deal with, but I'm who's dealt with. סד תָּשִׁיב לָהֶם גְּמוּל יְהוָה כְּמַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם Give them repayment according to the work of their hands. Thou wilt render unto them a recompense, O LORD, According to the work of their hands. Repayment according to the work of their hands. Repay them according to their deeds, which will tear down the walls, allowing us to see Hashem. סה תִּתֵּן לָהֶם מְגִנַּת־לֵב תַּאֲלָתְךָ לָהֶם Give to them broken heart, and let cursing come to them. Thou wilt give them hardness of heart, Thy curse unto them. סו תִּרְדֹּף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי יְהוָה Put forth Your anger against them, until they're finished under Hashem's heaven. Thou wilt pursue them in anger, and destroy them From under the heavens of the LORD. Perek 4: The previous perek was about the wall of concealment, preventing us from seeing any purpose in what was happening. He spoke about this vis-a-vis his own life as well as that of the people, and it ended with a request that the wall be torn down. How will the wall be torn down? In the merit of emuna, when we hope to Hashem and let go of any thought of control. א אֵיכָה יוּעַם זָהָב יִשְׁנֶא הַכֶּתֶם הַטּוֹב תִּשְׁתַּפֵּכְנָה אַבְנֵי־קֹדֶשׁ בְּרֹאשׁ כָּל־חוּצוֹת How was it that the gold has become dark? That the beautiful imprint changed? Those holy stones [like on the choshen] are poured out at the head of every street! How is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed! The hallowed stones are poured out At the head of every street. The beautiful imprint. Of the tzadikim. The way people looked changed. The holy stones. The children, each with their own brilliant color. ב בְּנֵי צִיּוֹן הַיְקָרִים הַמְסֻלָּאִים בַּפָּז אֵיכָה נֶחְשְׁבוּ לְנִבְלֵי־חֶרֶשׂ מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי יוֹצֵר The dear children of Yerushalayim, who were worth their weight in gold – how was it that their enemies thought of them as nothing but broken china, made by the manufacturer? The precious sons of Zion, Comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, The work of the hands of the potter! Dear children of Yerushalayim. All the enemies see is the body, not the soul. And now, we often think the way our enemies think – we breathe the air of our enemies, in exile. When you ask them, what do you think of large families, all they see is the bodies: so many mouths to feed, so many beds... They don't see the soul of each child. ג גַּם־תנין [תַּנִּים] חָלְצוּ שַׁד הֵינִיקוּ גּוּרֵיהֶן בַּת־עַמִּי לְאַכְזָר כי ענים [כַּיְעֵנִים] בַּמִּדְבָּר Even the Tanim pulls forth her breast; she nurses her cubs. The daughter of my people became cruel, like the Y'einim in the desert. Even the jackals draw out the breast, They give suck to their young ones; The daughter of my people is become cruel, Like the ostriches in the wilderness. Even the Tanim. Even the Tanim gives food to it's children. Y'einim. A bird that abandons its babies. We have become cruel. And every time we hate senselessly, we're cruel to our children – they grow up in a cruel world, and the wall between us and Hashem is built higher every time. ד דָּבַק לְשׁוֹן יוֹנֵק אֶל־חכּוֹ בַּצָּמָא עוֹלָלִים שָׁאֲלוּ לֶחֶם פֹּרֵשׂ אֵין לָהֶם The tongue of the nursing baby will be attached to his palate from this thirst; crawling children ask for bread. They stretch out their hands, but there's no bread. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth To the roof of his mouth for thirst; The young children ask bread, And none breaketh it unto them. And the response from heaven is cruelty, until we do teshuva – until we're willing to be compassionate to each other. ה הָאֹכְלִים לְמַעֲדַנִּים נָשַׁמּוּ בַּחוּצוֹת הָאֱמֻנִים עֲלֵי תוֹלָע חִבְּקוּ אַשְׁפַּתּוֹת Those who are accustomed to delicacies were confused due to hunger; they would walk around aimlessly in the streets. Those who were used to wearing red-dyed clothing embraced the garbage [trying to find food.] They that did feed on dainties Are desolate in the streets; They that were brought up in scarlet Embrace dunghills. Red-dyed clothing. Scarlet garments were expensive. Were confused or desolate. Their desolation was in proportion to