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Eichah 3:34-36 reads as follows:

לדכא תחת רגליו כל אסירי ארץ. להטות משפט גבר נגד פני עליון. לעות אדם בריבו ה׳ לא ראה.

To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth; to tip justice of a man against the presence of the Most High; to wrong a man in his conflict Hashem does not “ra’ah.”

The word ראה typically means “see.” However, given that the word doesn’t seem to fit in context, Rashi interprets it differently. He understands it to mean “condone,” “approve”:

לֹא רָאָה. לֹא הֻכְשַׁר בְּעֵינָיו שֶׁיְּעַוְּתוּ בֵית דִּין שֶׁל מַעְלָה אָדָם בְּרִיבוֹ, כְּמוֹ "מָה רָאִיתָ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ וְגוֹ'":

It’s not approved in His eyes that the upper courts distort a man’s dispute; similarly, “What did you see that you did [this to me, etc.]”

Why did Yirmiya use such an unusual word in this context? While Rashi brings a prooftext, at least over there the word “see” makes sense in context; here, the word “see” sounds very out of place. Why doesn’t the passuk say לא הצדיק, as in Shemos 23:7: כי לא אצדיק רשע, I will not approve of the wicked?

  • I assume this is just like the rabbinical ראוי – Dr. Shmuel Nov 29 '18 at 19:43
  • לעות אדם בריבו: אינו ראוי לפני השם לעות את האדם בריבו אלא כי פועל אדם ישלם לו כך הרבה היה רוצה השם שיהיו ישראל יושבין על אדמתם אבל בעוונם גלו. – Dr. Shmuel Nov 29 '18 at 19:47
  • @Dr.Shmuel Aramaic, I assume, doesn’t have a word that means to “approve,” or to “condone.” Since Hebrew does have such a word, why wasn’t it used? Also, where is your quote from? – DonielF Nov 30 '18 at 9:11
  • I’m not sure I follow your Aramaic bit. Anyways, isn’t this just regular Biblical Hebrew idiom/poetic usage? Are there perhaps not many additional examples in tanach that would make this dissimilar? (That last part is my stupid question) The quote is from some commentator on sefaria, don’t recall) – Dr. Shmuel Nov 30 '18 at 14:01
  • @Dr.Shmuel The commentator you quote uses the wording of ראוי, which is typical Mishnaic Hebrew and Gemara Aramaic for “approve,” or “fitting.” Biblical Hebrew has a different word, which Yirmiya refuses to use for some reason. – DonielF Dec 12 '18 at 21:02
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Just as in the prooftext, the words מה ראית כי עשית means what reason have you seen as justification for what you have done, So here too ה' לא ראה means that Hashem saw no justification in the acts mentioned, ie He did not approve.

  • Is this your own idea? – msh210 Jul 2 '18 at 9:32
  • @msh210 It seems to me to be the simple understanding, not a novel idea – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 2 '18 at 10:00
  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore It doesn’t really answer the question, though. Yes, that’s clearly what it means, but it doesn’t explain why he doesn’t use a word that’s more fitting. – DonielF Nov 30 '18 at 9:12

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