Determination to Rebuild
Aside from the aforementioned "technical" rules and restrictions, during this period we spend extra time contemplating the less-than-perfect state the world is in now and what we can do to improve it by increasing in deeds of goodness and kindness.
The Rebbe urged that the Three Weeks should be a time of increased Torah study and giving of charity—in keeping with the verse, "Zion shall be redeemed by law, and her returnees by charity." Particularly, the Rebbe requested time and again the study of those portions of Torah that deal with the building of the Holy Temple.
Why these laws? The Rebbe based his request on a dialogue, cited in the Midrash, that transpired after G‑d told the Prophet Ezekiel to instruct the then exiled Jewish People about the measurements and design of the third Holy Temple:
“Master of the world,” Ezekiel replied, “why are You telling me to go and tell Israel the form of the House; they are now in exile in the land of our enemies—is there anything they can do about it? Let them be until they return from the exile. Then, I will go and inform them.”
G‑d answered: “Should the construction of My House be ignored because My children are in exile? The study of the design of the Holy Temple as detailed in the Torah can be equated to its actual construction. Go tell them to study the form of the Holy Temple. As a reward for their study and their occupation with it, I will consider it as if they actually built the Holy Temple.”
It is our generation in particular, that stands on the threshold of Redemption, that must study these laws with the awareness that these laws will be quite practical in the imminent future!
Visit our Holy Temple section to start your virtual tour of the Temple.
From Destruction to Renewal
But there is more to the Three Weeks than fasting and lamentation. The prophet describes the fasts as “days of goodwill before G‑d”—days of opportunity to exploit the failings of the past as the impetus for a renewed and even deeper bond with G‑d. A sense of purification accompanies the fasting, a promise of redemption pervades the mourning, and a current of joy underlies the sadness. The Ninth of Av, say our sages, is not only the day of the Temple's destruction—it is also the birthday of Moshiach.
May we soon merit the fulfillment of the prophecy: “I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:12).
Click here to visit our Tisha B'Av and 3 Weeks section