what they were used to. In extremes, treating physical things as a lifestyle – pleasure and stomach as the same thing – it's reflective of our becoming coarse and vulgar. It makes you desolate, because we have only so much emotional energy. If most of it is going to food, there's not much left for anything deeper. And the wealthy ones embracing the garbage piles – think of the piles of childrens' shoes found in one of the concentration camps. The day before these children were brought by train to the concentration camps where they died, their mommies probably polished their shoes, and they were probably wearing matching socks. These were treasured children... and now all that we have of them is this pile of shoes. And who's to blame? We erect the wall. Further: our materialism is part of this picture. We may see the clothes, the shoes, the food, more than we see the people who wear them or consume them. ו וַיִּגְדַּל עֲוֺן בַּת־עַמִּי מֵחַטַּאת סְדֹם הַהֲפוּכָה כְמוֹ־רָגַע וְלֹא־חָלוּ בָהּ יָדָיִם The sin of the daughter of my people grew more than the sin of Sdom that was overturned in a moment, and no enemy conquered it. For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater Than the sin of Sodom, That was overthrown as in a moment, And no hands fell upon her. The sin of Sdom. Per the categores in pirkei avot: there are people who are takers, who have an entitlement mentality; there are givers; and there are those who say, What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. This is either beinoni or midat Sdom. Midat Sdom is when you say, do what you want, but woe betide you if you idealize giving. The nation's sin is called even greater than the sin of Sdom. Their capacity to not see each other as important was that bad. ז זַכּוּ נְזִירֶיהָ מִשֶּׁלֶג צַחוּ מֵחָלָב אָדְמוּ עֶצֶם מִפְּנִינִים סַפִּיר גִּזְרָתָם The nezirim were as pure as snow. Their white was more brilliant than milk, and their face was ruddy of colour like stones, their features chiseled like art. Her princes were purer than snow, They were whiter than milk, They were more ruddy in body than rubies, Their polishing was as of sapphire; Pure as snow. There were people who were so holy, so pure, so exemplary, and we still didn't love them. ח חָשַׁךְ מִשְּׁחוֹר תָּאֳרָם לֹא נִכְּרוּ בַּחוּצוֹת צָפַד עוֹרָם עַל־עַצְמָם יָבֵשׁ הָיָה כָעֵץ [Now] their countenance is blacker than darkness; they can't be recognized in the street. Their skin is shrunken on their bones. They were dry like a tree. Their visage is blacker than a coal; They are not known in the streets; Their skin is shrivelled upon their bones; It is withered, it is become like a stick. Their countenance is blacker than darkess. Their physical countenance is a mirror of how we saw them before. ט טוֹבִים הָיוּ חַלְלֵי־חֶרֶב מֵחַלְלֵי רָעָב שֶׁהֵם יָזוּבוּ מְדֻקָּרִים מִתְּנוּבֹת שָׂדָי It was better to be killed by a sword than to be killed by hunger, because those who were killed by swords bled and were pierced, but they were full from the fruit of the field. They that are slain with the sword are better Than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, For want of the fruits of the field. י יְדֵי נָשִׁים רַחֲמָנִיּוֹת בִּשְּׁלוּ יַלְדֵיהֶן הָיוּ לְבָרוֹת לָמוֹ בְּשֶׁבֶר בַּת־עַמִּי Kind women cooked their children; it was their meal, in the brokenness of the daughter of my people. The hands of women full of compassion Have sodden their own children; They were their food In the destruction of the daughter of my people. Kind women cooked their children. Out of their hunger, not unkind women but kind women would eat their dead children, because they wanted to live. In our exile, we become like the people who put us through this. יא כִּלָּה יְהוָה אֶת־חֲמָתוֹ שָׁפַךְ חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ וַיַּצֶּת־אֵשׁ בְּצִיּוֹן וַתֹּאכַל יְסוֹדֹתֶיהָ Hashem completed His outpouring anger; He poured forth His rage. A fire burned in Tzion, and it ate its foundations. The LORD hath accomplished His fury, He hath poured out His fierce anger; And He hath kindled a fire in Zion, Which hath devoured the foundations thereof. Hashem completed His outpouring anger. At any point we could have reversed things, but we let