We have now entered a period of time – the three weeks between 17 Tamuz and 9 Av – when we recall the events leading to the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. Added to that is the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and other tragic events, such as the expulsion from Spain in 1492. There are different customs observed at this time, some more strict than others, and there are those (this writer included) who question how much mourning there should be at this time when Jewish sovereignty has been restored and Jerusalem is hardly the abandoned, destroyed ruin depicted in so much of the liturgy and dirges written to be recited in this period.From a historical point of view, there is a dispute as to whether Tisha Be’av was observed during the period of time between the return to Zion from Babylonia and the destruction of the Second Temple. After all, the prophet Zechariah had predicted that these days of mourning would become “occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Judah” (8:19) when the Temple would be rebuilt – as it was. Should there not be a similar recognition of what has happened in this time as well, at the very least a relaxation of some of the mourning customs? The question of what brought about the catastrophe of the year 70 CE preoccupied the minds of the sages. The writings in the Bible are quite clear about the reason for the destruction of the First Temple. The prophet Jeremiah spent his entire career predicting what would happen if the people of Judea did not abandon their wickedness and return to the ways of the Lord. “…if you execute justice between one man and another; if you do not oppress the stranger, the orphan, and the widow… then only will I let you dwell in this place…” (Jeremiah 7:5).