The Seventeenth day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz marks the fall of the city of Jerusalem to the Romans, and the Ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (Tishah BeAv),
commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple (the Beis HaMikdash
The three weeks between these two fast days are a period of bitterness and introspection. We take stock of the faults that led to the destruction of the Temple, and try to eradicate them from our own conduct.
Why was the Temple destroyed? One of the reasons given by our Sages was unwarranted hatred. The Jewish people, even during the siege of Jerusalem, remained fractionalized and divided. And on the individual level, there was a lack of concern, love, and respect for each other.
How can this be corrected? By showing unrestrained love. By reaching out to another person - any other person - and showing him care, consideration, and concern. Do a favor for someone else, not because there is a reason to do so, but because you care for him.
Don't spend time thinking of reasons why and whether you should help another person. Use that same time to think about how you can help him.
Do good. Don't wait for others to start. Be an initiator, the others will respond. It's impossible that they won't. Some will react sooner; for others, the process will take more time. Ultimately, the heart opens to the heart. There is no human being who can see another person continue to shower good upon him and others without being moved.
What is the motivating principle for this motif? The fact that at the core of every person there lies a soul which is a G-dly spark, and that every element of existence is being maintained by G-d each moment. Knowing this inspires a person to reach out.
And by conducting ourselves in a manner that attests to and reflects these truths, we nudge them closer to revelation. Every entity seeks to express its inner nature. Reaching out with love and kindness inspires and encourages the good and generosity that lie at the core of all others to come to the surface.
Such deeds affect the macrocosm as well as the microcosm, bringing closer the Era of the Redemption, when these concepts will be concrete realities, not merely abstract truths.