Hashem's anger go on and on. יב לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ מַלְכֵי־אֶרֶץ וכל [כֹּל] יֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל כִּי יָבֹא צַר וְאוֹיֵב בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם Nobody could believe this – none of the kings of the lands, and none of the inhabitants of the globe – that enemies would open up the gates of Yerushalayim. The kings of the earth believed not, Neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter Into the gates of Jerusalem. Nobody could believe this. They knew what Jerusalem was, as a place of great spiritual power, and didn't believe it could be taken by force. יג מֵחַטֹּאת נְבִיאֶיהָ עֲוֺנוֹת כֹּהֲנֶיהָ הַשֹּׁפְכִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ דַּם צַדִּיקִים From the sins of the [false] prophets, through the sins of the priests, who spilled out the blood of tzadikim. It is because of the sins of her prophets, And the iniquities of her priests, That have shed the blood of the just In the midst of her. The priests. These are the kohanim of avodah zara. יד נָעוּ עִוְרִים בַּחוּצוֹת נְגֹאֲלוּ בַּדָּם בְּלֹא יוּכְלוּ יִגְּעוּ בִּלְבֻשֵׁיהֶם They moved like blind men in the streets. They were repulsive with blood, without any possibility of differentiating that which has come onto their clothes. They wander as blind men in the streets, They are polluted with blood, So that men cannot Touch their garments. Repulsive with blood. Blind people in the marketplace would find themselves stepping on actual corpses, becoming covered in blood. People became just bodies, (in attitude) and then just obstacles (in reality). טו סוּרוּ טָמֵא קָרְאוּ לָמוֹ סוּרוּ סוּרוּ אַל־תִּגָּעוּ כִּי נָצוּ גַּם־נָעוּ אָמְרוּ בַּגּוֹיִם לֹא יוֹסִיפוּ לָגוּר [The enemy nations, who murdered us, would say,] Turn aside, impure ones! Distance, distance! Don't touch! Because when people went into exile and were put in prison, the nations said, they'll never come back to live as before. ’Depart ye! unclean! ’ men cried unto them, ‘Depart, depart, touch not’; Yea, they fled away and wandered; Men said among the nations: ‘They shall no more sojourn here.’ The nations said, they'll never come back to live as before. And you know what? We always come back. But on a tragic note, when there are prisoner exchanges – almost no one is captured and comes back alive. The fact that no one sees the cruelty when Jews are captured shows the cheapness of our lives in their eyes. טז פְּנֵי יְהוָה חִלְּקָם לֹא יוֹסִיף לְהַבִּיטָם פְּנֵי כֹהֲנִים לֹא נָשָׂאוּ זקנים [וּזְקֵנִים] לֹא חָנָנוּ The luminosity of Hashem moved from their portion, and they don't continue to see, and they didn't uplift the faces of the kohanim, and they had no mercy on the old. The anger of the LORD hath divided them; He will no more regard them; They respected not the persons of the priests, They were not gracious unto the elders. They don't continue to see.The people were in denial; they wouldn't see anything. יז עודינה [עוֹדֵינוּ] תִּכְלֶינָה עֵינֵינוּ אֶל־עֶזְרָתֵנוּ הָבֶל בְּצִפִּיָּתֵנוּ צִפִּינוּ אֶל־גּוֹי לֹא יוֹשִׁעַ Are you still waiting impatiently for help? What's going to happen with these hopes? We waited for the nations, but they don't save us! As for us, our eyes do yet fail For our vain help; In our watching we have watched For a nation that could not save. They don't save us. We think if we assimilate they'll give us safety and treat us like their brothers. It doesn't happen. יח צָדוּ צְעָדֵינוּ מִלֶּכֶת בִּרְחֹבֹתֵינוּ קָרַב קִצֵּינוּ מָלְאוּ יָמֵינוּ כִּי־בָא קִצֵּינוּ Our steps have become desolate from going in our own streets. We're close in our houses because we feel the end coming. It seems that our years are full, that we've gotten to the time of the end. They hunt our steps, That we cannot go in our broad places; Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; For our end is come. Both individually in those times and collectively in our times. They felt the angel of death at their steps. The yetzer hara wants to constrain us and confine us. He makes us think the more we do, the more endangered we are. יט קַלִּים הָיוּ רֹדְפֵינוּ מִנִּשְׁרֵי שָׁמָיִם עַל־הֶהָרִים דְּלָקֻנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אָרְבוּ לָנוּ Those who pursued us were swifter than the eages of the heavens on the mountains. They chased us in the desert, and they hid for us [in order to capture us.] Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles of the heaven; They chased us upon the mountains, They lay in wait for us in the wilderness. They chased us. The nations who willingly participated in our destruction related to us differently than other peoples. The need to really get rid of us is because we were always a threat. כ רוּחַ אַפֵּינוּ מְשִׁיחַ יְהוָה נִלְכַּד בִּשְׁחִיתוֹתָם אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְנוּ בְּצִלּוֹ נִחְיֶה בַגּוֹיִם The source of our life, Hashem's anointed one [Mashiach / Yoshiyahu] was captured by those who spoke to him, and we thought that in the merit of Yoshiyahu (his righteousness, his learnedness,) we could all live among the nations. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, Was taken in their pits; Of whom we said: ‘Under his shadow We shall live among the nations.’ In his merit. We weren't willing to look at ourselves. כא שִׂישִׂי וְשִׂמְחִי בַּת־אֱדוֹם יושבתי [יוֹשֶׁבֶת] בְּאֶרֶץ עוּץ גַּם־עָלַיִךְ תַּעֲבָר־כּוֹס תִּשְׁכְּרִי וְתִתְעָרִי Be happy, delight, daughter of Edom, who sits in the land of Utz. The bitter cup will pass also to you, o nations; be drunk and be poisoned. Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, That dwellest in the land of Uz: The cup shall pass over unto thee also; Thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked. Delight. A person who loves good cannot tolerate evil. We can't tolerate evil which erects this wall, which brings about all of this cruelty. Rejoice now, daughter of Edom, because you're not going to be able to rejoice in the next world. כב תַּם־עֲוֺנֵךְ בַּת־צִיּוֹן לֹא יוֹסִיף לְהַגְלוֹתֵךְ פָּקַד עֲוֺנֵךְ בַּת־אֱדוֹם גִּלָּה עַל־חַטֹּאתָיִךְ At that time, your sins will be finished, bat Tzion. You won't be in exile any longer. You, bat-Edom, will have your sins remembered. The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion, He will no more carry thee away into captivity; He will punish thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom, He will uncover thy sins. We will have a time when we treasure each other, when we see souls and not bodies, when reality and truth win. The way it is now is not forever. Perek 5: The previous perek was about what we lost - our humanity - and how we lost it, until all that was left was ashes. We saw the difference between bat-Tzion (for whom the physical world is a means to an end, who will treasure everything spiritual) and bat Edom (for whom spiritual reality is just trimming – a way of taking materialism and giving it force). In the end, bat Edom will be defeated. This perek is something of a summary, taking all the ideas of all the perakim, putting it together and drawing the conclusions - what should we do with all this? א זְכֹר יְהוָה מֶה־הָיָה לָנוּ הביט [הַבִּיטָה] וּרְאֵה אֶת־חֶרְפָּתֵנוּ You, Hashem, who knows everything, remember what we had. Gaze, and see our shame. Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us; Behold, and see our reproach. Remember what we had. Memory is about what's important. Remember what we were, our potential, and all the suffering that brought us to where we are today. Why remember this? The suffering itself, leading to the relinquishing of control, leads us to atonement. ב נַחֲלָתֵנוּ נֶהֶפְכָה לְזָרִים בָּתֵּינוּ לְנָכְרִים Our heritage [Israel] was turned over to strangers; our houses to enemies, to aliens. Our inheritance is turned unto strangers, Our houses unto aliens. Our heritage was turned over to strangers. And we've come to take it as normal. ג יְתוֹמִים הָיִינוּ אין [וְאֵין] אָב אִמֹּתֵינוּ כְּאַלְמָנוֹת We're like orphans, who have no father; our mothers are like widows. We are become orphans and fatherless, Our mothers are as widows. Like orphans. Not that Hashem is actually gone – we're like orphans, in that the wall between us is so high. We can't reach Him. ד מֵימֵינוּ בְּכֶסֶף שָׁתִינוּ עֵצֵינוּ בִּמְחִיר יָבֹאוּ We had to pay money for our own water; our trees that we grew had to be brought to us. We have drunk our water for money; Our