• Tia Brown

YHVH called to Adam, "Ayekah!"

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and [Adam and Eve] hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” -Genesis 3:8-9 ESV

YHVH called to Adam, "Ayekah!"

I wanted to cry when I found out the true meaning of this word! I've never thought about it before, then I stumbled on it during some research.

Ayekah has the exact same spelling in Hebrew as eikhah, which is a mournful cry, "How?! How can it be?"

Eikhah is the very first word in the book of Lamentations. Other Jewish "laments" written since then have also traditionally begun with the word eikhah.

It can also be found in verses like these:

How [Eikhah] the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. -Isaiah 1:21 ESV
How [Eikhah] can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? -Deut 1:12 ESV

Ayekah has no English equivalent translation to give it justice. While it can be translated primitively into "Where are you?" a little closer translation would be more like, "O woe is me, woe is me!"

It a guttural, emotional cry of loss--an exclamation of grief that a beloved relationship has been broken.

It is a "Where are you?!" like a husband suddenly realizing his beloved has left him. She may be technically nearby in presence but the closeness they shared is gone.

...unanswerable question of mourning and confusion. -Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Can you hear it? Can you imagine God Himself reacting this way?

We have a God who is grief stricken, not angry over your sins. He is grief stricken because the sin has caused you to hide from His presence that He longs to share with you. -Chaim Bentorah

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