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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 1

Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. 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.   א. אֵיכָה | יָשְׁבָה בָדָד הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם הָיְתָה כְּאַלְמָנָה רַבָּתִי בַגּוֹיִם שָׂרָתִי בַּמְּדִינוֹת הָיְתָה לָמַס:
O how… remained lonely: Jeremiah wrote the Book of Lamentations. This is the scroll that Jehoiakim burned on the brazier that was on the fire (sic). It [originally] contained three alphabetical acrostics (Lam. ch. 1): “O how… remained,” (ch. 2) “How… brought darkness,” (ch. 4) “How dim… has become,” and he added to it, (ch. 3) “I am the man,” which contains three alphabetical acrostics, as it is said (Jer. 36:32): “and there were yet added to them many words like those,” three corresponding to three.  
lonely: solitary, devoid of her inhabitants.  
populous: Heb. רַבָּתִי עָם, great of people. The “yud” is superfluous, like רַבַּת עָם, for her people were many. There are many Aggadic midrashim [on this verse], but I have come to explain the language of the Scripture according to its literal meaning.  
She has become like a widow: but not really a widow; rather, like a woman whose husband went abroad and intends to return to her.  
2. 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.   ב. בָּכוֹ תִבְכֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל לֶחֱיָהּ אֵין לָהּ מְנַחֵם מִכָּל אֹהֲבֶיהָ כָּל רֵעֶיהָ בָּגְדוּ בָהּ הָיוּ לָהּ לְאֹיְבִים:
She weeps, yea, she weeps: weeping twice over the two destructions.  
in the night: for the Temple was burned at night, as the master said (Ta’an. 29a): “At eventide, they ignited the fire upon it.” Another explanation: because of the night-the night of the weeping of the Spies on the ninth of Av caused it to happen to them (Lam. Rabbah ms. 1:178, Targum, Sanh. 104b, Ta’an. 29a). Another explanation: in the night-for whoever weeps at night, the one who hears his voice weeps along with him (Lam. Rabbah 1:24, Sanh. ad loc.).  
and her tears are on her cheek: since she weeps constantly.  
all her friends: those who love her.  
3. 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.   ג. גָּלְתָה יְהוּדָה מֵעֹנִי וּמֵרֹב עֲבֹדָה הִיא יָשְׁבָה בַגּוֹיִם לֹא מָצְאָה מָנוֹחַ כָּל רֹדְפֶיהָ הִשִּׂיגוּהָ בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים:
Judah went into exile: from her land.  
and great servitude: with which the Chaldeans burdened her.  
she settled among the nations: and in the place where she was exiled and settled she found no rest.  
between the boundaries: where there is a high place on either side, and there is no place to flee.  
the boundaries: Heb. הַמְצָרִים, the boundaries of fields and vineyards. The Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah 1:29) explains: between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av.  
4. 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.   ד. דַּרְכֵי צִיּוֹן אֲבֵלוֹת מִבְּלִי בָּאֵי מוֹעֵד כָּל שְׁעָרֶיהָ שׁוֹמֵמִין כֹּהֲנֶיהָ נֶאֱנָחִים בְּתוּלֹתֶיהָ נוּגוֹת וְהִיא מַר לָהּ:
because no one comes to the appointed season: the pilgrims who went up for the festivals.  
her maidens grieve: Heb. נוּגוֹת, an expression of grief (יָגוֹן) , and there is no radical but the “gimmel” alone.  
5. 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.   ה. הָיוּ צָרֶיהָ לְרֹאשׁ אֹיְבֶיהָ שָׁלוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה הוֹגָהּ עַל רֹב פְּשָׁעֶיהָ עוֹלָלֶיהָ הָלְכוּ שְׁבִי לִפְנֵי צָר:
are at ease: dwell in tranquility.  
has afflicted her: caused her grief, and this is an expression of grief.  
6. 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.   ו. וַיֵּצֵא מִבַּת בַּת צִיּוֹן כָּל הֲדָרָהּ הָיוּ שָׂרֶיהָ כְּאַיָּלִים לֹא מָצְאוּ מִרְעֶה וַיֵּלְכוּ בְלֹא כֹחַ לִפְנֵי רוֹדֵף:
like harts who did not find pasture: like harts who did not find pasture, who have no strength to flee, for their strength has been weakened by hunger.  
pursuer: Heb. רוֹדֵף. Every רֹדֵף in Scripture is defective (רֹדֵף), but this one is full (רוֹדֵף) , for they were pursued with a full pursuit. Therefore the paytan composed “I was fully pursued, but the year of my redemption is missing, (גְאֻלַי).” (Isa. 63:4): “The year of my redemption (גְאֻלַי) has arrived” is spelled defectively.  