wood cometh to us for price. We had to pay for our own water. It's not that we had no water. They were afraid to go out to try and get it. ה עַל צַוָּארֵנוּ נִרְדָּפְנוּ יָגַעְנוּ לא [וְלֹא] הוּנַח לָנוּ We were pursued until our very necks; they don't leave us alone. To our very necks we are pursued; We labour, and have no rest. Until our necks. The nations of the world forced us to carry such a heavy yoke that we feel like we're choking. As soon as we begin to prosper, the nations begin to choke us. They can't bear seeing what we have. Why do we often see that we prosper? The anti-semites say nicer things about us than we say about ourselves. They saw we're smart. We have great potential, but it's not meant to be used for acquiring more and more. ו מִצְרַיִם נָתַנּוּ יָד אַשּׁוּר לִשְׂבֹּעַ לָחֶם Mitzrayim gave [our enemies] help; Ashur supplied bread. We have given the hand to Egypt, And to Assyria, to have bread enough; Mitzrayim gave help. Egypt, who was our ally at the time of the destruction of the first temple, not only didn't come to save us but made a new alliance with our enemies. Ashur supplied bread. Ashur gave financial aid to the Babylonians to make it possible for them to conquer us. ז אֲבֹתֵינוּ חָטְאוּ אינם [וְאֵינָם] אנחנו [וַאֲנַחְנוּ] עֲוֺנֹתֵיהֶם סָבָלְנוּ Our fathers sinned and are no longer here, but we bear their sins. Our fathers have sinned, and are not; And we have borne their iniquities. We bear their sins. Of course we bear responsibility for ourselves, but the paths people take in life affect what kind of education they give their children, how they raise them. What values do those who leave our values give to their children? Whether you want to or not, you're bearing the fruit of that. ח עֲבָדִים מָשְׁלוּ בָנוּ פֹּרֵק אֵין מִיָּדָם The servants had control over us, and there was no way to escape their hand. Servants rule over us; There is none to deliver us out of their hand. ט בְּנַפְשֵׁנוּ נָבִיא לַחְמֵנוּ מִפְּנֵי חֶרֶב הַמִּדְבָּר The serving boys would risk their lives for the sake of our bread, because of the swords of the desert. We get our bread with the peril of our lives Because of the sword of the wilderness. Risk their lives for bread. We had to take risks – other people and ourselves, servants and us – just to get food. Think of how it was in the Holocaust. If your soul and your food are entwined in your own mind, you're basically a slave forever. י עוֹרֵנוּ כְּתַנּוּר נִכְמָרוּ מִפְּנֵי זַלְעֲפוֹת רָעָב Our skin was shrunken as if it was in an oven; it was dry because of the force of the hunger. Our skin is hot like an oven Because of the burning heat of famine. יא נָשִׁים בְּצִיּוֹן עִנּוּ בְּתֻלֹת בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה The invaders afflicted the women in Tzion, and the virgins in the cities of Yehuda. They have ravished the women in Zion, The maidens in the cities of Judah. Afflicted the women. It's one of the great irrationalities of exile. Our enemies can be so corrupt that they will take the women even though they think that Jews are degraded and disgusting. יב שָׂרִים בְּיָדָם נִתְלוּ פְּנֵי זְקֵנִים לֹא נֶהְדָּרוּ The leaders of the people were hanged, and the faces of the old were not viewed with kavod. Princes are hanged up by their hand; The faces of elders are not honoured. The old were not viewed with kavod. The idea of why we have to give an elder kavod isn't because all old people are necessarily wise, but all of them have seen a lot, all of them have all of the images, and for that reason, listening to them is very important. יג בַּחוּרִים טְחוֹן נָשָׂאוּ וּנְעָרִים בָּעֵץ כָּשָׁלוּ The young men carried grinding stones, and the boys stumbled over boards of wood. The young men have borne the mill, And the children have stumbled under the wood. The young men carried grinding stones. The idea of work breaking a person until they have no time and no mental space – this forcibly creates a clean slate. No suffering is needless – may we never need to have it done in this way. יד זְקֵנִים מִשַּׁעַר שָׁבָתוּ בַּחוּרִים מִנְּגִינָתָם The elders have ceased from the gate, The young men from their music. טו שָׁבַת מְשׂוֹשׂ לִבֵּנוּ נֶהְפַּךְ לְאֵבֶל מְחֹלֵנוּ Our pleasure in living stopped; our