The Hebrew word Chesed, kindness, has a numeric value of seventy-two.
Kabbalah teaches that the last seventy-two days of the Hebrew calendar
year are permeated with Chesed, divine benevolence. This period
begins on the seventeenth day of the Hebrew month, Tammuz.
This day is also the first of a three-week (plus one day) period during
which we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and the exile of the
Jewish nation from Israel in the year 69 CE. Fasting and severe mourning
mark the first and last days of this period as we respectively commemorate
the anniversaries of the breach of Jerusalem's walls and the fall of the
This begs a question. How can a period of such suffering be simultaneously
permeated with divine benevolence?
The Hebrew word Tov, which means "good," has a numeric
value of seventeen. The Bnei Yissachar teaches that this "good"
is tied into seventeen days of this three-week period. What sort of goodness
is connected with these seventeen days? A hidden one. The Talmud teaches
that upon creation of the world G-d withheld a large measure of "goodness"
and kept it in store, to be revealed when the Mashiach comes
These seventeen days may appear negative on the surface but are in fact
fully permeated with divine goodness. Just below the surface lies an intense
measure of "goodness," yet to be revealed.
The Talmud teaches that all punishment and suffering are veils drawn
by G-d over kindness that is too powerful to be directly perceived. Yet
the Psalmist promised that when Mashiach comes this veil will be removed
and we will come to understand the positive import of our nation's suffering.
At that time we will recognize the true character of divine benevolence
that characterizes these seventeen days.
What of the Additional five days of this Period?
These five days are in fact not sad at all. They are comprised of three
days of Shabbat and one day of Rosh Chodesh, all which fall
during this period. The fifth day is the Ninth of Av, which was
declared a festival by the prophet Jeremiah because the potential for
Mashiach was born on this day.
May we merit the immediate unveiling of this goodness and may these days
of mourning soon be transformed into days of celebration and joy.
[Reprinted with permission from //AskMoses.com]