Thursday, 01 July 2010 | AP | Three Weeks, The
17 Tamuz 5770 – June 29, 2010. – Perashat Pinéhas
Shiv’a ‘Asar beTamuz
1) We have the custom to nickname the days of Ben haMesarim (The Three Weeks – from the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Ab) with special names in order to testify to the act that we are going from “light” days to “heavy” ones: We call, in Arabic, the days from the 17th of Tamuz until Rosh Hodesh Ab “Tiz’a Zghrira” (the Small Nine), the days from RoshHodesh Ab until Tish’a beAb “Tiz’a Kbira” (the Big Nine), and the day of Tish’a beAb itself we call “Yom Tiz’a.” Some give this sad day a nice name so as to not call it by its sad name, “Yom Lmbarekh” (The Blessed Day). This is all in order to remind the Nation, the women, men, and children that these days are ones of mourning and the mourner continues his mourning until the bitter day of Tish’a beAb when both Baté Miqdash were destroyed, the crowns on our heads and our glory gone with them.
2) During the Three Weeks, stringent people sit on the floor and recite Tiqun Hasot (Tiqun Rahel) at hasot (halakhic midday) of the day. As it is said, “a thing in its proper time is good,” since these days are meant to remind us that we should be mourning the destruction of the Bet haMiqdash so therefore it is fitting and accepted [to read this during the day, when we normally read it only at night]. Look in Osrot haMaghreb for a commentary on the Tiqun Hasot by Ribi Yosef Elqobi zt”l of Meknes.
4) We have the custom not to cut our hair during the three weeks. Some also have the custom not to cut their nails. Some are strict on this only from Rosh Hodesh Ab and some are only strict to not do these things during the week that Tish’a beAb falls on (Shabu’a Shehal Bo) [for example, if Tish'a beAb falls on a Wednesday then this would only apply from Saturday night to Wednesday. The Moroccan community of Toronto holds from Rosh Hodesh.] All of these minhagim are rooted in the “holy mountains” [meaning that we have good and ancient basis to our customs]. The reason we do this is because of our mourning of the destruction of the Bet haMiqdash and thus we have the status of someone, G-d forbid, who is mourning a close relative (mother, father, etc…), lo ‘alenu.