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    The double “Nachamu”

    The name Shabbat Nachamu derives from the opening words of the haftarah, Nachamu nachamu ammi – “Comfort, O comfort My people” (Isa. 40:1).

    Many people think these words are addressed to the Israelite nation, who are being told, “Be comforted, be comforted, O My people”. But the fact is that the call is not to the people but to the prophets (a point made by Rashi), who are being commanded to console the people after the calamity of losing the Temple.

    There are two problems even so. Which prophets are being addressed? Why does the word Nachamu come twice?

    The plural command calls upon the entire corps of prophets, not to just one prophet. The doubling of Nachamu indicates a double tragedy, the destruction of both the first and the second Temple.

    The consolation is the promise that a third Temple will be erected in messianic times (Haggai 2:9).

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