Three Weeks of Reflection and Hope

Question

I heard that the “Three Weeks” is about to start. What are these three weeks all about? Thanks!

4 weeks

Answers

  1. Good question! The term “The Three Weeks” refers to a three-week period of time in the Jewish calendar. It begins with the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz (July 9, 2020) and concludes with the fast of the Tisha B’Av (July 30, 2020). In Hebrew this three week period is called “Shloshet HaShavuot.” It is a special three-week mourning period related to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the ensuing exile and many other national tragedies throughout history.

    A variety of mourning-related laws and customs are observed during these three weeks. For example, we refrain from weddings, music and haircuts during this period. By refraining from these practices, we express and internalize our diminished happiness that these tragedies have caused us.

    But not all is darkness. As we reflect on the exile that our people suffered as a result of the tragedies that took place during this period, we also reflect on a comforting thought provided by the Nachmanides. The Torah warns the Jewish nation that their betrayal of God will be punished by exile, but also promises that our enemies will be repulsed by the desolation they see in the land of Israel that they conquered. This is a comforting promise: the land of Israel will never welcome our enemies. It will prosper only when it is populated by the Jewish nation — the nation who God promised it to and granted it to as an eternal inheritance.

    Our Sages teach that whoever mourns for the destruction of the Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem as it once was in all its splendor, will merit to see everything fully rebuilt as it once was. May we merit seeing this promise fulfilled soon!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team