On the first Shabbos following Tish’ah B’Av, we read the first of the seven special haftaros of nechamah, giving klal Yisrael comfort after our period of mourning. The haftaros tell of the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, which gives us hope that although we have suffered a great loss, there will be a time when the mourning comes to an end.

This week’s haftarah starts with “Nachamu nachamu ami, yomar Elokeichem” – “Comfort, comfort my people, says your G-d.” Why does it say “comfort” twice? Rabbi Ya’aqob Menashe zt”l explains this beautifully. HeChacham Yosef Chayim a”h, quoting the Shaar HaMelech, says that when the Jewish people were keeping all the mitzvos and the Beis HaMikdash (Temple) was standing, G-d was “Rachum v’Chanun” (Merciful and Compassionate). At that time, “charon af” (wrath) did not exist in the world. In Eichah (1:12), the word “wrath” is mentioned in connection with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.

This caused the following to happen: The words rachum and chanun became split in the middle, and the halves of each word joined the halves of the other word. As such, the reish-ches of rachum (inverted) joined with the vav-nun of chanun to form the word charon (wrath). The remaining letters of the two words (nun-ches and mem-vav) together form the word “nachamu” (comfort).

Rabbi Ya’aqob Menashe explains that, based on this, it would seem that we can interpret the pasuk (verse) as saying: Be comforted by the letters “Nachamu,” which will return back to “Rachum v’Chanun,” at which time “wrath” will be removed from the world (www.ATorahMinute.com).

May we, in the z’chus of our t’shuvah, see the redemption, the coming of Mashiach, and the rebuilding of Yerushalayim bimheirah b’yameinu!

Rabbi Ya’aqob Menashe passed away earlier this week. Rabbi Yaakov Eliyahu Menashe ben Abdallah Faraj Hayyim (and Rachel) was a talmid chacham with broad and deep knowledge in Torah and halachah. May his family find comfort, and his neshamah should have an aliyah. May he be a meilitz yosher for his family and all of klal Yisrael.