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What Are the Three Weeks?

What Are the Three Weeks?

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The Three Weeks is an annual mourning period that falls out in the summer. This is when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our launch into a still-ongoing exile.

The period begins on the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, a fast day that marks the day when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans in 69 CE.

It reaches its climax and concludes with the fast of the 9th of Av, the date when both Holy Temples were set aflame. This is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that many other tragedies befell our people.

Observances:

There are various mourning-related customs and observances that are followed for the entire three-week period (until midday of the 10th of the Hebrew month of Av, or—if that date falls on Friday—the morning of that day). We do not cut our hair, purchase new clothes, or listen to music. No weddings are held.

17 Tammuz is a fast day, on which we refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to nightfall.

Those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of MoshiachThe final Nine Days of the Three Weeks are a time of intensified mourning. Starting on the first of Av, we refrain from eating meat or drinking wine, and from wearing freshly laundered clothes.

9 Av is a more stringent fast than 17 Tammuz. It begins at sunset of the previous evening, when we gather in the synagogue to read the Book of Lamentations. Besides fasting, we abstain from additional pleasures: washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Until midday, we sit on the floor or on low stools.

There is more to the Three Weeks than fasting and lamentation. Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach. May that day come soon, and then all the mournful dates on the calendar will be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness.

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Chaia Ny August 13, 2016

I am a Jew . My Dan is of Israeli ancestors from the beginning of time! My family nearly wiped off the face of the earth. It's disturbing to me that we keep having to suffer. We beat the odds. Hitler didn't win! The Pharos didn't win! The Romans did t win! We have stood up , grown strong , have our own state and defeated our enemies ! I'm tired of having to weep and suffer and feel sad because I'm a Jew! I want to celebrate the fact I'm Jewish ! I'm proud and strong and not going to go along with these man made days of misery ! G-D wouldn't ask us to do what man has made us do! Yom Kippur yes! Fast , but there are so many suffering days it's ridiculous! We have to start laughing and having wine with loved ones and stop suffering ! The past is the past and the future is tomorrow! Let's stop dwelling on the worst and concentrating on our future! Reply

Chabad.org Staff August 8, 2016

In 2016 the Three Weeks end after nightfall on August 14. Reply

Anonymous August 7, 2016

When do the three weeks end? Today's date is August 7, 2016 Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org July 25, 2016

Yes, there is no problem with purchasing software for work during the Three Weeks. Reply

Chabad.org Staff July 24, 2016

The Three Weeks officially start today, Sunday the 24th of July 2016. Reply

Chabad.org Staff July 24, 2016

Yes you put on Tefillin. Reply

Chabad.org Staff July 24, 2016

When the 17 of Tammuz falls on Shabbat, as is the case this year, the fast is postponed to Sunday and we observe Shabbat regularly. The only fast day which does not get postponed is Yom Kippur, a day which is called Shabbat Shabbaton, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, in the Torah. Reply

David WOODMERE July 24, 2016

When did the three weeks start leading to Tisha b Av this calendar year 2016 Reply

Anonymous July 24, 2016

Is buying a software for a job allowed during these three weeks? Reply

david adams Patchogue July 24, 2016

Do I put on tefillin this day the 17 Reply

Samuel July 24, 2016

Thank you very much for this article. I do have a question that I could not make out from this article: what if the 17th of Tammuz is on a shabbat? Do you still make kiddush and eat 3 meals? Reply

Anonymous Airmont July 24, 2015

Yes we don't wear clothes with stains. The custom is to "try" the clothes on before the nine days. When that isn't possible (the nine days already started) it can be worn on shabbos (you have to do this in a way that isn't preparing) or dropped on the floor. Reply

Ephraim July 8, 2015

Thanks for your reply, but I am still not clear about clothes during the nine days. We are forbidden to wear clean clothes? I find is hard to believe we have to walk around smelling and with stains for nine days, that cannot be right. Please verify. We also have a limited amount of clothes, I do not have nine shirts or pants. Not sure what to do. Thank you. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for Chabad.org July 8, 2015

Yes, one is permitted to buy new shoes, especially if they are on sale, during the three weeks. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for Chabad.org July 7, 2015

One is permitted to do laundry during the three weeks. Even in the nine days when one is meant to refrain from doing laundry, one is permitted to wear freshly laundered undergarments. Additionally, with regards to purchasing new clothing, it is only significant clothing that brings some level of joy to the person that one should refrain from purchasing during the three weeks. Clothing such as undergarments and socks one is permitted to purchase during that time. Reply

Elaine Finesilver July 7, 2015

Can I buy new shoes that are in the sales or on special offers during the three weeks? Reply

Ephraim Jerusalem July 6, 2015

I am confused as to the rules of laundry and clothing during the Three Weeks. A literal reading of the rules implies we must wear dirty clothing. How is that possible? What about undergarments? Can someone please explain?

Thank you. Reply

Janice June 28, 2015

I find I mourn the loss of human lives, the destruction of families and realized that since creation; there's always been some form of slavery imposed upon another; is about governmental power and control; not not the ways of HaShem; is not about black and white; that's a lie, believed by ignorant, sort sighted people who know little about human history. Reply

Anonymous August 5, 2014

I mourn for every single jewish person out there in in the world so they may remember G-d. I mourn for every single jewish person out there in the world who does not know what it is to be a nation chosen by G-d. I pray and I hope that one day when I am praying to Adonai and that same moment every Jew around the world is also praying with me for forgiveness and to help us change our ways so our L-rd will bring us back from exile and the coming of the Moshiach.
Amen Reply

Anonymous Mpls. Mn. July 9, 2013

under the line of site is correct .. eye contact can be avoided and never have i been so humiliated as at Rosh Hashana. Where i was forced to sit for 30 or so min as everyone looked ahead and walked past as if I were not there trying to get out as well. I have been at this synagogue my entire life, as a student and a teacher. Finally the Rabbi came to assist me, embarrassing as well. Really in truth it is those that diverted there eyes that need to be humiliated as they are in the site of Elohim. This is nothing new to us Jews the physically challenged have always been second class citizens in our world .. not allowed to eat until the healthy had finished. Even today JFCS if you call and say I have a problem will ask if its mental or emotional, in my head, not. We might seem as a drain on society .. you dont know what I have done to feed the community ... I mourn for the lost compassion of my people .. Reply

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