Tikkun Chatzot

We should all yearn to merit getting up in the middle of the night to recite Tikkun Chatzot, where we mourn over the destruction of Beit HaMikdash (the Temple). We also mourn the concealment of the light of the true tzaddikim. It is also a very good time to mourn over our own sins and shortcomings, all of which are delaying the rebuilding of the Temple. We need to strive to see ourselves and our personal situations in the words of Tikkun Chatzot

As per Rebbe Nachman, the time for Chatzot begins six clock hours after nightfall, regardless of the time of year, and lasts for two hours (Likutei Moharan I:149; also see Magen Avraham on Orach Chaim 1:2 and 233:1).

Now, depending on one’s location and time of year, there may not be six hours of nighttime. Also, many people are unable to function properly during the day if they break their sleep to recite Tikkun Chatzot. We can at least strive for and yearn to have the merit to get up at Chatzot. We can ask Hashem to help us.

On nights when we do not have to work the next day, we can at least try to get up, even once a week or once a month. There are a few Kollels in Israel (Kollel Chatzot and Kollel Chatzot Layla) where they get up every night to recite Tikkun Chatzot, to do hitbodedut (personal prayer), and to learn Torah until Shakhrit (Morning Prayers). We can pray for these holy men and also support them.

Another thing we can do until we have the merit to get up every night for Tikkin Chatzot, has been suggested in Rav Avigdor Miller on Tikun Chatzos – The Abridged Version, is that before we go to sleep, we can take a few minutes, sit on the floor [preferably by a doorway that has a mezuza attached, if possible], and think about what we are missing in our lives due to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. These few minutes are more precious than we can ever imagine.

Based on A Day in the Life of a Breslover Chassid, by Rabbi Yizchok Breiter

Yearning for the Temple

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