Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

Chatsei Nechama

Literally:Half a consolation
Idiomatically: A Small comfort

This phrase has an Aramaic source in Nechama Purta and is used exactly how you would use it in English. We can find it in the 14th century book Kaftor Vapherach ( chapter 5) by Rabbi Ashtori Pharchi . It is better known when combined into the phrase tsarat rabin chatsei Nechama , which in English would be translated as “a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved” or if you will - misery loves company. I always had trouble understanding the second one. Yet the phrase has a rabbinical (c 7th century) source in Avot Derabbi Natan (4:6) and can also be found in Devarim Rabba (2:14) . If we forget about the negativism of misery love company and look at the idea of group support during a wide tragedy or difficulty we can see that there is some small amount of comfort when we share a difficult experience with others.

היה אצלי הפסקת חשמל, אבל כשהסתכלתי בחוץ ראיתי שלכל הרחוב אין חשמל - 'צרת רבים חצי נחמה' Haya etsli hafsakat chashmal, aval keshehistakalti bachuts raeiti sheLekol harechov ein chashmal - tsarat rabim chatsei nechama” I had a power outage but when I looked outside I noticed the who street was blacked out- a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved. Now the electric company will probably get here faster.

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