Special Shabbats in the Summer Months
Tamuz, Av and Elul
How many conspicuous days do we commemorate in the summer months?
Days of fast and mourning on the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha B'av, a holiday on the 15th of Av and the month of Elul – the month of mercy and forgiveness. In this season we have several special Shabbats. The three Shabbats between the 17th of Tamuz and the ninth of Av are called, "the three weeks" – They are Shabbats in which an aura of sadness prevails and - are therefore called 'the Three of Calamity'. In these Shabbats we read 'Haftarot' that contain disastrous prophecies: On the first Shabbat we read the Haftara in Jeremiah 1: "The words of Jeremiah" with the well known verse, "and evil shall originate from the north". On the second Shabbat we read the Haftara in Jeremiah, chapter 2, beginning the fourth [VJ1] verse, "Listen to the words of G-d". On the third Shabbat, the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av, we read for Haftara in Isaiah, chapter 1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz". On this Shabbat the curtain is removed from the ark and there are customs expressing sorrow and pain.
Tisha B'av is followed by seven Shabbats of consolation that continue until Rosh Hashanah. These are the "Seven of Consolation" and the Haftaras read in them are all in the Book of Isaiah. The most famous of these is "Shabbat Nachamu", which is the Shabbat that comes directly after Tisha B'av, in which the Haftarah that is read begins with, "console, console my nation, says your Lord...".
On the subsequent Shabbats the following Haftarahs are read:
2. Isaiah 49:14 "And Zion said G-d has forsaken me..."
3. Isaiah 54:11 "O poor tempestuous one, not consoled"
4. Isaiah 54:12 "I, I am the one who consoles you..."
5. Isaiah 54:1 "Sing you barren woman who has not borne..."
6. Isaiah 60:1 "Arise, shine for your light has come..."
7. Isaiah 61:10[VJ2] "I will rejoice with G-d..."
The 'Three Weeks' and Tisha B'Av, are followed by days of weddings and joy and many grooms hold their "Shabbat Chatan" celebrations on these Shabbats. Hence, these are three weeks of elation that continues until the month of Elul. The Hebrew acronym of Elul means: "I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me"
[VJ1]טעות במקור. שם כתוב שזה מתחיל בפסוק ב' למעשה המלים 'שמעו דבר השם' – מתחילות בפסוק ד'
[VJ2]טעות במקור, כתוב 61:1 כאשר למעשה הוא 61:10