dancing circles were turned to mourning. The joy of our heart is ceased; Our dance is turned into mourning. Our pleasure in living stopped. There's a premise that having real simchat chaim really is an offshoot of bitachon. The people who had a deep level of trust knew that this powerful tikkun is going to get us something worth more than it is in pain. טז נָפְלָה עֲטֶרֶת רֹאשֵׁנוּ אוֹי־נָא לָנוּ כִּי חָטָאנוּ The crown of our head fell; woe is to us, because we've sinned. The crown is fallen from our head; Woe unto us! for we have sinned. The crown of our head. When the leadership is gone, we lose so much in guidance and in merit. יז עַל־זֶה הָיָה דָוֶה לִבֵּנוּ עַל־אֵלֶּה חָשְׁכוּ עֵינֵינוּ This is what makes us heartsick; this is what our eyes were darkened by: For this our heart is faint, For these things our eyes are dim; יח עַל הַר־צִיּוֹן שֶׁשָּׁמֵם שׁוּעָלִים הִלְּכוּ־בוֹ On Har Tzion, which is now desolate; foxes walk on it. For the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, The foxes walk upon it. Remember the famous Gemara of Rabbi Akiva at Har haBayit. Just as the prophecy that there will be foxes running around Har haBayit was fulfilled, so will the other prophecies be fulfilled. יט אַתָּה יְהוָה לְעוֹלָם תֵּשֵׁב כִּסְאֲךָ לְדֹר וָדוֹר You, Hashem, endure forever; your throne goes from one generation to the next. Thou, O LORD, art enthroned for ever, Thy throne is from generation to generation. You, Hashem, endure forever. We don't understand how Hashem decided, but we understand that He is there. כ לָמָּה לָנֶצַח תִּשְׁכָּחֵנוּ תַּעַזְבֵנוּ לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים Don't forget us forever, or abandon us for years. Wherefore dost Thou forget us for ever, And forsake us so long time? Don't forget us or abandon us. Memory as paying-attention. Forget us would mean ignoring us. כא הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ ונשוב [וְנָשׁוּבָה] חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם Return us, Hashem, to do teshuva to you, and we'll come back. Bring us back to the eras that shone with beauty. Turn Thou us unto Thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; Renew our days as of old. Return us, Hashem. In the end, Hashem will bring us back – and when he brings us back, we will return to Him. First we have to be educable and willing, and then Hashem has to light a spark and we'll come back; we'll all run. כב כִּי אִם־מָאֹס מְאַסְתָּנוּ קָצַפְתָּ עָלֵינוּ עַד־מְאֹד But if You're so repulsed by us, [by our sins,] Your anger against us is very much. Thou canst not have utterly rejected us, And be exceeding wroth against us! Who are we to say that Hashem's anger is very great? We tend to revert to worse behaviours when we're not in an inspiring environment. When we say, ad me'od, we're asking that Hashem at least give us a life, that we not be abandoned. [השיבנו יהוה אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם] [Turn us unto Thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; Renew our days as of old.] In the end, Hashem will brings us back, and we will return to him. Bring back our days as they once were. Notice, it ends with a note of hope. Why? Because it's going to happen. Over the course of Jewish history, there have been many people in many times saying that there's no rational way out of the situation. Who cares? So what if there's no rational way out? We're not tied down to that. In our collective situation, Hashem can make things happen as He wants. In our communal lives, we have every possibility of coming back. We have to open ourselves to Him, and he'll make it whole. It's possible. We have to be willing. And then, השיבנו ה אליך. And we won't come back scarred, cynical and jaded and weary. We'll come back new, fresh, in a way in which we see that the person who we are today is a person full of potential and future. This is our wish for ourselves as a people. We want to see renewal. This is our wish for ourselves as individuals. Individual redemption is dependent on national redemption. We have to want both: renewal as a nation and as individuals. We need to be open to it, and Hashem will take us back. We should just be worthy of it.

שנראה את נחמת ירושלים ובנינה