Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We are now in the midst of the Three Weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av. Even though this period is one of mourning, these days possess a silver lining and can be utilized for the positive as well.

First, as the Rebbe points out, there are the Shabbosim that take place during the Three Weeks. In contrast to the mourning and introspection that are focused on during the week, on Shabbos sadness is forbidden, and we must avoid any outward expression of mourning.

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On these Shabbosim, we are to conduct ourselves in a joyous manner, even more so than on a regular Shabbos. This is because during the week we are supposed to be somewhat limited in our expression of simcha, as outlined by halacha. Therefore, on Shabbos, when there is no place for sadness, we can make up for the simcha we missed out on during days of the week.

In this aspect, Shabbosim during the Three Weeks are extra special. Indeed, we saw with the Rebbe – a special simcha during these Shabbosim – an outpouring of the simcha that was suppressed the rest of the week.

The Rebbe also explains that every Shabbos is a me’ein of L’osid Lavo – a reflection of the time of Moshiach, when it will be Yom shekulo Shabbos, a continuous and perpetual Shabbos. Just like the future Redemption will leave no remnants of the golus, so too, the Shabbosim during the Three Weeks must not have any trace of sadness.

It is also known that the geula will bring us to a higher plateau than in our previous position before the golus. For if it would merely be the same as it was before the golus, then the entire descent of golus would have been for nothing. Therefore, it is definite that what we’re going to receive is higher, and much higher, than what we experienced before the golus, and the golus itself is just a preparation for this great advance. It therefore follows that on the Shabbosim during golus, when we are allowed to have simcha, the simcha has to be in an extra measure.

The Rebbe also mentioned that the time of the Three Weeks can be utilized for extra ahavas Yisrael. It is a time of mourning for the Beis HaMikdash, which was destroyed because of sinas chinom, baseless hatred that existed amongst the Jews. The counterpart to sinas chinom is ahavas chinom, to love somebody for no other reason than that he’s a Jew.

When we know that this is a time that is conducive to ahavas Yisrael, it makes it easier for everyone to concentrate on improving their relationships. If there is something less than perfect between one individual and another, whether it’s a relative, friend or neighbor, this is the perfect time to invest effort in ironing out any differences. And since everybody knows this, they will be open to it and those efforts will be crowned with extra success.

May the Almighty G-d help that the collective efforts of the Jewish people, and the extra ahavas Yisrael and the extra tzedaka that we give during the Three Weeks, should result in our being able to see the complete Redemption speedily with our very own eyes, in our very own days.

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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at Lubavitchyouth@gmail.com.