Megillas Eichah

I was planning to post this D’var Torah for Shabbos Chazon, but was kept from doing so by a technical problem with my server. I present here an excerpt from the Maggid’s commentary on Megillas Eichah. In Eichah 3:39 it is written: “Over what shall a living man mourn? A bold man – over his losses” (here, in line with the Maggid’s commentary, I am rendering חטאיו as losses rather than as sins, cf. Melachim Alef 1:21 – “And I and my son Shlomo will be disentitled (חטאים).”) The Maggid interprets the verse as an exhortation to the individual not to separate himself from the community, but rather to mourn their troubles at all times. A person should mourn even when his neighbors suffer a misfortune that does not affect him at all. He should worry that the cup of misfortune may later pass on to him as well.
The Maggid brings out the point through a parable about patients visiting a doctor’s office. As we know, when a doctor approaches a patient to give him some bitter medicine to drink, the patient naturally tends to become frightened and upset. The Maggid’s parable involves a scenario where several patients were waiting together in a doctor’s office. The doctor brought out a large container filled with medicine and set it down in front of one of the patients. The patient was very distressed because he thought that the whole container was just for him. Meanwhile, the other patients were not frightened at all, because they thought the same. The doctor said to them: “What are all of you thinking? Do you really believe that this patient will drink the whole thing and you will not take the slightest sip? Not so! Each will drink his portion.”
The parallel is clear. When trouble strikes some of the people, the rest should not feel smug and say, “We will have peace.” Instead they should worry that eventually the cup of misfortune might – God forbid – pass on to them also. A person should always be concerned when misfortune strikes his neighbor. In this vein, we can read the verse as asking the following rhetorical question: ““Over what shall a living man mourn? A bold man – over his own losses alone?” A person should not lament only over his own troubles. It is better for all of us to join together to plead for mercy, each for his fellow. Then we all will be given a remedy for our troubles together.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.