One in Messiah Congregation
Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations I:51
What is the name of King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: His name is the Lord;
What is his name? he asked; and he answered, His name is "Comforter".What is his father's name? He answered, ' Hezekiah.' Where do they live? ' He answered, In Birath Arba (3) in Bethlehem of Judah.
(Lam. 134)The Rabbis say: [The weeping was] over the cessation of the levitical watches. What advantage, then, had the world from these watches? On Monday they fasted for the safety of those who were travelling by sea. On Tuesday they fasted for the safety of wayfarers. On Wednesday they fasted for the children that they should not be afflicted with croup and die. On Thursday they fasted for pregnant women that they should not miscarry and for nursing mothers that their children should not die.1 But is it not a fact that we may not fast for two objects at the same time2; as it is written, So we fasted and besought our God for this (Ezra VIII, 23),3 and a verse in Daniel declares, That they might ask mercy of the God of heaven concerning this secret (II, 18)--i.e. not for two secrets? The fact, however, is as R. Hiyya b. Abba said: For both the withholding of rain and the exile4 we may fast at one and the same time, but we may not fast on Friday or the Sabbath because of the honour of the Sabbath.
MINE EYE, MINE EYE RUNNETH DOWN WITH WATER. R. Levi said: It may be likened to a physician one of whose eyes was weak [and watered] and he said, ' MY eye weeps for my other eye. Similarly Israel is called the eye of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is said, For the Lord's is the eye of man and all the tribes of Israel (Zech. IX, 1). If it is possible to say so, the Holy One, blessed be He, said, Mine eye weeps for My other eye [i.e. Israel]. 5
BECAUSE THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME, EVEN HE THAT SHOULD REFRESH MY SOUL. What is the name of King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: His name ( Lam. 135) is the Lord; as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6).1 For R. Levi said: It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king, and the name of its king identical with that of its God. It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king, as it is written, And the name of the city from that day shall be the Lord is there (Ezek. XLVIII, 35).2 And the name of its king identical with that of its God, as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness. R. Joshua b. Levi said: His name is ' Shoot ; as it is stated, Behold, a man whose name is Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the temple of the Lord (Zech. VI, 12). R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: His name is Comforter; as it is said, THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME. R. Hanina said: They do not really differ, because the numerical value of the names is the same, so that ' Comforter ' is identical with ' Shoot .
The following story supports what R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: It happened that a man was ploughing, when one of his oxen lowed. An Arab passed by and asked, What are you? He answered, I am a Jew. He said to him, Unharness your ox and untie your plough [as a mark of m ourning]. ' Why? ' he asked. ' Because the Temple of the Jews is destroyed. He inquired, From where do you know this? He answered, I know it from the lowing of your ox. While he was conversing with him, the ox lowed again. The Arab said to him, Harness your ox and tie up your plough, because the deliverer of the Jews is born. What is his name? he asked; and he answered, is name is "Comforter". What is his father's name? He answered, ' Hezekiah. ' Where do they live? ' He answered, In Birath Arba3 in Bethlehem of Judah.
The man sold his oxen and plough and bought felt garments for children. He journeyed from one city to ( Lam. 136) another and from one province to another until he reached that place. All the villagers came to buy garments from him, but the mother of that child made no purchase of him. He asked her, Why do you not buy children's felt garments? She answered, ' Because a hard fate is in store for my child.1 Why? he asked; and she answered, Because close on his coming the Temple was destroyed. He said to her, We trust in the Lord of the Universe that as close on his coming it was destroyed so close on his coming it will be rebuilt. He continued, Take some of these felt garments for your child and after some days I will come to your house to collect the money. She took some and departed. After some days the man said, I will go and see how the child is getting on. He came to the woman and asked, ' How is the child? ' She answered, ' Did I not tell you that a hard fate is in store for him? Misfortune has dogged him.2 From the time [you left] there have been strong winds and a whirlwind came and carried him off. He said to her, ' Did I not tell you at his coming [the Temple] was destroyed and at his coming it will be rebuilt?3 R. Abun said: Why should I learn this from an Arab when there is an explicit text wherein it is stated, And Lebanon4 shall fall by a mighty one (Isa. X, 34), which is followed by, And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots (ib. XI, 1)?5
The school of R. Shila said : The Messiah's name is Shiloh, as it is stated, Until Shiloh come (Gen. XLIX, 10), where the word is spelt Shlh.6 The School of R. Hanina
(1) So Jastrow. The text is doubtful, and the Pal. Talmud has a different version. The tradition was that the Messiah would be born on the day that the Temple was destroyed.
(2) The text is uncertain.
(3) The fact that the storm carried him away was evidence that the child was to be used for a supernatural purpose.
(4) The Temple, v. p. 102.
(5) Which teaches that on the same day that the Lebanon (sc. the Temple) shall fall, there shall come forth a shoot, etc., sc. the Messiah.
(6) The point is not dear. The received text is actually vkha , not vka as the Midrash states. Following M.K. and E.J. the passage is to be explained thus: The School of R. Shila said: The Mesdah's name is ' Shilah ' (not ' Shiloh), as it is stated, Until Shiloh come, where the word is written Shilah ( vkha as emended), i.e. without a waw at the end, and so it may read, Shilah.