The Three Weeks

D'var Torah by Rabbi Jay Spero


The Three Weeks

Contact Rabbi Spero at 862-9546 or


Every year the two portions of Matos and Masi are read in the time period known as the three weeks. 

These are the three weeks that commemorate the periods leading up to the destruction of the two temples on the 9th day of Av (many other bad things have happened to the Jewish people throughout the ages in this time period, and the destruction of the Temples is used to symbolize the worst of them). 

The beginning of Masi details the traveling the Jewish people did in the desert. What is the relevance of these travels for future generations? 

The Baal Shem Tov explains that the forty two times the Jewish people traveled in the desert on their way to the Land of Israel symbolizes the journeys each human being must make in his lifetime. 

We are all put into this world for a purpose.  That purpose is often difficult to exactly discern.  We must do our best to reach our full potential, and be the best we can.  G-d has given us a guide to help us maximize our time in this world, and to reach that purpose; that guide is the Torah. Even if we are unable to figure out what is our exact purpose, through keeping the commandments we improve the world. 

The Torah gives many types of commandments.  Some are constant, some are dependent on circumstance, some are dependent on the time of day or year. 

Let us focus on commandments dependent on time of year, in other words, observance of holidays.  

When we observe the holidays, we are actually reliving the events with which that specific holiday is connected. For example, when we leave our homes on Sukkot and go in to the Sukkah, we act on our trust in G-d, so much so that we leave our houses for a week. The hope is that through reliving these experiences, we connect ourselves to G-d with all the proper emotions, gratitude, love, awe, passion, etc.

Most of the holidays either force us to be introspective (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur) or recall happy (Passover, Purim) and heroic (Chanuka) events that occurred in the history of our people.

The three weeks obviously commemorate something much different. This time commemorates a time of sadness. But it is also a time of rectification, when we can right the wrongs of our past.

One of the main reasons the second temple was destroyed was baseless hatred. We can overcome this. We must accept that when we feel slighted we will just let it go. And let us dedicate ourselves to the concept of hating the sin and loving the sinner, so that even if we feel we must rebuke another, it will only be his actions we disagree with, but not the person himself.

May we merit to see the rebuilding of the temple speedily in our days.


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