The Seven Weeks of Consolation

For seven weeks, beginning with the Shabbat after the Ninth of Av (Tishah BAv), the haftarah readings consist of prophecies describing how HaShem consoles His people.

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Following the reading of the weekly Torah portion each Shabbat, a selection from the Prophets, called the haftarah, is read in the synagogue. Usually, the content of the haftarah corresponds to the topic of the weekly Torah reading. However, there are weeks when the haftarah reflects the events connected with the time of the year. Such is the case during the last ten weeks of the year, when ten special haftarot are read:

  • The first three are called the « Three haftarot of Rebuke ». They are read during “The Three Weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha BeAv.
  • The following seven are called the « Seven haftarot of Consolation ». The first such haftara is read on the Shabbat after the Ninth of Av (Tishah BAv).

The first Haftorah of these Shabbasos begins with the words: “Nachamu, Nachamu” (“Take comfort, take comfort”), repeating the consolation twice. This sets the tone for all the Shabbasos that follow and they also are a twofold consolation.

 

From the Rebbe’s explanation:

– This week’s Haftorah begins « Nachamu, Nachamu » and reflects a twofold (‘kiflayim’) comforting for a twofold loss (the destruction of the First and Second Batei HaMikdash). This will come through the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash in the time of the Redemption.

The consolation offered by Shabbos Nachamu is twofold, since the concept of repetition is connected with the Redemption. And so it says in « Eicha Rabba »:

“They sinned in a twofold manner (‘kiflayim’), as it is written: “Jerusalem has committed a sin (het hata)” (« Megillat Eicha » 1:8). They were punished in a twofold manner (‘kiflayim’), as it is written: “For it has received from the hand of the Lord double for all its sins” (« Yeshayahu » 40:2). They are comforted in a twofold manner (‘kiflayim’), as it is written: “Comfort, comfort [nahamu nahamu] My people” (Isaiah 40:1)”. (Midrash “Eicha Rabbah”, end of Chapter 1)

See more in the Rebbe’s talk on Chapter “Vaeschanan”, 5751/1991.

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