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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 3

Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 3

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 3

1. I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.   א. אֲנִי הַגֶּבֶר רָאָה עֳנִי בְּשֵׁבֶט עֶבְרָתוֹ:
I am the man who has seen affliction: Jeremiah lamented, saying, “I am the man who has seen affliction,” who has seen affliction more than all the prophets who prophesied concerning the destruction of the Temple, for the Temple was not destroyed in their days, but it was in my days.  
by the rod of His wrath: of the One who chastises and smites, i.e., the Holy One, blessed be He.  
2. He has led me and made me walk [in] darkness and not [in] light.   ב. אוֹתִי נָהַג וַיֹּלַךְ חשֶׁךְ וְלֹא אוֹר:
3. Only against me would He repeatedly turn His hand the whole day long.   ג. אַךְ בִּי יָשֻׁב יַהֲפֹךְ יָדוֹ כָּל הַיּוֹם:
Only against me would He repeatedly: I alone am constantly smitten, for the entire repetition of His blows is upon me.  
4. He has made my flesh and my skin waste away [and] has broken my bones.   ד. בִּלָּה בְשָׂרִי וְעוֹרִי שִׁבַּר עַצְמוֹתָי:
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away: Heb. בִּלָה, like (Isa. 44: 19): “to rotten wood (לְבוּל עֵץ).” Another explanation: He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, like (ibid. 51:6): “And the earth shall rot away (תִּבְלֶה) like a garment,” i.e., both young and old lay on the ground with neither pillow nor cushion, and their flesh wore out when they were going into exile.  
5. He has built up [camps of siege] against me, and encompassed [me with] gall and travail.   ה. בָּנָה עָלַי וַיַּקַּף רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה:
and encompassed: He encompassed me.  
gall: Heb. רֹאשּׁ, like (Deut. 29: “gall (רֹאשּׁ) and wormwood.” The Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabhah), states: רֹאשּׁ refers to Nebuchadnezzar in the exile of Jehoiachin.  
travail: Nebuzaradan, who completed the blow in the days of Zedekiah, and he wearied me.  
6. He has made me dwell in darkness like those who are forever dead.   ו. בְּמַחֲשַׁכִּים הוֹשִׁיבַנִי כְּמֵתֵי עוֹלָם:
7. He has fenced me in, so that I cannot get out; He has made my chains heavy.   ז. גָּדַר בַּעֲדִי וְלֹא אֵצֵא הִכְבִּיד נְחָשְׁתִּי:
He has fenced me in: He has made a wall opposite me so that I should be imprisoned.  
so that I cannot get out: He stationed camps and troops of soldiers lying-in-wait around me.  
He has made my chains heavy: He made heavy fetters for my feet so that I would be unable to walk, f(i)eryes in Old French, chains.  
8. Though I cry out and plead, He shuts out my prayer.   ח. גַּם כִּי אֶזְעַק וַאֲשַׁוֵּעַ שָׂתַם תְּפִלָּתִי:
He shuts out my prayer: He shut the windows of the sky before it.  
9. He has walled up my roads with hewn stones, He has made my paths crooked.   ט. גָּדַר דְּרָכַי בְּגָזִית נְתִיבֹתַי עִוָּה:
He has made my paths crooked: If I wish to go out, I do not go out on roads paved in a straight way, because of the enemies, but I go out on a crooked road.  
10. He is to me a bear lying in wait, a lion in hiding.   י. דֹּב אֹרֵב הוּא לִי אֲרִי בְּמִסְתָּרִים:
He is to me a bear lying in wait: The Holy One, blessed be He, turned into a bear lying in wait for me.  
11. He scattered thorns on my ways, He caused me to spread my legs apart, and made me desolate.   יא. דְּרָכַי סוֹרֵר וַיְפַשְּׁחֵנִי שָׂמַנִי שֹׁמֵם:
He scattered thorns on my ways: Heb. סוֹרֵר, an expression of סִירִים, thorns. סוֹרֵר means that He “thorned” them, He scattered thorns on my ways.  