7. 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.   ז. זָכְרָה יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם יְמֵי עָנְיָהּ וּמְרוּדֶיהָ כֹּל מַחֲמֻדֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ מִימֵי קֶדֶם בִּנְפֹל עַמָּהּ בְּיַד צָר וְאֵין עוֹזֵר לָהּ רָאוּהָ צָרִים שָׂחֲקוּ עַל מִשְׁבַּתֶּהָ:
Jerusalem recalls: in her exile.  
the days of her poverty: the days of her destruction, which brought her to poverty.  
and her miseries: Heb. וּמְרוּדֶיהָ. This is an expression of pain, like (Jud. 11:37): “and I wailed (וְיָרַדְתִּי) upon the mountains” ; (Ps. 55:3): “I lament (אָרִיד) in my speech, and I moan.”  
all her precious things: And she remembered all the good of her precious things that were from days of old.  
gloating on her desolation: Heb. מִשְּׁבַּתֶיהָ. They rejoiced over the cessation of her festivals, her New Moons, and her Sabbaths; and the Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah) interprets it as a different expression, that they rested in exile on the Sabbaths and festivals and observed the seventh year, and the heathens ridiculed them and said, “Fools! In your land you did not keep the Sabbatical Year, and now in exile you keep it? In your land, you did not keep the Sabbath, and now in exile you keep it?”  
8. 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.   ח. חֵטְא חָטְאָה יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם עַל כֵּן לְנִידָה הָיָתָה כָּל מְכַבְּדֶיהָ הִזִּילוּהָ כִּי רָאוּ עֶרְוָתָהּ גַּם הִיא נֶאֶנְחָה וַתָּשָׁב אָחוֹר:
a wanderer: Heb. לְנִידָה, an exile, an expression of moving and wandering (נָע וָנָד), esmo(u)vement in Old French, that which moves on.  
her shame: Heb. עֶרְוָתָה, lit. her nakedness.  
she herself sighed: Heb. נֶאֶנְחָה is in the passive past tense, sospirer in Old French, to sigh, [a verb]."They heard that I am sighing (נֶאֶנָחָה) (verse 21) is a noun, sospirose in Old French, one who sighs.  
9. 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.   ט. טֻמְאָתָהּ בְּשׁוּלֶיהָ לֹא זָכְרָה אַחֲרִיתָהּ וַתֵּרֶד פְּלָאִים אֵין מְנַחֵם לָהּ רְאֵה יְהֹוָה אֶת עָנְיִי כִּי הִגְדִּיל אוֹיֵב:
Her uncleanliness is in her skirts: This is an expression of disgrace. Her menstrual blood is visible in the skirts of her garments, i.e., her sins are conspicuous; she committed them flagrantly.  
she was not mindful of her end: When they would sin, they were not mindful of what their end would be. Therefore, “she fell astonishingly.” Her descent was astonishing, bringing about much bewilderment, for everyone was bewildered that this happened to her, something that did not happen to any other city.  
10. 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.   י. יָדוֹ פָּרַשׂ צָר עַל כָּל מַחֲמַדֶּיהָ כִּי רָאֲתָה גוֹיִם בָּאוּ מִקְדָּשָׁהּ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָה לֹא יָבֹאוּ בַקָּהָל לָךְ:
The adversary stretched forth his hand: Ammon and Moab.  
upon all her precious things: the Siphrei Torah, which are spoken of as (Ps. 19: 11): “They are to he desired more than gold.” All turned to plunder silver and gold, and they turned upon the Siphrei Torah in order to burn them, because it is written in them, (Deut. 23:4): “An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter, etc.”  
whom You did command not to enter into Your assembly: These are Ammon and Moab.  
11. 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.   יא. כָּל עַמָּהּ נֶאֱנָחִים מְבַקְשִׁים לֶחֶם נָתְנוּ מַחֲמַדֵּיהֶם בְּאֹכֶל לְהָשִׁיב נָפֶשׁ רְאֵה יְהֹוָה וְהַבִּיטָה כִּי הָיִיתִי זוֹלֵלָה:
12. 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.   יב. לוֹא (ל זעירא) אֲלֵיכֶם כָּל עֹבְרֵי דֶרֶךְ הַבִּיטוּ וּרְאוּ אִם יֵשׁ מַכְאוֹב כְּמַכְאֹבִי אֲשֶׁר עוֹלַל לִי אֲשֶׁר הוֹגָה יְהֹוָה בְּיוֹם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ:
let it not happen to you: Such a calamity should no longer happen to all those who transgress the Law. Our Sages said (Sanh. 104b): It is derived from here that “kuvlana” has a basis in Scripture. See what He did to me; behold and see, etc.  
which has been dealt to me: which has been done to me.  
