Thursday, July 27, 2006

איכה - Perkek 2 - 3 by David Farkas

2:12 - לְאִמֹּתָם, יֹאמְרוּ, אַיֵּה, דָּגָן וָיָיִן בְּהִתְעַטְּפָם כֶּחָלָל, בִּרְחֹבוֹת עִיר בהשתפך נפשם אל חיק אמתם

It seems a little strange that young children, crying out to their mothers, would ask for wine, rather than water.

3:6 -במחשכים הושיבני כמתי עולם

This phrasing – “they placed me in darkness” - is not just metaphoric, but rather quite literal. There is a pit in the city of David, just outside the Western Wall area, which contains a pit believed to be the one Jeremiah was thrown into. Even if not this exact pit, it was certainly one similar, and probably within a hundred foot radius as well, for the area, at least, is known. The pit is absolutely pitch -black. See also verse 53 - צמתו בבור חייו וידו אבן בי. As I explained in my notes to Jeremiah, some commentators understand that 30 men were needed to haul Jeremiah out of the pit because of the muck in the pit he was mired in.

3:30 - יתן למכהו לחי ישבע בחרפה

This is not to be confused with the Christian doctrine of “turn the other cheek”. That doctrine, so far as I can tell, was intended for all times and all seasons, whereas this was only meant for certain dark periods in Israel’s history. Our sages have said, in Berachos, that it is best not to start up with the wicked when they seem to be having success.

For a completely novel interpretation, see the Nachal Eshkol. He understands the verse to be giving advice concerning how to deal with those who would attack us. The best way, according to this understanding of the verse, is to deliberately allow yourself to be hit. This will then turn the desire of the attacker into a sense of shame, and he will thus desist. Whether this philosophy is correct or not, in light of the events of the 20th century, is open for question. In general, of course, the correct Jewish response to gentile aggression has always been debated, just as any country argues internally over the best response to foreign aggression. As others have pointed out, the stories of Chanukah and Purim indicate that sometimes military fighting is called for, sometimes prayer, and sometimes diplomacy. Of course, our forefather Jacob combined all three when preparing to confront Esau.


Anonymous said...

It seems from our situation now that the correct method is to continue pounding them - for with Hezbollah, there is no compomise.

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Anonymous said...

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