Hashiveinu Hashem eilecha v’nashuva, chadeish yamainu k’kedem – Hashem, take us back and return things as they were in the good ol’ days.
Ki im ma’os m’astanu, katzafta aleinu ad me’od – Because (?) you have made us repulsive to you, and been very angry at us.
That word “ki,” which I translated as “because,” doesn’t quite fit, as Hashem’s anger would seem to be a very good reason for him NOT to take us back. Does it mean that Hashem has expended his anger already, and therefore he should take us back? Why should that be true if we haven’t done teshuvah yet? Does it mean that our feeling Hashem’s anger is itself rehabilitative? If so, the subject of the pasuk should be us, our feeling of suffering, not Hashem’s anger.
We get very scared when we read that last pasuk of “ma’os m’astan, katazfta aleinu…,” so much so that we repeat the pasuk of “hashiveinu…” again right after it to end on a positive note. But, explains the Berdichiver, this last pasuk is not a lament, it’s not there to make us scared -– it’s part of the nechama. He gives a mashal from hilchos geirushin: if a man divorces his wife because of a problem of arayos, he is never allowed to remarry her – there is an issur on both the ba’al and the bo’el. But if a man divorces his wife because she burnt his food and he got angry at her, he can always remarry her again. After five perakim of Eicha a person might feel so crushed that they think any reconciliation with Hashem is impossible. How can there be a “hashiveinu…” after all that? Our running after strange gods is like a national issur arayos! The answer is because “ma’os m’astanu, katzafta aleinu…” It's not like arayos; it's not a permanent break. Hashem is ineed very angry, but anger can pass; the door is open to reconciliation and is not glued shut.