This upcoming Sunday is כ’ סיון. Rabbeinu Tam established a Ta’anis on this day after the blood libel in the year 1171 – ד’תתקל”א, in the city of Blois, France. It was reinstated as a fast day in the year 1298 – ה’נ”ח, after the Rintfleisch Massacres. Rintfleisch ym”sh led a rebellion against the government and meanwhile killed and burned 4-5,000 Jews, including the author of הגהות מיימונית and other Rishonim. This massacre marked the decline of Jews in Germany in the last few generations of the Rishonim.
Later after the Khmelnytsky Uprising in the years ת”ח ות”ט 1648-9 in Eastern Europe, in which tens of thousands of Yidden were brutally killed, the fast was reinstated again.
During the Holocaust, the majority of the killings of Hungarian Jewry happened around this time in the year, and many Kehillos added the Holocaust to the row of devastations that this fast is commemorating.
Today very few people fast, but many Kehillos say Selichos, including Belz. In Pupa, they say the Selichos very early morning like in the Aseres Yemei Teshuva.
The Belzer Rebbe Shlit”a recently instated a special composed Selichos for the Holocaust that we say together with the other Selichos. Click Here for the Selichos.
In a fascinating piece, the Ohev Yisroel, the Apter Ruv, reveals that כ’ סיון is the beginning of Yom Kippur and if a person conducts כ’ סיון properly, they will also conduct Yom Kippur properly. He says וסימנך כי יד על כס י-ה, the word “כס” is acronym for כ’ סיון, and “י-ה” is acronym for יום כיפורים.
In a similar vein R’ Pinches Kuritzer writes that the three weeks comprise of 21 days and they are against the 21 days of all the Yomim Tovim. The days of mourning in Klal Yisroel are tied with the Yomim Tovim and the Yomim Noraim.
What is the connection between them?
In essence, they are two sides of the same coin. Both are about the revelation of Kevod Shamayim in this world. We mourn the Tzar of Klal Yisroel, it is the Tzar of the Shechinah, and on Yom Tov we celebrate the revelation of Kedusha and Kevod Shamayim . Especially Yom Kippur which is a glimpse of “לעתיד לבא”, when Kevod Shamayim will be fully revealed and the world will be perfect.
The Yidden represent Hashem in the finite world. The fact that we mourn Tzaros that happened many centuries ago, is because we are one nation and all of Klal Yiroel share one national soul. Everything that happened to Klal Yisroel in the past is as if it happens to us too. This idea itself is a revelation of Kevod Shamayim, because the soul of Klal Yisroel is the Shechina, and when we see Klal Yisroel alive and vibrant it’s a גילוי שכינה. When we mourn it’s a sign of being alive. When we mourn we attach ourselves to the past and to the future, when the world will come to perfection. This is the epitome of vibrancy. A nation that dwells only in the presence is all but dead.
Our mourning for the suffering of the Yidden throughout the years of Galus and the mourning for the loss of Kevod Shamayim, is the greatest preparation for celebrating the revelation of Kevod Shamayim in the upcoming Yomim Tovim.