This week we read the Haftorah of Nachamu, consolation to the Jewish People after suffering the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh and the exile. Prior to this prophecy of consolation, Yeshayahu Hanovi informed the king Chizkiahu that whatever wealth his forefathers had accumulated would be carried off to Babylonia. Furthermore, some of his own children would be taken captive and become officers in the palace of the king of Babylonia.

The Radak notes that until this point the prophecies of Yeshayahu spoke of retribution and destruction. The remaining prophecies speak of consolation and the Messianic Era. Thus, the words of nachamu nachamu ami,—comfort, comfort My people, serve as the divider between the two forms of prophecy. This is essentially a reflection of Jewish history. On Tisha Ba‘av we are in a state of mourning and a few days later we celebrate the Fifteenth day of Av, a day when many joyful events occurred in Jewish history (See Taanis 30b).

Similarly, all week we struggle with earning a livelihood and we face the challenges from the Evil Inclination and the nations of the world. On Shabbos, however, we are granted consolation from all of our trials and tribulations.

In the passage of retzei, in Birchas Hamazon on ncluded a ceremonial breaking of the axes, which gave the day its name.

Shabbos, we say the words uvirtzoncha haniach lanu Hashem Elokeinu shelo sihay tzarah yagon vaanacha beyom menuchaseinu,—may it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d, that there be no distress, grief, or lament on this day of our contentment.

Then we recite the words vihareinu Hashem Elokeinu binechemas Tziyon irecho uvivinyan Yerushalayim ir kodshecha ki atah baal hayeshuos uvaal hanechamos,—and show us, Hashem, our G-d, the consolation of Zion, Your city, and the rebuilding of Yerushalayim, City of Your holiness, for You are the Master of salvations and Master of consolations.

The analogy is obvious. We request that we do not experience any distress, grief or lament on the Holy Day of Shabbos. We then further beseech Hashem to show us the consolation of Tziyon and the rebuilding of Yerushalayim. We are declaring that just like every week we are granted respite from our troubles when the Holy Shabbos arrives, so too shall we witness the consolation of Tziyon and the rebuilding of Yerushalayim. In the merit of observing Shabbos faithfully, may Hashem show us the consolation of Tziyon, His city, and the rebuilding of Yerushalayim, City of His holiness, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.


(Shabbos Taam Hachaim)