The Tomb of Rachel
Tomb of Rachel, Jerusalem, Holy Land Date between 1890 and 1900. Library of Congress.
Introduction to "The Book of Consolation" (chapters 30 and 31)
Our Text: Jeremiah 31:2-20
Our text is the Haftarah for the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah
Dalit Rom-Shiloni, comment to 31:2-22 (The Jewish Study Bible, p. 978)
[This passage] is the haftarah for the second day of Rosh Ha-Shanah. Its optimism, and especially its focus on the restoration of Rachel's lost children as a metaphor for the restoration of Israel, corresponds to the deliverance of Isaac in the Torah portion (Gen. 22:1-24).
Marc Chagall, Meeting of Jacob and Rachel, 1957, Hand-colored etching, Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee.
Found at https://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/image-gallery/r/rachel-jacob-well. November 2021
By 12 tribus de Israel.svg: Translated by Kordas12 staemme israels heb.svg: by user:יוסי12 staemme israels.png: by user:Janzderivative work Richardprins (talk) - 12 tribus de Israel.svg12 staemme israels heb.svg12 staemme israels.png, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10865624 Visited 11/2021
Marvin A. Sweeney, "For Whom Does Rachel Weep," The Torah.com https://www.thetorah.com/article/for-whom-does-rachel-weep, visited 11/2021
Before the destruction of Judah in 586 BCE, Jeremiah wrote a series of oracles consoling his northern brethren. After the destruction of Judah, a supplementary layer was added to console the southern Judahites as well. ...
In the Torah, Rachel dies in childbirth while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin (Gen 35:16-20) and her husband Jacob buries her between Beth-el and Ephrat. Jeremiah took the imagery of sorrow associated with Rachel’s tragic death and burial and revised it, creating the image of Rachel weeping for her lost children.
Initially, Rachel’s children in Jeremiah referred only to the northern tribes of Israel, i.e., the Joseph tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh), and Benjamin, who are, in fact, her children according to the Bible. They also naturally pass by Beth-el, which was a large city in the Northern Kingdom (Amos 7:13), on their way into exile and on their way back home. After the revision of the oracles in light of the destruction of Judah and the exile of the Judahites to Babylon, Rachel’s crying no longer refers to only her “sons” the Rachel tribes, but to all Israel and Judah, who would return to YHWH and Jerusalem following the Babylonian Exile.
The Book of Jeremiah thus demonstrates both the continuity and the versatility of Jewish tradition, as it is adapted to meet the needs of new and unanticipated situations, such as Josiah’s reform or the later Babylonian Exile. Although we no longer revise biblical texts, we do revise our interpretation and use of them. And thus, in contemporary times, Rachel weeps for all Israel, who have suffered for millennia in catastrophes such as the Shoah, and who look to Jerusalem for ultimate restoration.
[Jeremiah and Hosea]
Hosea prophesied in the northern kingdom (Israel) in the 8th c. BCE (until the late 730s or early 720s)
Jeremiah prophesied in the southern kingdom (Judah) in the late 8th c. and early 7th c. BCE.
Michael Fishbane, JPS Haftarot Commentary, Haftarah for Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, Content and Meaning (p. 379)
Interpreters of Jeremiah have often noted themes and terms that recall the prophecies of Hosea. Especially well-known is the occurrence in both books of the motif of marriage and divorce, which serve to express God's relationship to Israel, on the one hand, and His reaction to her infidelity on the other. But there are also instances where Hosea's prophecies of doom to the northern tribes apparently influenced Jeremiah's oracles of consolation to the northern exiles. ...
This recurrence of language suggests a chain of rhetorical tradition linking Jeremiah to Hosea, while the transformation of emphasis (from a word of doom to one of comfort) attests to the artistry of ancient Israelite prophecy and its reuse of earlier oracles.
The Ten Remembrance Verses in the Additional Service (Musaf)