May he be released from captivity speedily and easily, and may he be brought speedily b’komemiut to Eretz Yisrael.
Profound Comfort and a Reality Check
First, the Kli Yakar quotes Midrash Tehillim: “The salvation does not come to Yisrael until the time that they are in a state of complete lowliness (shiflut).”
The reason for this is that all the time that they aren’t in a state of complete lowliness, they don’t place their trust in Hashem and they think of strategies on how to be rescued from a trap by means of human strategies, and therefore, Hashem distances a person and increases sorrow because they didn’t trust in the salvation of Hashem….
The Talmud says "northward and southward" because even if they will be like the North Wind that contains "a source of torment and light shall be eclipsed" (Isaiah 5:30) and it has no light at all, thus will be Yisrael completely devoid of light. From that state, they will ascend to the last edge that will face the South Wind, which is called here "dar rom" (dwells on high) because the Sun shines eternally, calling it "and it dwells on high." And so the shining of the sun of Yisrael will continue forever as it says, "Your sun shall no longer set...." (Isaiah 60:20) And they will dwell in the world on top of the world (rumo shel olam).
And this is a promise regarding the final Redemption.
“And he shall rumble over it on that day like the rumble of the sea, and he shall look to the land and behold darkness; the tormented one and the light shall be eclipsed when its darkening comes.”
And he will rumble: That enemy [will rumble] at the people of the Lord, mentioned above.
like the rumbling of the sea: whose waves roar, so will he come with roaring armies.
and he will look to the land: Heb. וְנִבַּט, an expression of looking. Israel will look and hope that the kings of the land, upon whom they rely, will assist them, like the matter that is stated (infra 31:1): “Those who go down to Egypt for aid.”
and behold darkness: for they will have no support.
the tormented one and the light shall become eclipsed: Comp. (infra 31:3) “And the helper shall stumble and the one who is helped shall fall.” He who is tormented, upon whom the trouble has come, as well as he who comes to bring light to him, both of them will darken. Some interpret צַר as the moon, whose light was diminished, צַר [meaning narrow,] and אוֹר as the sun, [meaning light].
in its darkening: Heb. בַּעֲרִיפֶיהָ. When its darkening comes. An expression similar to (Deut. 32:2): “Shall drip (יַעֲרֹף) like rain,” for so is the nature that when rain falls, the light darkens.
It sounds exactly like what's goin on in the world right now, with the above-stated results.
The Malbim's Interpretation of Yeshayah/Isaiah 5:30
There is nothing like Torah poetry and metaphor. The Malbim explains the above verse:
After it describes the terror of the enemy (oyev)* as the image of an attacking and roaring lion, it presents another metaphorical description of terror. This image depicts a nation conquered by an enemy as if it's a ship under assault by the ocean. The ocean is raging and the waves are rising and crashing, and the ship seems about to break apart.
And regarding this, it says:
"And he shall rumble over it on that day like the growling of the sea"….to show how the loudness of the enemy (oyev) resembles the rumble of the water to its waves.
"And he shall look to the land" describes how the ship’s passengers struggle and exhaust themselves by rowing to dry land to human settlement – yet they are unable because they have been overwhelmed by all the dangers threatening to break apart the ship.
"And behold, the darkness" – engulfing darkness surrounds them and they cannot see the coast.
"The source of the torment (tzar)*" – a rock and a huge boulder stand before them and they fear they will be shipwrecked on the reefs [a hidden danger even today, large rock reefs hidden under water can sink ships that run into them - Dassie].
"And sea fog (ohr)*" – before them are dense fog and clouds that descend to drink of the ocean waters and it is a danger to ships, as is known.
"When its darkening comes" – Because the cloud - which is the sea fog - poured its rain upon them and its cloud scattered its sea fog in bursts and floods and darkness eclipses everything from the darkness and rain and there is no hope of rescue because all the sailors’ knowledge is then swallowed up.
And this is an excellent description of great torment and utter despair.
*Source of torment (tzar) – Elsewhere, the Malbim defines tzar as an enemy who actively torments you (as opposed to, for example, a soneh, which he defines as one who hates you without wishing evil upon you)
*Sea fog (ohr) – Though ohr usually means light, Eyov/Job 36 uses the word ohr to describe a type of precipitation derived from the root of the word ye’ohr – meaning generally a river or specifically, the Nile.
Sea fog differs from regular fog because it consists of sea spray and salt crystals that become sea fog via the process the Malbim describes above.
Interestingly, this totally different interpretation does not seem to contradict Rashi’s interpretation of ohr as light. In times of torment, it certainly does seem as if all light has been eclipsed and also that there is a kind of blinding fog or spray that is doing the eclipsing and making the darkness even darker and more bewildering.
May we take this opportunity to throw the full weight of our trust upon Hashem.
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz (1550-1619) lived in Bohemia (which is today Poland and Czechoslovakia). He served as rabbi and dayan and wrote several books, the most well-known being his commentary on the Chumash known as the Kli Yakar.
The Malbim (1809-1879) was Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel who was born in Russia and served as rav all over Eastern Europe. He was bitterly fought by the Reform Movement for most of his adult life, even suffering a brief imprisonment on a false accusation in Rumania by wealthy German Reformers. Fortunately, he left us an amazing commentary on the entire Torah among other valuable works he composed.
This is my own translation and any errors are also mine.