This week we enter the time period which is known to the Jewish nation as the Three Weeks. These weeks in the Jewish calendar, fall between the 17th day of the month of Tammuz, through the 9th day of the month of Av.
These weeks are three weeks of terrible events in Jewish History, which led up to the destruction of the Holy Temple on the night of the 9th of Av. During this time, there are many customs and commandments that we follow, showing our hurt, and heart’s desire for Hashem to rebuild his holy Temple once more.
So why did I choose to name my article, “The Three Weeks of Happiness?”
These weeks are far from the happiness we long for, all these years.
Perhaps happiness is in the way we look at things, rather than in what we are going through in the moment. On the one hand it’s extremely difficult to go through hard moments or hard times, altogether. It’s another thing to see history go by and see how whatever occurred was for the best, and how we came out of troubled times, stronger and smarter and were rewarded with some great gift as a result of the hardship.
Going back to the history of our nation, we can clearly see how after each horrible event we received greatness and glory. From our forefathers, whom each suffered and then saw greatness in their lives; to history at large. After each time that we had great sorrow, we received a great gift from above. After the horrible and unforgettable holocaust, we received the holy land of Israel.
It’s usually easy to see the good once the bad has passed, however how can we see the good while we are going through it?
It is written that once the children of Israel will be finally redeemed, Hashem will dwell amongst us, in the Third Temple (please G-d soon). All the fast days and days of sorrow will be exchanged for happy and joyous ones instead.
But how do we feel the happiness and joy now in the present, way before we are redeemed? How can we go through hard challenges and feel the redemption which at the moment seems so far away?
With all that is occurring in the world, without being prophets or some kind of fortune tellers, we can clearly see that all the events surrounding the Covid-19 virus and the events happening worldwide in the political arena are all pointing in one direction, and that is the redemption of the Jewish people and of the world at large.
We cannot see exactly how and in which way things will turn around for the better and save us all. But we definitely know that Hashem is running the world and not us. We know that after these crazy times which seem endless and harmful, G-d will surely send us the redemption which we are waiting for so eagerly.
The thought that after hardship comes salvation is a nice and comforting thought. But where do we get the strength to get through these hard times?
My special needs son who is living in a group home, has not been allowed home during this entire time of the Covid epidemic. At first, we the parents, were not even allowed to visit and see the children at the home. After a few very long and hard months we were finally allowed to see the children outside the building on the premises of the institution, for a few hours a week. This in itself was so hard since my child used to come home so frequently and I would care for him daily. And then just a visit a few hours a week seemed so short and unsatisfying. And now with the virus, that seems to not want to leave, once again the gates to the home have been closed and the physical distance between us once again reigns.
I felt as if I couldn’t bare the pain of the distance once more. I felt as if I could see nothing happy in the situation other than my son’s and my aching hearts. How can I see the redemption? How can I see the happiness which will come from all this? How can I currently see how things will turn around and be for the best later on?
This is what being Jewish is all about. This is what we know: the deeds and actions of our ancestors, are a sign and symbol for the children and generations to come. From where will we seek courage and strength, if not from our past? Each generation has its challenges. One might think that our challenges are nothing in comparison to those of the generations gone by; with the pogroms and murdered Jews for so many years.
However these are our challenges today, and these challenges are hard for us today just as past events were hard in their times. One hardship cannot be compared to another. Ours seem so trivial in comparison to that of millions of Jews being slaughtered. However today’s challenges are what we are able to withstand. It’s written that Hashem doesn’t test us with something that is too hard for us. G-d wants us to wake up, but he doesn’t want us to fail. Therefore, He only sends us what we can handle, and what is appropriate for each generation.
Therefore, I once again call these three weeks, the weeks of happiness. In the final picture we will surely see how all this was for our good, and that the redemption, on a personal level and on a collective one as well, couldn’t have come without these trying and difficult times.
May we merit seeing the full redemption today healthy and happy, and finally turn these three weeks into happy ones forever.