[with] which the Lord saddened: on the day of His fierce anger. This is an expression [denoting] grief, saddening.  
13. 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.   יג. מִמָּרוֹם שָׁלַח אֵשׁ בְּעַצְמֹתַי וַיִּרְדֶּנָּה פָּרַשׂ רֶשֶׁת לְרַגְלַי הֱשִׁיבַנִי אָחוֹר נְתָנַנִי שֹׁמֵמָה כָּל הַיּוֹם דָּוָה:
and it broke them: Heb. וַיִרְדֶנָה, equivalent to וַיִרֶד אוֹתָה, and it broke it, [referring to each of his bones] through punishment and suffering. Therefore, the “nun” is punctuated with a “dagesh,” so that it is interpreted in the feminine singular, like יַעֲשֶׂנָה, he will do it; יְכַסְמֶנָה, he will gnaw at it; יִרְעֶנָה, will graze upon it; for עֶצֶם, bone, is in the feminine gender, as Scripture states (Ezek. 36:4): הָעֲצָמוֹת הַיְבֵשׁוֹת, the dry bones.“ It broke each one. Another explanation: וַיִרְדֶנָה is like (Jud. 14:9): ” and he separated it (וַיִרְדֵהוּ) into his hands." It scrapes and separates the marrow from its midst.  
14. 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.   יד. נִשְׂקַד עֹל פְּשָׁעַי בְּיָדוֹ יִשְׂתָּרְגוּ עָלוּ עַל צַוָּארִי הִכְשִׁיל כֹּחִי נְתָנַנִי אֲדֹנָי בִּידֵי לֹא אוּכַל קוּם:
The yoke of my transgressions was marked: Heb. נִשְׂקַד. This word has no likeness in Scripture, and in the Aramaic language of the Pesikta (d’Rav Kahana p. 153), they call a goad מַסְקְדָא, an ox goad, and I say that it is equivalent to pointurez in Old French. My transgressions were dotted, spotted, and marked in the hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, for a remembrance. Their number and their recompense were not forgotten.  
they have become interwoven: Heb. יִשְּׂתָּרְגוּ. They became many plaits, and came up on my neck. This is the language of the Mishnah (See M.K. 1:8). We may not girth (מְסָרְגִין) the bedsteads.  
15. 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.   טו. סִלָּה כָל אַבִּירַי | אֲדֹנָי בְּקִרְבִּי קָרָא עָלַי מוֹעֵד לִשְׁבֹּר בַּחוּרָי גַּת דָּרַךְ אֲדֹנָי לִבְתוּלַת בַּת יְהוּדָה:
The Lord has trampled: Heb. סִלָה. He trampled and trod, an expression of (Isa. 62:10): “pave, pave the highway (סֹלוּ סֹלוּ הַמְסִלָה),” [meaning to beat down the road].  
He summoned an assembly against me: Heb. מוֹעֵד, a gathering of troops to come against me. And our Sages expounded what they expounded (Pes. 77a, Ta’an. 29a, Sanh. 104b): Tammuz of that year was a full (thirty-day) month; [i.e., the Tammuz] of the second year from the Exodus from Egypt. Therefore, the return of the Spies occurred on the night of the ninth of Av, upon which their weeping was established for generations (Ta’an. ad loc., Sanh. ad loc., Sotah 35a).  
the Lord has trodden as in a wine press: An expression of massacre, like (Isa. 63:3): “A wine press I trod alone.” As one treads grapes to extract their wine, so did He trample the women to extract their blood.  
16. 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.   טז. עַל אֵלֶּה | אֲנִי בוֹכִיָּה עֵינִי | עֵינִי יֹרְדָה מַּיִם כִּי רָחַק מִמֶּנִּי מְנַחֵם מֵשִׁיב נַפְשִׁי הָיוּ בָנַי שׁוֹמֵמִים כִּי גָבַר אוֹיֵב:
my eye, yea, my eye: i.e., my eye constantly sheds tears. The double expression indicates that there was no letup.  
