As song as we continue to lack our rebuilt Beit HaMikdash (the Temple), we must feel genuine sorrow over its destruction. Tikkun Chatzot, the midnight lamentations, is our prescribed daily prayer for expressing our yearning for our Holy Temple.
During the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), the days in which the destruction took place, we increase our mourning. On Tisha B’Av, the grief is at its peak, as we fast, sit on the ground, cry, and recite lamentations.
Our Sages tell us that from the time of the destruction of the Temple it is forbidden to laugh with a full heart. However, we must not allow ourselves to fall into sadness, either.
When we cry, we must be careful to cry only for the right reasons. Our tears should be tears of yearning and not of grievance and complaint, G-d forbid. We must be very careful to not fall into needless crying, which causes all destruction.
Crying and mourning during the Three Weeks is not the end in itself. It is to remind us to strive to rectify the reasons for the destruction of our Beit HaMikdash, to know what we lost due to our sins, and to long for Hashem. The main point is to repent and remedy the root cause of the destruction, needless crying and complaining to Hashem.
Here, t’shuva (repentance) is to stop our needless crying and complaining, and to constantly feel gratitude to Hashem for all that He does for us. During the Three Weeks and during our daily Tikkun Chatzot prayers, we cry and yearn for the lack our rebuilt Beit HaMikdash. The rest of the time, we need to be happy and thank Hashem for all the good He constantly does for us.
Based on The Garden of Gratitude, By Rabbi Shalom Arush