He caused me to spread my legs: Heb. וַיְפַשְׁחֵנִי, an expression of spreading the legs. One who passes on roads that are not cleared must widen his stride, and there is an example of this in the language of the Gemara (M.K. 10b): “The one who pruned (דְפָשַׁח) a date palm” [meaning that he separated the branches from the trunk].  
12. He bent His bow and set me up as a target for the arrow.   יב. דָּרַךְ קַשְׁתּ וֹ וַיַּצִּיבֵנִי כַּמַּטָּרָא לַחֵץ:
and set me up as a target: He set me up opposite His arrows to shoot at me like a target, asenayl in Old French, target.  
13. He has caused the arrows of His quiver to enter into my reins.   יג. הֵבִיא בְּכִלְיֹתָי בְּנֵי אַשְׁפָּתוֹ:
the arrows of His quiver: arrows that are placed within the quiver, called cuyvre, quiver.  
14. I have become the laughing stock of all my people, their song [of derision] all day long.   יד. הָיִיתִי שְּׂחֹק לְכָל עַמִּי נְגִינָתָם כָּל הַיּוֹם:
15. He has filled me with bitterness; He has sated me with wormwood.   טו. הִשְׂבִּיעַנִי בַמְּרוֹרִים הִרְוַנִי לַעֲנָה:
16. Indeed, He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and caused me to wallow in ashes.   טז. וַיַּגְרֵס בֶּחָצָץ שִׁנָּי הִכְפִּישַׁנִי בָּאֵפֶר:
He has made… grind: Heb. וַיַגְרֵס, and He broke, and an example is (Ps. 119. 20): “My soul is crushed (גָרְסָה) ” ; and similarly (Lev. 2: 14): “ground (גֶרֶשּׂ) when still fresh.”  
on gravel: Heb. בֶּחָצָץ, fine pebbles that are in the midst of the dust, for the exiles would knead their dough in the pits that they would dig in the ground, and the gravel would enter it, as the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Ezekiel (12:3), “Make yourself implements for exile,” in which to drink and in which to knead a small cake, so that they should learn and do likewise, as it is stated (ibid. 24:24): “And Ezekiel will be to you for a sign,” but they ridiculed him and did not do so; [so] their teeth were ultimately broken.  
and caused me to wallow: He turned me over in ashes like a vessel inverted on its mouth, adenter in Old French, to throw flat on one’s face. There is a similar word in the Mishnah (sic) (Yev. 107b): Pishon the camel driver measured with an inverted (כְּפוּשָּׁה) measure.  
17. And my soul is far removed from peace, I have forgotten [what] goodness [is].   יז. וַתִּזְנַח מִשָּׁלוֹם נַפְשִׁי נָשִׁיתִי טוֹבָה:
18. So I said, "Gone is my life, and my expectation from the Lord."   יח. וָאֹמַר אָבַד נִצְחִי וְתוֹחַלְתִּי מֵיהֹוָה:
So I said, Gone is my life: Heb. נִצְחִי. I said to myself in the midst of my many troubles, “My world and my hope are gone.”  
19. Remember my affliction and my misery, wormwood and gall.   יט. זְכָר עָנְיִי וּמְרוּדִי לַעֲנָה וָרֹאשׁ:
and my misery: Heb. וּמְרוּדִי, compleynt, wailing.  
20. My soul well remembers and is bowed down within me.   כ. זָכוֹר תִּזְכּוֹר וְתָשׁוּחַ עָלַי נַפְשִׁי:
well remembers: My soul [well remembers] my affliction and my misery and is bowed down within me. This is the simple meaning according to the context of the verse. The Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah), however, [explains it as follows:] I know that You will ultimately remember what was done to me, but my soul is bowed down within me waiting for the time of remembrance. On this the liturgical poet based [his poem]: “With this I know that You have to remember, but my soul is bowed down within me until You remember.”  
