This week we will read the word איכה three times. The first time is in the parsah איכה אשא לבדי. The second time is in the Haftorah איכה היתה לזונה. The third time is the first passuk of Megillas Aicha איכה ישבה בדד . Let us examine this word as it appears to be the theme of the Three Weeks and Tisha B’av.
The first instance that the spelling of this word with a different pronunciation is mentioned in the Torah is by the chait of Adam Harishon upon where Hashem asked Adam after eating from the Aitz Hadaas איכה (Ayekah) where are you? These two words share the same spelling and therefore they share a common message. When one loses tremendous levels from his former spirituality and loftiness as in the case of Adam Harishon after his chait which is hinted in Hashem’s inquiry Ayekah, the natural reactions are lamentation and mourning alluded in the word Aichah.
However, there let us suggest another interpretation to the relationship of Ayekah and Aicha. Adam’s reaction to his colossal fallout from Hashem was all included in one word איך which translates How. When Adam experienced his spiritual loss, he reacted with the word or feeling that denote disbelief; How did this tragedy befall Me? How could Hashem have given me a wife that deceived me into eating from the forbidden fruit? Proof that he was thinking in this manner can be derived from what he explicitly claimed to Hashem concerning his aveirah. Instead of blaming himself, he deflected the fault to both his wife and Hashem for gifting him with her. האשה אשר נתת עמדי היא נתנה לי מן העץ ואוכל. Chavah also shirked her responsibility for her failure by blaming the Nachash הנחש השיאני. Underlying her words of excuse lay also blame on Hashem for placing the evil Nachash in Gan Eden in her surroundings in order to seduce her. How could it be that Hashem did this to me?
We see that it is the reaction of the weak believer in Hashem concerning his or her personal losses whether it be lives, finance, relationships, physical, is to ask איך How did Hashem let this happen to me? How could Hashem have allowed this tragedy to occur with an innocent baby or a tzadik? How did Hashem abandon His people during the Churban, the Inquisitions, the pogroms, the Crusades, the Shoah, the Covid 19 etc. In actuality, by questioning איך, one manifests his doubts in the reliability of Hashem’s Postal Service. For obviously according to your “How” inquiry, Hashem must have sent the “loss” package to the wrong address.
איכה is gematriah “לו” to him. Rather than confess fault one seeks a “him” to focus on who will serve as a scapegoat on whom to pin the blame.
To such claims of Man which harbor shortcomings in emunah, Hashem responds with the word Aicha and Ayekah both of which include your word of disbelief איך. Hashem reacts with an Ayekah “Where are you?” as He did with Adam. What is your contribution to the terrible loss and destruction? Do you have any share in the responsibility of the tragedy? Your How question which relays the message of your unaccountability deserves nothing else but a Howl which translates as; an utter of a long, loud, prolonged mournful cry. In other words a Howl is an איכה. One’s response of איך to the tragedy is a pitiful reaction, for by this expression of self exoneration is deserving of a Howl and איכה far greater than the tragedy itself. As long as there is someone else to blame, one’s teshuvah and tikkun will not come to fruition.
איכה ישבה בדד How did she sit alone? Aicha – Ayekah where are you? Failing to take responsibility for one’s role in the Churban is tantamount for the destroyed Beis Hamikdash and Yerushalayim to sit shivah mourning all alone. Am Yisrael did not accept that they possessed a personal churban that had a hand in the Churban HaMikdash. בדד is the acronym of (Mishlei 3,6) בכל דרכיך דעהו. The generation felt that they were righteous and there was no need to sit shiva and repent for their own shortcomings. Therefore the passuk is also asking where are you? How come you let Yerushalayim sit shiva by itself and you don’t join her?
By removing the word איך from איכה we will dismantle the necessity of further איכה. We will replace the letters of איך with its gematriah of אל 31 which refers to passuk (Tehillim 52,3) .חסד אל כל היום This Tisha B’av let’s mourn over the Churban Beis Hamikdash by removing the How from the Howl by realizing that we are the ones accountable and to blame for destroying it in the first place, and we are the ones accountable for still not yet meriting to have it built by now.