Our Joy of the last few weeks, having had the Blessed opportunity to witness the progress towards the Climax of the Ages: The final Redemption, has been abruptly dampened down this week by the entrance of the commemoration of the worst 3-week period in Israel’s history. This started on Thursday, which was the 17th of Tammuz on the Hebrew Calendar. The 3 weeks commemorate the end of the existence of Israel’s Holy Temples, and the last days before the resultant exile. It will culminate in the 9th of Av (Tisha b’Av) the day on which, centuries apart, the two Temples were destroyed in Jerusalem.
Let us concentrate and nurture the spiritual upliftment underlying this tragic period in Israel’s history.
Part of the Reconciliation and Restoration process which the Kol Hator Vision promotes, is that reawakening Ephraimites start joining Judah in these commemorations (as with Torah principles) because we share the same Destiny. This will be reached and perfected when the two currently greatly divided Houses of the same Nation will have reconciled and re-united in Peace, which will ignite the Returning of the Shechinah (Presence) of G-d to Jerusalem to indwell His Perfected Temple.
We will therefore devote this week’s Newsletter Blog to publish some guidelines in this regard – what these 3 weeks commemoration are all about and how to partake.
To Jews, the 17th Tammuz is a fast day and the 3 weeks to 9th Av are spent in a spirit of Repentance. The three-week period is known simply as “The Three Weeks.” It is a time of grieving for the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. This mourning period was first mentioned in the biblical Book of Zechariah in the Prophets — and, since then, it has been observed as a period of sadness.
The Multiple Tragedies
Jewish tradition holds that five terrible things happened on the 17th of Tammuz:
- When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and saw the Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf, he shattered the two Tablets.
- The Babylonians broke through the Jerusalem city wall, which was the beginning of the destruction.
- The daily Temple service was discontinued,
- The wicked Apostomos burned a Torah scroll and, finally,
- An idolatrous image was put in the Holy Temple.
The Rambam writes that fasting should be an impetus for repentance. During the three weeks between the fasts of the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, we have an opportunity for introspection; an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with G-d and to start our climb to greatness. The Jerusalem Talmud says that every generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt should consider itself as if the Temple was destroyed in its days. Our generation should be the one to see the Temple rebuilt. We have the capacity to make that happen. What we have to do is make it happen.
“The Talmud says, ‘When the month of Av enters, one should decrease in joy.’ The Hasidic rebbe Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira (1861-1937), said that, though the Talmud says to “decrease in joy,” it should be read, “decrease…in joy.” In other words, though it is proper to mourn, even in that mourning, we should do so joyously, knowing that better times are ahead.” (www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-three-weeks/)
Pointing to the Future
Even though the Three Weeks mark the time of the Temple’s destruction, there are signs of hope throughout. The three haftarot read during this period, are full of admonitions and prophetic passages that warn about the consequences of sin. Yet each ends in a promise of eventual Redemption.
The Crown and Tiara of History
“On the Shabbat immediately after Tisha B’Av, we read the haftarah of “Nachamu, Nachamu” from Yeshayahu. Each consecutive Shabbat, until Rosh Hashanah, we read another selection from Yeshayahu, in which the prophet continues to comfort the Jewish People, following the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of our people from our land. Each selection elaborates upon the future restoration of Bnei Yisrael and the renewed glory of Hashem’s Glory as perceived in this world. This string of haftarot is termed “Shev D’Nechemta” – the Seven (Haftarot) of Consolation.
“Why do we read haftarot of consolation for seven straight weeks, all the way to the month of Tishrei?
“I think that the answer is rooted in the basics of Rosh Hashanah. Unlike any other time, Rosh Hashanah is marked as the day when we proclaim God’s ultimate malchus – His kingship. On Rosh Hashanah, we not only affirm our belief in God’s malchus; rather, we coronate Hashem as our king and reconnect to Him as His loyal subjects.
“Contrasted with this state of affairs is Tisha B’Av, when human perception of God’s Glory in this world is stifled, as His House (the Beis Ha-Mikdash) is utterly destroyed, His people is exiled, and His land is forsaken. Kabbalistically, the present situation is termed “Galusa De’Shechinta” – “the exile of God’s Presence”. [According to Ezekiel 10 & 11, His Presence (Shechinah) left after the destruction of the 1st Temple – and will return with the exiles at the Final Redemption when He will settle His Presence in the Living Temple of ‘His Servant’ whom He has perfected. Rf. The servant of HaShem].
“In order to progress from the depths of Tisha B’Av to full realization of Hashem’s manifest malchus on Rosh Hashanah, we read the Shev D’Nechemta, as we reconnect to God’s Kingship in this world and attain the greatest appreciation of it in preparation for the ultimate day of malchus. It is not simple to go from the Galusa De-Shechinta of Tisha B’Av to Chodesh Elul and Rosh Hashanah; we need to gradually progress from one to the other. The Haftarot of Consolation enable us to approach Rosh Hashanah and relate to manifest malchus as we should. In this vein, Haftarat Nachamu is not read to coincide with Tisha B’Av. Rather, it begins the period of reawakening to God’s Kingship, culminating with Rosh Hashanah.”
Source of above extract torah.org/learning/yomtov-3weeks-vol3no12/
From the Three Weeks starting with 17th Tammuz, we are now heading for the glorious culmination of all, in the 7th month Feasts, which will see the Remarriage of HaShem with His Divorced Bride (the House of 10-Israel now returned from exile and reconciled with Judah in the re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom of the God of Israel and the establishment of His Universal Kingdom ruling from Jerusalem):
- Rosh HaShanah – 1st of 7th month – the Return of the Shechinah of HaShem.
- Yom Kippur – 10th day of 7th month – The Great Judgment
- Succot – 14th of 7th month – the Seven day Marriage Feast
- The 8th Final Day / Sinchat Torah – Eternal Torah Kingdom Rule starts.
About this week’s Parashah
- Parshat Pinchas: What Is True Leadership? (Aleph Beta)
- There are times you can’t be passive! (Meir Elkabas – Parshat Pinchas)
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Independent research scholar. He works tirelessly as an activist promoting Israel and settlement of the Land of Israel, and as Webmaster and co-ordinator of Kol HaTor. Read More.