The book of Eikha describes the destruction of Jerusalem without providing consolation, clear theological explanations, or guidelines for national rehabilitation. Instead, it presents an evocative and painful account of suffering. Eikha Rabba, a compendium of midrashic readings of Eikha written hundreds of years later, supplements the biblical book by supplying that which Eikha lacks. Dr. Yael Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void” illustrates how the rabbinic imagination and interpretation filled in the gaps of the biblical text, using the book itself to extract messages that comfort, invigorate, and imbue the nation with hope in the future. Hazal override Eikha’s primary message in a bid to offer Israel guidance and inspiration in coping with suffering.
Certain that this will provide a meaningful read this week leading up to Tisha B’Av we share Dr. Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void.” This essay originally appeared in TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue and has now been collected in her recently published Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World (Maggid Books).