11 When the king heard the words of the scroll of the Teaching, he rent his clothes.
vai-HEE kish-MO-a ha-ME-lekh et div-RAY SAY-fer ha-to-RAH va-yik-RA et b’-ga-DAV
יא וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־דִּבְרֵי סֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָיו׃
22:11 He rent his clothes
In Jewish tradition, tearing one’s garment is a symbol of intense mourning. For the first time, King Yoshiyahu hears the words of God’s Torah, which has been hidden away for many years. He becomes aware of how low the People of Israel have sunk. This is the beginning of his resolve to lead a campaign of repentance and bring the nation back to God. Though Hashem has already declared that, due to Menashe’s sins, He was going to exile the nation (II Kings 21:10-15), He resolves to gives them another chance. Through the uncovered Torah scroll, He sends them the message that even though they have turned their backs on Him, He has not given up on His people. Instead of sending them away, He wants them to repent, and to remain with Him in the Holy Land.