27 July 2007

Take Two

Nachamu, nachamu ami is the beginning of the Haftora for Shabbos Vaeschonan.
This follows the three weeks of “puruniyus” – retribution that culminate on the 9th of Av on the one hand and the beginning of the seven weeks of “nechoma” – comforting on the other.

The expression “Nachamu, nachanu ami” is somewhat puzzling since it twice mentions the words “be comforted” as if once is not enough. Midrash and other sources address this by indicating that the doubling of these words refers to the two Temples and their destruction, two levels associated with each Temple, the physical and the spiritual, the performance of the commandments, etc. But if we were to follow that logic, the wording should be “Nachanu ami, nachamu ami” as opposed to the just simply “Nachamu, nachamu ami”, i.e. Ami – My people, should also be mentioned twice!

One way to resolve this is to consider the idea that “Nachamu, nachamu ami” is tied to each and every Jew since each one is composed of two entities: body and soul who are often at loggerheads with each other, the body wants to pursue the material angle on existence whereas the soul is obviously tied to things outside the physical realm and therefore views existence completely differently. Yet, paradoxically, the ultimate goal is to harness the power that each of these two entities possess to arrive at a level that’s not achievable by either one on its own. Therefore the posuk states “Nachamu, nachanu ami” to contribute a double portion of comforting to these two powers to help them achieve balance and perfection which would then bring about the fulfillment of Build for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within you, i.e. the building of a mini-Temple inside every Jew which would lead to the building of the ultimate Third Temple, ASAP.

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