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Eikhah, Eichah / איכה / Lamentations of Yirmeyahu Chapter 1

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A special reading for Tisha B'Av that sets the tone for this tragic and mournful day

1:1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! [how] is she become as an almanah (widow)! she [that was] great among the Goyim, [and] sarah (princess) among the provinces, [how] is she become tributary (mas מס)!

1:2 She bakah (weepeth sore) in the night, and her tears [are] on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to nacham (comfort) [her]: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.

1:3 Yehudah is gone into golus (Exile) because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.

1:4 The derek (ways) of Tzyon do mourn, because none come to the solemn moedim: all her she'arim (gates) are shamem (desolate): her kohenim sigh, her betulot (virgins) are afflicted, and she [is] in marar (bitterness).

1:5 Her adversaries hayah (are) the chief, her enemies prosper; for YHWH (יהוה) hath afflicted her for the multitude of her pesha'im (transgressions): her children are halak (gone) into shabi (captivity) panim (before) the enemy.

1:6 Ve ye tze (and from) the bat Tzyon all her beauty is departed: her sarim (princes) are become like stag [that] find no pasture, and they are halak without strength before the pursuer.

1:7 Yerushalayim (ירוּשׁלם) zakar (remembered) in the yamin Oni (days of affliction) and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the mimei kedem (days of old), when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, [and] did mock at her mishbat (ruin משׁבּת).

1:8 Yerushalayim hath grievously chata (sinned); therefore she is nidah (uncleaned): all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her ervah (nakedness, expose): yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

1:9 Her tumah (filthiness)[is] in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no Menachem (comforter). O YHWH (יהוה), raah (see) my oni: for the enemy hath magnified [himself].

1:10 The adversary hath spread out his yad (hand) upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen [that] the heathen entered into her mikdash, whom thou didst command [that] they should not enter into thy kahal (assembly).

1:11 All (kol) her people sigh, they seek lechem; they have given their pleasant things for okel (food) to relieve the nefesh: see, O YHWH (יהוה), and consider; for(ki) I am become zalal (despised ).

The Cry (1:12-17)

1:12 [Is it] nothing (lo) to you, all ye that pass by? nabat (look), and raah (see) if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith YHWH (יהוה) hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger.

1:13 From above (mi marom) hath he sent fire into my etsem  (bones), and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath nathan (made) me shamem (desolate) [and] faint all the day.

1:14 The yoke (עול) of my pesha'im (transgressions) is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, [and] come up upon my tzavar (neck): he hath made my strength to fall, *YHWH (יהוה) hath nathan (delivered) me into [their] hands, [from whom] I am not able to rise up.

1:15 *YHWH (יהוה) hath salah (rejected) all my strong [men] in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: *YHWH (יהוה) hath darak (trodden) betulah, bat Yehudah, [as] in a winepress.

1:16 For these [things] I weep; mine ayin (eye), mine eye runneth down with water, because the Menachem (comforter) that should relieve my nefesh is far from me: my children are shamem (desolate), because the enemy prevailed.

1:17 Tzyon spreadeth paras (forth) her hands, [and there is] none to nacham (comfort) her: YHWH (יהוה) hath commanded concerning Yaakov, [that] his adversaries [should be] round about him: Yerushalayim (ירוּשׁלם) is as a niddah (menstruous) woman among them.

The Confession (1:18,19)

1:18 YHWH (יהוה) is Tzaddik; for I have rebelled against His commandment: shema, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my betulot (virgins) and my young men are gone into Golus (Exile).

1:19 Kara tilam (I called for) my ahev( lovers), [but] they deceived me: my kohenim and mine zekenim breathed his last in the city, while they sought their okel (food) to relieve their nefashot.

The tefillah (1:20-22)

1:20 Raah (see), O YHWH (יהוה); for I [am] in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the cherev bereaveth, at home [there is] as death.

1:21 They have shema (heard) that I sigh: [there is] none to nacham (comfort) me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done [it]: thou wilt bring Yom Karata (the Day that Thou has proclaimed), and they shall be like unto me.

1:22 Tavo kol (Let all) their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my pesha'im (transgressions): for my sighs [are] many, and my heart [is] faint.

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Learn Hebrew Alphabet and pronounciation

* Masoretic text  "Adonay" originally read YHWH

 Author : Yirmeyahu

Themes of this Book: Mourning for Yerushalayim

Date of writing: 6th Century B.C

Destruction of Yerushalayim:

Lamentations  was originally part of the scroll of Yirmeyahu. It was later isolated because it was read publicly at one of the chag Yisrael and it was included as one the five Megillah. The scroll of Lamentation is a sad funeral song for the great capital city of the Yehudim. The Mikdash has been destroyed, the king is gone, and the people are in exile. HaShem had warned that He would destroy them if they abandoned Him. The people then realize their condition and confess their sins.

Fast in commemoration of the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temple. Torah reading:- sefer Lamentation, Devarim 4:25-40; Yirmeyahu 8:13-9:24; Matt 24:1-2; Zechariah 8;19 On the eve of Tisha Be'av, Jews read from the sefer Eikhah (Lamentations), a work of mourning for a fallen Yerushalayim ascribed to Yirmeyahu.

Notice that the scroll of Lamentations are in Hebrew alphabetical order,

The synagogue services on Tisha B'av the room where the evening service is held often has its lights dimmed, and candles are lit. The prayers are spoken rather than chanted with melody. The reading of the Book of Lamentations is chanted using special musical notations that create a tone of weeping and mourning.

