The Three Weeks – Yamim Ben HaMetzarim - By Michael Jian - Vital Transformation

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The Three Weeks – Yamim Ben HaMetzarim – By Michael Jian

June 17, 2021

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Episode Description:

The Three Weeks, known in Hebrew as Bein HaMetzarim (Between the Straits), is a period of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples in Jerusalem. Beginning on the 17th of Tammuz and culminating on the 9th of Av with the fast day of Tisha B’Av, the Three Weeks is meant to impress upon us the great sense of loss felt by our ancestors at this time of tragedy in our history.

On the 17th of Tammuz, the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, setting in motion the chain of events leading to the destruction of the Second Temple. Religious Jews observe various mourning customs during this period, including not listening to music, attending concerts, getting married or buying valuable items. The objective is to enter into the painful national experience of Tisha B’Av.

The mourning intensifies as we enter the Nine Days, the period from the start of Av until Tisha B’Av itself. In addition to the above, haircuts, laundry and freshly cleaned clothing are avoided to mimic the despair of the siege and conquest of Jerusalem. We read the Book of Lamentations, with its graphic descriptions of suffering, to transport ourselves back to the catastrophe of exile and diaspora.

While a serious time for reflection, the Three Weeks are not meant to be joyless. The customs and deprivations help us appreciate what we have by their temporary absence. By reliving tragedy, we are inspired to hope for rebuilding and redemption.

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