And it was on the eighth day: Rabbi Tanchuma, Rabbi Chiya, Rabbah and Rabbi Berakhiya in the name of Rabbi Elazar [all] said, "Any place that it is stated, 'and it was (vayehi),' it is nothing but a term of grief [hinting to the sound, (vay), meaning woe]." Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Natan, "This midrash came up to our hands from the exile - 'Any place that it is stated, "and it was in the days of," it is nothing but a term of grief.'" And there are five: (1) "And it was in the days of Amrafel" (Genesis 14:1). What grief was there over there? They made a war to kill Avraham, our father, as it is stated (Genesis 14:2), "made war." [It is comparable] to a dear friend of a king who entered a province, and on his account was the king [concerned] about that whole province. [Then people] came and grappled with him with words. And when he wanted to leave, they all said to him, "Woe that the king will no longer be concerned about the province as he was." So [too,] was Avraham a dear friend of the Holy One, blessed be He - as it is written about him (Isaiah 41:8), "the seed of Avraham, My dear one"; and it is written (Genesis 12:3), "and through you shall all the families of the world be blessed." And when the kings came and grappled with him, they all said, "Woe that the Holy One, blessed be He, will not be concerned with the world as He was; since He was concerned with the world for his sake." This is [the meaning of] that which the verse stated (Genesis 14:7), "And they came to Ein Mishpat (which can be understand as the eye of justice)" - Rabbi Acha said, "They sought to grapple with no less than the eyeball of the world." They said, "They sought to blind the eye that [suppressed] the trait of [strict] judgment in the world." [The verse continues -] "It (hee) is Kadesh," [but] it is written, "he (hu) is Kadesh"; meaning to say, he sanctified (hu kidesh) the name of the Holy One, blessed be He and went down to the fiery furnace. When they saw that the things were like this, they cried out. (2) "And it was in the days of Achaz the son of Yoshiah, King of Yehudah" (Isaiah 7:1). What grief was there over there? "It is what is stated by the verse (Isaiah 9:11), "Aram is in front and the Philistines are behind, etc." [It is comparable] to a king that gave his son over to a mentor, and the mentor hated him. He said, "If I kill him, I will become liable for death. Rather, I will take away his nourishment from him and he will die on his own." So did the evil Achaz say, "If there are no goats, there will be no rams; if there is no flock, there will be no shepherd, [and] where will the world be?" So did he say, "If there are no masters, there will be no students; if there are no students, there will be no sages; if there is no Torah, there will be no synagogues and study halls." What did he do? He passed all the synagogues and study halls and sealed them. And this [is the meaning of] that which the verse states (Isaiah 8:16), "Bind up the message; seal the instruction with My disciples." And when they saw that the things were like this, they all started to cry out, "Woe that the world is being destroyed" - when [study of] the Torah was negated, that was in the days of Achaz. (3) "And it was in the days of Yehoyakim the son of Yoshiyahu" (Jeremiah 1:3). What grief was there over there? "I looked at the earth, and behold it was empty and void; at the heavens and their light was not" (Jeremiah 4:23), [It is comparable] to edicts of the kings that were brought to the provinces of the kingdom. In each and every province, when it came to their hands, everyone would stand on their feet, uncover their heads and read them with fear, trembling and perspiration. But when they were brought to the province of the king, they tore them up and burned them: When the Holy One, blessed be He, sends His messenger to the nations of the world, they repent, cover themselves in sackcloth and fast - as did the people of Nineveh, as it is stated (Jonah 3:7), "from the order of the king and his principals, etc." They, may their memory be blessed, said, "One who had a beam or a stone that was stolen in his house would destroy the house and remove it and return the theft." And because of this did Yonah fear to prophesy to Nineveh. As Rabbi Tarfon said, "The fish was designated, etc." And the nations of the world are afraid in front of the Holy One, blessed be He, and [so, they are] close to repentance, whereas Israel is stiff-necked. This is what the verse stated (Jeremiah 36:23), "And it was when Yehudi would read three columns or four" - meaning to say, he read four verses - and in the fifth verse, he read, "And her tormentors became the head" (Lamentations 1:5) - and it is is written (Jeremiah 36:23), "he would tear it with a scribe's blade and throw it into the fire until the end of all of the scroll." And when they saw this, everyone began to cry out, "Woe for the decree that is hanging over us." And the other (4) - "And it was in the days of Achashverosh" (Esther 1:1). What grief was there over there? [It is comparable] to a king that had a vineyard, and he had three enemies. What did they do? One cut the small berries, the second ripped the clusters and the third uprooted the vines: The king is King of the kings of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He; His vineyard is Israel, as it is stated (Isaiah 5:7), "For a vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the House of Israel"; [And] their three enemies are Pharaoh, Nevukhadnetsar and Haman. Pharaoh began with the small berries, as it is stated (Exodus 1:22), "Any son that is born, throw him into the river." Nevukhadnetsar ripped the clusters, as it is stated (Jeremiah 29:2), "the craftsmen and the smiths." Who are the craftsmen (charash)? These are the ones that pray the mute prayer silently, and are victorious with their prayer over all the nations of the world. The smiths? That all the nations of the world come in a vice in front of them but [then] flee, as they put a vice on all the nations - and Nevukhadnetsar come to destroy them; and he destroyed the craftsmen and the smiths, and exiled them. The evil Haman [then] came [to] uproot the vines, as it is stated (Esther 3:13), "to annihilate, to kill and to destroy." Everyone began to cry out, "Woe," and they mourned in front of the Omnipresent. (5) "And it was in the days when the judges ruled" (Ruth 1:1) - there was famine there; and what grief is greater than famine? And from where [do we know] that there was famine? As it is stated (Ruth 1:1), "and there was a famine in the land." And why was there a famine? Because Israel and the judges were not judging true