The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs
The 3 Weeks
By: Rav Yechezkel Yakovson
Rosh Yeshivat Sha'alvim
The Jewish People have adopted certain minhagim of mourning during the 3 weeks between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av (see the Rama in Orach Chaim, Siman 551). I believe that the following concept generates this mode of conduct.
The Jewish People desire to rectify the sins that led to the punishments that we endured. Thus we connect the 17th of Tamuz with its sin- the Golden Calf ( Cheit HaEgel), with the 9th of Av and its sin- the Sin of the Spies ( Cheit HaMeraglim). Although five tragic events transpired upon each of the above dates, the Chataim of the Egen and Meraglim constitute the root cause. On the 17th of Tamuz the luchot were broken while on the 9th of Av our forefathers were denied entry to the Land of Israel .
The two sins are interrelated. Hashem promised us the following: "I will remove you from (of Egypt ), I will take you as a nation (at Mount Sinai ), I will bring you (to the Land of Israel )." In Chait HaEgel, the Jewish People betrayed the directives of removal ( vehotzayti) and taking ( velakachti). Chait HaMeraglim signified a lack of allegiance to the goal of bringing ( veheyvaite).
Weakness and a lack of faith form a common denominator in these two sins. Similarly, the absurd notion that we can (G-d forbid) determine how and where to serve Hashem was apparent as well. Subsequent to Chait HaEgel, Hashem informed Moshe that retribution for that crime would be exacted from the Jewish People in the event of future sins (" u'vuyom pakdi u'fakaditi. That statement was initially realized at the Chait HaMeraglim (additional silmilarities can e found in the 13 Attributes, in the prayers of Moshe, in the repercussions to those who did not actively sin and in other matters as well).
To repair the damage generated by those two sins is the goal of the 3 weeks. As we endeavor to repent, we proclaim that we understand that it is impossible to distinguish between the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel , between the luchot of the Covenant and the Covenant of the Land, between Mount Sinai and Mount Moriah .
Nowadays we can testify that there exists an almost absolute correlation between love of Torah and love of The Land. The community that does not worship the Goldem Calf is the same community that stands courageously follows in the footsteps of Yehoshua and Caleb and proclaims "we shall ascend and inherit her (the Land of Israel )".
May it be the will of Hashem that we speedily fulfill the prophecy that "the fast of the 5th month and the fast of the seventh month...will be for the House of Judah times of joy and happiness."
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