17. 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.   יז. פֵּרְשָׂה צִיּוֹן בְּיָדֶיהָ אֵין מְנַחֵם לָהּ צִוָּה יְהֹוָה לְיַעֲקֹב סְבִיבָיו צָרָיו הָיְתָה יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם לְנִדָּה בֵּינֵיהֶם:
Zion spreads out her hands: Heb. פֵּרְשָּׂה. Like (Isa. 25:11): “And he shall spread out (וּפֵרַשּׂ) his hands in his midst,” like a person who moves his hands to and fro and demonstrates his pain with them. Another explanation is: Zion broke, an expression of breaking, like (Lam. 4: 4): “no one breaks it for them” ; (Jer. 16:7): “and they shall not break [bread] (יִפְרְסוּ) for them in mourning,” to console him for his dead [kinsman]. So did Menachem classify it (Machbereth Menachem p. 146). And in the language of the Mishnah (Ber. 37a), the broken piece of bread (פְּרוּסָה) is intact. And it means that Zion was in pain like a person who clasps his hands and breaks them. I found an addendum.  
the Lord has commanded concerning Jacob that his adversaries shall be round about him: He commanded concerning Jacob that his adversaries would surround him. Even when they were exiled to Babylon and to Assyria, Sennacherib exiled their enemies, Ammon and Moab, and settled them beside them, and they taunted them, as is stated in Tractate Kiddushin (72a): Humania was in Babylon, entirely occupied by Ammonites.  
an outcast: Heb. לְנִדָה, for an outcast and a disgrace.  
18. 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.   יח. צַדִּיק הוּא יְהֹוָה כִּי פִיהוּ מָרִיתִי שִׁמְעוּ נָא כָל הָעַמִּים וּרְאוּ מַכְאֹבִי בְּתוּלֹתַי וּבַחוּרַי הָלְכוּ בַשֶּׁבִי:
19. 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.   יט. קָרָאתִי לַמְאַהֲבַי הֵמָּה רִמּוּנִי כֹּהֲנַי וּזְקֵנַי בָּעִיר גָּוָעוּ כִּי בִקְשׁוּ אֹכֶל לָמ וֹ וְיָשִׁיבוּ אֶת נַפְשָׁם:
I called to my lovers: Heb. לַמְאַהֲבַי, to those who make themselves appear as lovers.  
[but] they deceived me: e.g., the children of Ishmael, who went forth toward the exiles when the captors were leading them on the road nearby, as if they were compassionate toward them. And they brought them various kinds of salty foods and inflated skin flasks. They [the Jews] thought that these were [flasks of] wine, so they ate and became thirsty and wished to drink, and when they untied the flask with their teeth, the air entered their intestines and they died. This is what Scripture says (Isa. 21:13f.): “In the forest in Arabia you shall lodge, etc. Bring water toward the thirsty! The inhabitants of the land of Tema came before the wanderer with bread.”  
to revive their souls: so that they should revive their souls.  
20. 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.   כ. רְאֵה יְהֹוָה כִּי צַר לִי מֵעַי חֳמַרְמָרוּ נֶהְפַּךְ לִבִּי בְּקִרְבִּי כִּי מָרוֹ מָרִיתִי מִחוּץ שִׁכְּלָה חֶרֶב בַּבַּיִת כַּמָּוֶת:
burn: Heb. חֳמַרְמָרוּ, they became shriveled, and there is an expression like this in the language of the Mishnah (Hul. 3:3): “It fell into the fire and its intestines were scorched (וְנֶחְמְרוּ).”  
in the house it is like death: Within the house was fear of demons and destructive beings and angels of death, and from without, the enemy’s sword was bereaving them.  
21. 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.   כא. שָׁמְעוּ כִּי נֶאֱנָחָה אָנִי אֵין מְנַחֵם לִי כָּל אֹיְבַי שָׁמְעוּ רָעָתִי שָׂשׂוּ כִּי אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ הֵבֵאתָ יוֹם קָרָאתָ וְיִהְיוּ כָמֹנִי:
that You have done it: You caused them to hate me when You separated me from their food and from their drink and from intermarrying with them. Had I intermarried with them, they would have had compassion upon me and upon their daughters’ sons.  
You had brought the day that You proclaimed: If only You had brought upon them the appointed day that You proclaimed upon me.  
and let them be like me: in distress.  
22. 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.   כב. תָּבֹא כָל רָעָתָם לְפָנֶיךָ וְעוֹלֵל לָמוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עוֹלַלְתָּ לִי עַל כָּל פְּשָׁעָי כִּי רַבּוֹת אַנְחֹתַי וְלִבִּי דַוָּי:
May all their wickedness come before You: May all their iniquities be remembered and counted before You.  
and deal with them: Heb. וְעוֹלֵל, and do, like (Prov. 20:11): “Also a child can disguise himself with his deeds (בְּמַעֲלָלָיו)” ; (Jer. 32:19): “and in accordance with the fruit of his deeds (מַעֲלָלָיו).”  
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