judgement; as it is is stated, "And it was in the days when the judges ruled" - [and] we find [following it], "he", which indicates evildoers. [As] so do we find, "he was Datan and Aviram" (Numbers 26:9); "he was Achashverosh" (Esther 1:1); "he was [...] Achaz" (II Chronicles 28:22). So too were the judges. And to what is the matter comparable? To a province that was liable a tax to the king. [So] he sent collectors to collect it. The people of the province rose and smote the collectors and hung them. The judgment that they were liable - as they appointed other judges for themselves - they did to the collectors. So did they do at that time, as Elimelekh would judge the judges; [since] he was a strongman and there were many men below him. He saw the distress and the famine, but he did not warn the sinners to repent from their evil. And he stopped living in Beit Lechem for himself to live in the field of Moav - to sustain his soul during the famine, and the soul of his wife during the famine, and the soul of his sons; and he did not know that [it is] the Torah that sustains its masters and not the vanities of the world. And he was one who was important, as it is stated (Ruth 1:1), "and a man went from Beit Lechem, Yehudah." And we only say, "man," about an important man, as it is stated (Numbers 12:3), "And the man, Moshe, was very humble." As Elimelekh was an important man, as they would consider him [so] in his place - and [yet] he went to save his soul and the soul of his household, and did not trouble himself about the matters of the community; even as he was an important man and they would have believed his words, [such as] to make them repent from their evil and bring them to repentance. And therefore, it occurred to him as it is written in the verse (Ruth 1:3), "And Elimelekh, the husband of Naomi died." And so [too,] his sons died, as it is stated (Ruth 1:5), "And [...his] two [sons,] Machlon and Khilyon died, and the woman survived her two children and her husband." As so were they judging their judges, like Sodom. Rabbi Shimon ben Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, "Any place that it is stated, 'and it was (vayehi),' it is used for grief and it is used for joy. And when for grief, there is no grief like it, and when for joy, there is no joy like it." (The text is missing the following integral part of the midrash, found in Bereishit Rabbah 42:3 and other places: Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman came and divided it, "Any place that it is stated 'it will be,' it is used for joy; [but] 'and it was' [is for] grief.") The Sages responded, "Behold 'And God said, "Vayehi (here used as a command form, and not past tense) light"' [is] joy!" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as the world did not merit to use that light. As so did Rabbi Yehudah bar Simon say, '[Regarding] the light that the Holy One, blessed be He, created on the first day, Adam [could] look and observe from [one] end of the world to the [other] end. [But] since the Holy One, blessed be He, saw the deeds of the generation of Enosh and the generation of the flood, He arose and hid it from them. That is [the meaning of] what the verse states (Job 38:15), "From the wicked is their light withheld." And to where is it hidden? [It is] in the Garden of Eden, for the righteous ones, as it is stated (Psalms 97:11), "Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the straight-hearted."'" They responded to him further, "It states, 'And it was evening and it was morning, one day.'" He said to them, "On that day too, it is not of joy, as all the acts of the first day are destined to wither, as it is stated (Isaiah 51:6), 'when the heavens melt away like smoke and the earth wither like a garment.'" They responded to him, "Behold, the [acts of] the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day." He said to them, "They too are not of joy, as all the acts of the six days of creation require further action - for example, wheat needs to be ground; mustard needs to be mellowed; lupine need to be mellowed." They responded to him, "[And what about,] 'And it was that the Lord was with Yosef and he was a successful man' (Genesis 39:7)?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as that 'bear' chanced upon him from this, as it is stated in the verse, 'after' - 'And it was after these things, and the wife of his master raised, etc.' (Genesis 39:7)." They responded to him, "[And what about,] 'And it was that the Lord was with Yehoshua, and his reputation was in all the land' (Joshua 6:27)?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as Yair the son of Menashe, whose weight corresponded to the majority of the Sanhedrin, fell at that time; as it is stated (Joshua 7:5), 'And the men of Ai smote of them, like thirty-six men' - and the master said, 'That is Yair the son of Menashe, whose weight corresponded to the majority of the Sanhedrin.'" They responded to him, "And is it not written (I Samuel 18:14), 'And it was that David was successful in all of his ways and the Lord was with him'?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as enmity descended into the heart of Shaul from this, as it is stated (I Samuel 18:9), 'And it was that Shaul eyed David.'" They responded to him, "And is it not written (II Samuel 7:1), 'And it was when the king sat in his house and the Lord allowed him rest from all of his enemies'?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as on that same day, Natan the prophet came to David and said to him, 'However you will not build the House' (I Kings 8:19)." They said to him, "Behold, we have said what is ours; [now] say what is yours - that 'and it will be' is joy." He said to them, "'And it will be on that day that the mountains will drip with nectar' (Joel 4:18), that will be in the days of the messiah, and there will be great joy for Israel. And so [too,] 'And it will be on that day that a man shall save alive a heifer of the herd and two sheep' (Isaiah 7:21). And so [too,] 'And it will be on that day that living waters will come out from Jerusalem' (Zechariah 14:8). And so [too,] 'And he will be like a tree planted over streams of water' (Psalms 1:3). And so [too,] 'And the remnant of Yaakov will be among many nations' (Micah 5:6)." They said to him, "But behold, it is written (Jeremiah 38:28), 'vahaya (here used in the past tense, and not like the other examples) when Jerusalem was captured'!" He said to them, "It too is not of grief, as on that day was the verdict of Israel for their sins taken; as so is it written (Lamentations 4:22), 'Your sin has been completed, Daughter of Zion, He will not again exile you.'"