The Book of Lamentations is an intricate set of dirges and descriptions of Jerusalem under siege and of the destruction of the First Temple. The elegy bewails Jerusalem, once teeming with life and now sitting abandoned and alone like a solitary widow. It captures the horror of the siege: children pleading for water and bread in vain; cannibalism on the part of hunger-maddened mothers ("those who died by the sword were better off than those who perished by hunger"); nobles hanged; women raped; priests defiled.

Bein Hametzarim - "Between the Straits"

The three weeks from the 17th of Tammuz until the 9th of Av are known in Israel as Bein Hametzarim - "Between the Straits". So called in the Book of Lamentations, this period, from ancient history into modern times, has seen tragic events occur within the land of Israel and to her people worldwide. Disobedience and Despair, Pogroms and War, Hatred and the Holocaust; the destruction of the Temples and Jerusalem, with the exile of her people - at the hand of Israel's enemies.

History of the 9th of AV  

In 586 B.C

The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity began.

In 70 A.D

The Second Temple that which was standing during Messiah’s ministry was destroyed by the Romans, precisely predicted in Luke 19.

In 135 A.D

The famous Bar Kokhba revolt was squelched when Bethar, the last Jewish stronghold, fell to the Romans.

In 136 A.D

The Roman Emperor Hadrian established the heathen temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jewish Temple. Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city, and renamed the land as Palestina, to distance its Jewish heritage.(This attempt to disavow the land from its Jewish roots was echoed by the British in their labeling the land “Palestine”)

In 1095

The declaration of the Crusades by Pope Urban II

In 1290

The signing of the edict by King Edward 1 expelling the Jews from England

In 1492

On 31st March 1942 the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella issued a royal decree that all Jews must leave the Spanish territories. The deadline was set for August 3rd of that year. If any Jews were found in Spain after this period they were be killed. On Jewish calendar it was the 9th of AV.

In 1914

The start of the World War 1.

In 1942

The first killings at the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland

In 1994

The AMIA bombing by Arab terrorists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 86 and wounded more than 120

In 2005

The beginning of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip. All 21 Gaza settlements were evacuated along with 4 of the 120 settlements in the West Bank approximately 9000 Jewish settlers were made to leave their homes.

In 2006

Israel was embroiled with its war with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Tisha b’Av is indeed a day of mourning. It is marked with sadness and fasting. On this day we are reminded of their tragic history. Yet we will also be looking forward, toward the ultimate rebuilding of the Temple, to a time when the 9th of Av will become a day of joy and gladness as Zechariah 8:19:

This word of Adonai-Tzva’ot came to me: “Adonai-Tzva’ot says, ‘The fast days of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months are to become times of joy, gladness and cheer for the house of  Y’hudah (Judah). Therefore, love truth and peace.’

More article about Tish B'av

During the first twelve days the following practices are observed:

    * The  Jewish People do not perform weddings during this time.

    * The  Jewish People do not make the blessing shehechyanu during this time. This blessing is made upon purchasing a new garment or eating a new fruit (i.e. fruit which has just come in season). Therefore The  Jewish People do not purchase new clothing during this time and, if possible, The  Jewish People do not eat new fruits.

    * The  Jewish People do not shave or get a haircut during this time.

    * The  Jewish People do not listen to music during this time. 

During the final nine days The  Jewish People continue to follow these restrictions in addition to which they add the following practices:

    * The  Jewish People do not eat meat or drink wine except on Shabbat.

    * The  Jewish People do not do construction whose primary purpose is pleasure (such as building a swimming pool) or aesthetic (such as painting).

    * The  Jewish People do not bathe during this period (except for Friday in honor of Shabbat).

    * The  Jewish People do not launder clothing during this period nor do they wear fresh clothing (except for Shabbat).

    * The  Jewish People do not trim our fingernails during this period. 

One verse beginning with each letter,

 except in chapter 3 where each letter is assigned 3 verses in a row starting with the same letter

Chapter 5 has the name number of verses as the Hebrew alphabet but not in acrostic form

The road to Renewal:

Sin ====> Suffering (1:8) | Sorrow======> Repentance (1:20) | tefillah =======> Hope (3;19-24) | Faith =======>Restoration (5:21)\


1. The Awful Desolation of Yerushalayim (1;11)

2. The Sad cry, confession, and tefillah of the people (1:12-22)

    A. The Cry (1:12-17)

    B. The Confession (1:18,19)

    C. The tefillah (1:20-22)

 3. Hashem seen as the one who punished Yerushalayim (chap 2)

    A. The effects of Hashem's wrath (2:1-13)

    B. The cause of HaShem's wrath - the false Navis' failure to warn the peopple (2:14)

    C. The riducule of the onlookers (2:15,16)

    D. The fulfillmentment of Hashem's threats (2:17)

    E. The call to teshuvah (2:18,19)

    F. The tefillah of HaShem's Mercy (2:20-22)

4.  Ha Navi voices  the sorrow and confession of the remnant (chap 3)

    A. The judgments of HaShem (3:1-18)

    B. The mercies of Hashem (3:19-39)

    C. The call for Spiritual Renewal (3:40-42)

    D. The Sorrow of Yermeyahu over Yerushalayim (3:43-51)

    E. The Navi's tefillah for deliverance from His foes (4:1-20)

5. The future prospect - Edom to be destroyed and Yehudah restored (4:21,22)

6. The remnant appeals to Hashem for mercy and restoration (chap 5)