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In the parashah of Devarim, the Torah speaks of Moses' last speeches.

A critical discourse, sheathed in dialogues and admonitions, which registers an explanatory and even preventive tone. According to biblical commentators, it took eleven days for Moses to "speak" all these things to the children of Israel, who were to fulfill the Divine mandate to inherit the land.

These are the "words" with which Moses begins a journey through the spiritual history of his people, whom he loves, whom he reproves...

The Hebrew calendar makes this parashah - "Ele ha-Debarim" - coincide with the Shabbat that precedes the sad date of "Tisha be-Av", the fast of the 9th of Av, the day of the destruction of the Temple. This Shabbat has been called "Shabbat Chazon" that is, the "Shabbat of the Prophetic Vision", in allusion to the Haftarah that we read in the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 1, which begins with the expression: "Chazon Yeshayah ben Amotz" - "Prophetic Vision of Isaiah" and which describes the perverse reality of the Hebrew society at the time of the destruction of the First Temple. And we ask ourselves: Why this choice?

The Torah reading of the present Shabbat, contains a verse that begins with an expression that is reiterated in the reading of the Haftarah in Isaiah Chapter 1. Both contain the term "Eichah" - "How is it that...". This term also begins the book of Eichah (Lamentations, by the prophet Jeremiah) written after the destruction of the Temple: "...How is it that (Eichah) was left alone, the city so inhabited...".

How to explain this "triple" "Eichah"? Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Thus Moshe who saw the people of Israel in all their splendor and in quietness, expressed, "How is it that (Eichah) I alone should bear your needs and your burden?" The prophet Isaiah who witnessed the people's evil course, cries out (Ch. 1:21), "How is it that (Eijah) the faithful city has become a harlot!" Jeremiah, who witnessed her denigration and humiliation, exclaims in dismay: "How is it that (Eijah) the city that was full of people is sitting alone?".

On that night, in the sadly famous episode of the twelve spies, is when the word "Eichah" begins to "weave"... A sort of historical weakness, which tells us about the lack of Faith, Trust, and Fidelity.

"Eichah" confronts us with three epochs, it questions us more than three questions; let us hope that it generates in us more than three answers.

With pain and reflection, we receive this Shabbat. Let us await the next Shabbat - "Of Comfort" - moved by hope and deep faith... "That on the day of destruction the Mashiach was born".

Translated with (free version)


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