21. This I reply to my heart; therefore I have hope.   כא. זֹאת אָשִׁיב אֶל לִבִּי עַל כֵּן אוֹחִיל:
This I reply to my heart: After my heart said to me that my hope from the Lord was gone, I will reply this to my heart, and I will continue to hope. Now what is it that I will reply to my heart?  
22. Verily, the kindnesses of the Lord never cease! Indeed, His mercies never fail!   כב. חַסְדֵי יְהֹוָה כִּי לֹא תָמְנוּ כִּי לֹא כָלוּ רַחֲמָיו:
Verily, the kindnesses of the Lord never cease: and the entire section until (v. 39): “Why should [a living man] complain? etc.”  
Indeed, His mercies never fail: Heb. כִּי לֹא תָמְנוּ, like כִּי לֹא תָמוּ. And some explain: כִּי לֹא תָמְנוּ, [for we have not ended] like (Num. 17: 27): “Are we then altogether given (תָמְנוּ) to die?” It is [because of] the kindnesses of the Lord that we have not ended, that we have not perished because of our iniquities.  
23. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.   כג. חֲדָשִׁים לַבְּקָרִים רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ:
They are new every morning: Your kindnesses are renewed from day to day.  
great is Your faithfulness: Your promise is great, and it is a great thing to believe in You that You will fulfill and keep what You promised us.  
24. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul; "therefore I will hope in Him."   כד. חֶלְקִי יְהֹוָה אָמְרָה נַפְשִׁי עַל כֵּן אוֹחִיל לוֹ:
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul: The Lord is my portion; it is therefore proper that I should hope in Him.  
25. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him.   כה. טוֹב יְהֹוָה לְקֹוָו לְנֶפֶשׁ תִּדְרְשֶׁנּוּ:
26. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.   כו. טוֹב וְיָחִיל וְדוּמָם לִתְשׁוּעַת יְהֹוָה:
It is good that one should wait quietly: Heb. טוֹב וְיָחִיל וְדוּמָם. The “vav” of וְיָחִיל is superfluous like the “vav” of (Gen. 36: 24): “Ayyah (וְאַיָּה) and Anah.” It is good that a man wait and remain silent and hope for the Lord’s salvation.  
27. It is good for a man that he bear a yoke in his youth.   כז. טוֹב לַגֶּבֶר כִּי יִשָּׂא עֹל בִּנְעוּרָיו:
28. Let him sit solitary and wait, for He has laid [it] upon him.   כח. יֵשֵׁב בָּדָד וְיִדֹּם כִּי נָטַל עָלָיו:
Let him sit solitary: Whoever was befallen by mourning and trouble should sit solitary and hope for the best.  
and wait: Heb. וְיִדֹם, an expression of waiting, like (I Sam. 14:9): “If they say thus to us, Wait! (דֹמוּ)” about Jonathan.  
for He has laid [it] upon him: for the Lord of decrees has laid this decree upon him.  
29. Let him put his mouth into the dust; there may yet be hope.   כט. יִתֵּן בֶּעָפָר פִּיהוּ אוּלַי יֵשׁ תִּקְוָה:
30. Let him offer his cheek to his smiter; let him be filled with reproach.   ל. יִתֵּן לְמַכֵּהוּ לֶחִי יִשְׂבַּע בְּחֶרְפָּה:
31. For the Lord will not cast [him] off forever.   לא. כִּי לֹא יִזְנַח לְעוֹלָם אֲדֹנָי:
For the Lord will not cast [him] off forever: It is therefore good to wait.  
32. Though he cause grief, He will yet have compassion according to the abundance of His kindness.   לב. כִּי אִם הוֹגָה וְרִחַם כְּרֹב חֲסָדָו:
Though he cause grief: If a man brings grief upon himself because of his iniquity, afterwards-He will yet have compassion according to the abundance of His kindness. The words הוֹגָה וְיָגֶה are expressions of תּוּגָה, grief.  
