The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void
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. This essay illustrates how the midrash fills the void of the biblical text, using the book 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 of Tisha B’Av we share Dr. Yael Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void.” This essay will appear in TRADITION’s forthcoming Summer 2020 issue. We had hoped to have it in subscribers’ mailboxes before Tisha B’Av, but COVID-related production delays have prevented that (look for the new issue in about two weeks).
[Published July 27, 2020]