Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
The Three Weeks
Every year when the Hebrew months of Tamuz and Av return, they contain the period of the three weeks. This is a time where tragic events took place in our history which ultimately led to the destruction of both Temples on the ninth day of Av. During this time, we conduct ourselves with customs of mourning and refrain from making weddings, listening to music, etc.
The Torah portion of Pinchos is usually read during the three weeks. This Torah reading includes a section that deals with all of the Yomim Tovim (Festivals). Isn’t it ironic that during the weeks of mourning and sadness, we read in the Torah portion about festive times? Since there is no such thing as a coincidence in Judaism, there must be an explanation for this juxtaposition.
Reb Elimelech of Lizensk (18th c – Rebbe) explains the reason we read this portion during this time of sadness and mourning is so that we should not be swept away by the various mourning rituals practiced during this time frame. We are being reminded that this part of our history will pass, and we will once again rejoice during the Festivals in the Temple. A famous expression gam zeh yaavor (this too will pass) personifies this idea.
We all need to remind ourselves of this lesson. In looking at our own personal histories, everyone has experienced situations where one would think there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Yet somehow, we end up seeing the light, and we do move forward. This Torah portion is read to bring us that message of hope – to keep on looking ahead. May we all merit to see that light of redemption in the near future.