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Friday, July 09, 2004

The Three Weeks

The Three Weeks starting from the 17th of Tammuz (July 6th) through the 9th of Av (July 27th) are a period of mourning on the Jewish Calendar. There are no weddings or other major celebrations and there are many other manifestations of mourning, including not listening to music. The mourning observances increase after the 1st of Av (July 19th) when swimming and bathing for pleasure are disallowed, culminating with a full day of fasting and intense mourning on the 9th of Av (July 27th).

The primary reason we mourn is that both the First and Second Temples were destroyed during this time period. We mourn the decreased potential for spiritual growth and connecting with G-d due to the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem.

One way to use this period in a productive way is to focus on improving our relationships. The primary way that this can be accomplished is by reducing anger, eliminating harmful or degrading speech and seeing others in a positive light. Improvement in these goes a long way towards increasing our own well-being in addition to that of our acquaintances, friends, neighbors and relatives.

See the Aish site or the OU site for a ton of information on the Three Weeks.