Cedars of Lebanon: God Laments
R. Simeon Ben Lakish said: God may be likened to a king who had two sons. He became enraged against the first of them, took a stick, and thrashed him so that he writhed in agony and died; and the father then began to lament over him. He later became enraged against the second son, took a stick, and thrashed him so that he writhed in agony and died; and the father then exclaimed, “No longer have I the strength to lament over them, so call for the mourning women and let them lament over them.”
Similarly the ten tribes were exiled, and He began to lament over them, Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel (Amos 5:1). But when Judah and Benjamin were exiled, the Holy One, blessed be He—if it is possible to say so–declared, “No longer have I the strength to lament over them.” Hence it is written, Call for the mourning women . . . and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for Us (Jer. 9:17 f.). It is not written here “for them,” but “for Us,” i.e. for Me and them. “That Our eyes may run down with tears”—it is not written here “that their eyes may run down with tears,” but “Our eyes,” i.e. Mine and theirs. It is not written here, “And their eyelids gush out with water,” but “Our eyelids,” i.e. Mine and theirs.
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