“The Three Weeks”, refers to the three-week period that is the most challenging time of the Jewish year. During this time, shocking tragedies and misfortunes have befallen the Jewish people. The Three Weeks run from the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar, and fall in July or August on the secular calendar. Both the first day and the last day of the three weeks are fast days. As we see below, the restrictions during the Three Weeks intensify as we get closer to the 9th of Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple.
The Three Weeks is not a license to feel like a victim, or to wallow in national self-pity. To the contrary, the Jewish view on prolonged victimhood and self-pity is that they are counterproductive. The purpose of the fasting, restrictions, and mourning is to remind us of areas in which we have fallen short, and to inspire us to change and grow.