33. For He does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of man.   לג. כִּי לֹא עִנָּה מִלִּבּוֹ וַיַּגֶּה בְּנֵי אִישׁ:
For He does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of man: from His heart and from His will, but the iniquity causes [it].  
34. [Or] crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth.   לד. לְדַכֵּא תַּחַת רַגְלָיו כֹּל אֲסִירֵי אָרֶץ:
[Or] crush under His feet: This refers back to, “For He does not willingly afflict to crush under His feet, etc., or pervert the righteous judgment of a man, or distort a man’s dispute, etc.” All these the Lord did not approve. He did not approve of them, and it did not enter His thoughts to do so.  
35. [Or] turn aside the right of a man in the presence of the Most High.   לה. לְהַטּוֹת מִשְׁפַּט גָּבֶר נֶגֶד פְּנֵי עֶלְיוֹן:
36. To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord does not approve.   לו. לְעַוֵּת (ע זעירא) אָדָם בְּרִיבוֹ אֲדֹנָי לֹא רָאָה:
does not approve: He does not approve that the heavenly tribunal should distort a person’s dispute, like (Gen. 20:10): “What did you see that you did, etc.”  
37. Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the Lord ordained it?   לז. מִי זֶה אָמַר וַתֶּהִי אֲדֹנָי לֹא צִוָּה:
38. [And] by the command of the Most High, neither good nor evil come.   לח. מִפִּי עֶלְיוֹן לֹא תֵצֵא הָרָעוֹת וְהַטּוֹב:
[And] by the command of the Most High, etc.: And if you attempt to say that this evil did not come to me from His hand, that it is happenstance that it has befallen me, this is not so, for both evil occurrences and good occurrences-who has commanded and they came to pass, unless the Lord ordained? And by His command both evil and good come. But “why should a living man complain? A man for his sins.” Every man should complain about his sins, because they are what bring the evil upon him. (  
By the command of the Most High, neither good nor evil come: Said Rabbi Johanan: Since the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, [Deut. 30:15]: “See, I have set before you today life and good, etc.,” neither evil nor good has come from His command, but the evil comes by itself to the one who commits evil and the good to the one who does good. [Lam. Rabbah].) Therefore, what should a man complain about, if not about his sins?  
39. Why should a living man complain? A man for his sins.   לט. מַה יִּתְאוֹנֵן אָדָם חָי גֶּבֶר עַל חֲטָאָו:
40. Let us search and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord.   מ. נַחְפְּשָׂה דְרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה וְנָשׁוּבָה עַד יְהֹוָה:
41. Let us lift up our hearts to our hands, to God in heaven.   מא. נִשָּׂא לְבָבֵנוּ אֶל כַּפָּיִם אֶל אֵל בַּשָּׁמָיִם:
Let us lift up our hearts to our hands: When we lift up our hands to heaven, let us also lift up our hearts with them, to return, to bring back our hearts before the Omnipresent, blessed be He. (Lam. Rabbah ms.). Another explanation:  
to our hands: to the clouds, to the heavens, as Scripture states (I Kings 18:44): “There is a cloud as small as a man’s palm, rising.” And similarly, (Job 36: 32): “Over the clouds (כַּפַּיִם) He covers the rain.” And [according to] the Midrash of our Sages: Let us lift up our hands sincerely to the Holy One, blessed be He, like one who washes his hands with cleanliness, who casts from his hands all contamination, for “he who confesses [his sins] and abandons [them] will obtain mercy, but he who confesses [his sins] but does not abandon [them] is like one who immerses himself while holding a [dead] reptile in his hand.”  
42. We have rebelled and have been disobedient; You have not forgiven.   מב. נַחְנוּ פָשַׁעְנוּ וּמָרִינוּ אַתָּה לֹא סָלָחְתָּ:
We have rebelled and have been disob edient: This is our way, [that we sinned] because of the evil inclination.  
