“How [‘eikhah] can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden and the bickering!” — Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:12 (JPS translation)
Alter notes the unusual use of “the elongated form ‘eikhah, which often marks the beginning of laments” — instead of the simpler ‘eikh here. Plaut (The Torah: A Modern Commentary) lists two prophecies, in addition to this verse, begin with this elongated form:
“How has the faithful city become a harlot” — Isaiah 1:21
“How does the city sit solitary” — Lamentations 1:1
The Sages connected all three ‘hows’ by bringing them into liturgical relationship with one another. They arranged the Book of Lamentations, which deals with the destruction of the Temple, to be read on the 9th of Av, and the passages from Deuteronomy and Isaiah to be the scriptural readings for the Sabbath before Tishah b’Av.
— Gleanings for Deuteronomy/Devarim 1
The Haftarah (prophetic) reading for the first portion of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Isaiah 1:1-27. It is one of three “haftarot of affliction” which are read before fast day of Tisha B’av. The first of these is Jeremiah 1:1-2:3. The second is Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4 and 4:1-2.
Seven haftarot of consolation follow the fast day and lead up to Rosh Hashanah:
Isaiah 49-14 – 51:13
Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5
Isaiah 51:12 – 52:12
Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9.
See Source Materials for Alter, JPS and Plaut citations.
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