One day Jeremiah the prophet was walking up the hills towards Jerusalem, which was desolate and in ruins. He lifted up his eyes and he saw a woman sitting on the top of the mountain, where the Beth Hamikdosh stood only a short time ago in all its glory. The woman was dressed in black and her hair was disheveled, like that of a woman in mourning. She was weeping and lamenting; who could comfort her? Jeremiah himself was weeping sorrowfully over the destruction of the Beth Hamikdosh, yet he approached the woman and said to her: "If you are human, speak to me; if you are a ghost, away with thee."
The woman raised her tearful eyes, and replied, "Don't you recognize me? I was a happy wife, and the mother of seven children. The father of my children has left me and gone overseas. Then came a messenger with evil tidings: 'Your house has collapsed and buried your children in the ruins.' For whom shall I mourn first, for my children or for my husband?"
In the midst of his own grief, Jeremiah's heart was filled with compassion for the heartbroken woman, and he tried to comfort her, saying: "My heart is filled with sorrow for you; but is your lot worse than that of Mother Zion? See what happened to Jerusalem; it has become a breeding place for the beasts of the field!"
Replied the woman, "I am your Mother Zion; I am the unhappy Mother of Seven."
Said Jeremiah to her, "Your fate seems to be like that of Iyov (Job); Iyov lost his sons and daughters, and you have lost yours; Iyov lost all his precious possessions, and so did you; Iyov was thrown onto the dust-heap, and so were you. But take heart from Iyov, for as Iyov was restored to even greater glory than ever before, and was fully comforted and recompensed for his suffering, so will you be restored and comforted; Iyov's children were increased twofold, and so will yours; Iyov's wealth was doubled in the end, so will yours; Iyov was lifted from the dust-heap to a place of honor, and so will you, for thus G-d has declared, 'Shake off the dust, rise and sit up, O Jerusalem! A man of flesh and blood built thee, and a man of flesh and blood destroyed thee. But in the future I myself will build thee, and you shall never be destroyed again.' And so it is also written, 'G-d will build Jerusalem, and He will gather in the exiles of Israel.' "