You have not forgiven: And for You, forgiveness is fitting, for so is Your way.  
43. You have enveloped Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have slain without mercy.   מג. סַכּוֹתָה בָאַף וַתִּרְדְּפֵנוּ הָרַגְתָּ לֹא חָמָלְתָּ:
You have enveloped Yourself with anger: You set anger up to be a barrier between You and us, and You pursued us with it.  
44. You have enveloped Yourself in a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through.   מד. סַכֹּתָה בֶעָנָן לָךְ מֵעֲבוֹר תְּפִלָּה:
45. You make us as scum and refuse among the peoples.   מה. סְחִי וּמָאוֹס תְּשִׂימֵנוּ בְּקֶרֶב הָעַמִּים:
scum and refuse: That is נִיעַ in the language of the Mishnah (B. K. 3b), כִּיחו ֹוְנִיעוֹ, his phlegm and his mucus, which is drawn out from the lungs and emitted from the throat.  
You make us: This is in the present tense.  
46. All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us.   מו. פָּצוּ עָלֵינוּ פִּיהֶם כָּל אֹיְבֵינוּ:
47. We had terror and pitfalls, desolation and ruin.   מז. פַּחַד וָפַחַת הָיָה לָנוּ הַשֵּׁאת וְהַשָּׁבֶר:
We had terror and pitfalls: When we fled because of the terror, we fell into the pit.  
desolation: Heb. הַשֵׁאת, an expression of desolation (שְּׁאִיָה).  
48. My eyes shed torrents of water over the destruction of the daughter of my people.   מח. פַּלְגֵי מַיִם תֵּרַד עֵינִי עַל שֶׁבֶר בַּת עַמִּי:
49. My eye streams and is not silent, without respite.   מט. עֵינִי נִגְּרָה וְלֹא תִדְמֶה מֵאֵין הֲפֻגוֹת:
without respite: without change or cessation.  
50. Till the Lord looks down from the heavens and beholds.   נ. עַד יַשְׁקִיף וְיֵרֶא יְהֹוָה מִשָּׁמָיִם:
51. My eye sullies my soul more than all the daughters of my city.   נא. עֵינִי עוֹלְלָה לְנַפְשִׁי מִכֹּל בְּנוֹת עִירִי:
My eye sullies my soul more than all the daughters of my city: Jeremiah was from a priestly family, and he said, “My eye, with its tears, sullies my face over myself more than all the daughters of my city.”  
sullies: Heb. עוֹלְלָה, an expression of sullying, like (Job 16:15): “and sullied (וְעוֹלַלְתִּי) my radiance.”  
more than all the daughters of my city: My family has more to cry for than all the daughters of the city, for it was chosen for sanctity and for the service of the Holy One, blessed be He, over all Israel.  
52. My enemies have hunted me like a bird, without cause.   נב. צוֹד צָדוּנִי כַּצִּפֹּר אֹיְבַי חִנָּם:
53. They have confined my life in the dungeon and have cast a stone upon me.   נג. צָמְתוּ בַבּוֹר חַיָּי וַיַּדּוּ אֶבֶן בִּי:
They have confined my life in the dungeon: Heb. בַּבּוֹר, in prison.  
They have confined: Heb. צָמְתוּ, they bound, like the junction (צֹמֶת) of the sinews (Hul. 76a); (Song 4:1): “from within your kerchief (לְצַמָתֵ) ,” estreyture in Old French, restriction, tightening.  
and have cast a stone upon me: on the mouth of the dungeon. That is what they did to Daniel, and Jeremiah foresaw it with the holy spirit.  
They have confined my life in the dungeon: And although they confined my life in the dungeon so that I cannot ascend from within it, they did not pay attention to this until they cast a stone upon me.  
