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  • Sarah Brody

Words of Chizuk from Mrs. Shifrah Rabenstein

We are about to embark on a series of הפטרות which we refer to as the שבעה דנחמתא. We are introduced to this set of הפטרות by the one we read first and the one that is, arguably, most famous: נחמו נחמו.

The commentators try to make sense of the double language expression used here. As is often the case when presented with double language, some explain that the word is repeated to give emphasis and strength. Rav Baruch Sorotzkin, Ztl, in the רנת יצחק, offers an alternate, explanation.

Think for a moment about any difficult or painful experience that a person undergoes. When it ends, there is comfort in it being over. When an ill person is healed, there is comfort in no longer being ill. When an infertile woman is blessed with a child, there is comfort in no longer struggling with infertility. When a single woman gets married, there is comfort in no longer being single. There is, though, another level of comfort possible. If a person knows that, not only did the suffering end, but that there was purpose and reason in the suffering that was experienced, it adds another layer of comfort. Rav Sorotzkin explains that the double term, נחמו נחמו, refers to these two levels of comfort. Yes, the נביא in encouraging us by foretelling the end of גלות, the coming of משיח, and the rebuilding of the בית המקדש. That is represented by the first "נחמו." There is, however, another message embedded in the words of the נביא. The נביא is also communicating to us that all the suffering of כלל ישראל was and is for a reason. It is taking us somewhere. There is nothing more upsetting than suffering for no reason. With the second "נחמו," the נביא is encouraging us with the knowledge that there will come a time when we will understand how all the pieces fit in.

There will come a time when we will understand how all of the suffering of כלל ישראל was necessary in the blossoming of גאולה and the blossoming of כלל ישראל. There was purpose and importance in our experience. May we soon experience both נחמו and נחמו.


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