54. Water flowed over my head; I thought, "I am cut off."   נד. צָפוּ מַיִם עַל רֹאשִׁי אָמַרְתִּי נִגְזָרְתִּי:
Water flowed, etc.: When a person enters water up to his waist, he still has hope, but if the water flows over his head, he then says, “My hope is gone,” but I do not do this, for “I called, etc.”  
Water flowed: the heathens.  
55. I called on Your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit.   נה. קָרָאתִי שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה מִבּוֹר תַּחְתִּיּוֹת:
56. You did hear my voice; hide not Your ear from my sighing [or] from my crying.   נו. קוֹלִי שָׁמָעְתָּ אַל תַּעְלֵם אָזְנְךָ לְרַוְחָתִי לְשַׁוְעָתִי:
57. You did draw near when I called on You; You did say, "Do not fear."   נז. קָרַבְתָּ בְּיוֹם אֶקְרָאֶךָּ אָמַרְתָּ אַל תִּירָא:
You did draw near when I called on You: So were You accustomed in the early days to draw near to me on the day I called.  
58. You did plead my cause, O Lord; You did redeem my life.   נח. רַבְתָּ אֲדֹנָי רִיבֵי נַפְשִׁי גָּאַלְתָּ חַיָּי:
You did plead my cause: in days past.  
59. You have seen wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause.   נט. רָאִיתָה יְהֹוָה עַוָּתָתִי שָׁפְטָה מִשְׁפָּטִי:
You have seen wrong done to me, O Lord: In this trouble, that my enemies wronged me.  
judge my cause: as You have already done [in times past].  
60. You have seen all their [acts of] vengeance, all their devices against me.   ס. רָאִיתָה כָּל נִקְמָתָם כָּל מַחְשְׁבֹתָם לִי:
61. You have heard their insults, O Lord, all their plots against me.   סא. שָׁמַעְתָּ חֶרְפָּתָם יְהֹוָה כָּל מַחְשְׁבֹתָם עָלָי:
62. The utterances of my assailants and their thoughts are against me all day long.   סב. שִׂפְתֵי קָמַי וְהֶגְיוֹנָם עָלַי כָּל הַיּוֹם:
63. Behold their sitting down and their rising; I am their song [of derision].   סג. שִׁבְתָּם וְקִימָתָם הַבִּיטָה אֲנִי מַנְגִּינָתָם:
64. Requite them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands.   סד. תָּשִׁיב לָהֶם גְּמוּל יְהֹוָה כְּמַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם:
65. Give them a weakness of heart; may Your curse be upon them.   סה. תִּתֵּן לָהֶם מְגִנַּת לֵב תַּאֲלָתְךָ לָהֶם:
Give them a weakness of heart: Heb. מְגִנַת לֵב, a breaking of the heart, as Scripture says: (Hosea 11:8): “I shall break you (אֲמַגֶנְ) , O Israel” ; (Gen. 14:20): “who broke (מִגֵן) your adversaries in your hand.” Another explanation: מְגִנַתלֵב, stopping up of the heart, trouble and sighing, which are like a shield against the heart. But he who explains it as an expression of grief וְיָגוֹן) (תּוּגָה is in error, for there is no “nun” in this word, for the “nun” in יָגוֹן is not a radical, but is like the “nun” of הָמוֹן from the root of הָמוּ גוֹיִם and like קָלוֹן from the root of נִקְלֶה, and like the “nun” of צִיוֹן from the root of צִיָה and so the “nun” of שִּׁבְרוֹן from the root of שֶּׁבֶר (and like the “nun” of שִּׁגָעוֹן, שְּׁמָמוֹן. It appears to me that this is the correct reading, and this is easy to understand.)  
Your curse: An expression of (Isa. 19:13): נוֹאֲלוּ שָׂרֵי צֹעַן, “The princes of Zoan have become foolish.”  
66. Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord.   סו. תִּרְדֹּף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי יְהֹוָה:
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