(Courtesy: Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter)
This is the lesson of the Three Weeks: that even in a time of exile, even when God is most concealed, we must call out to Him with hearts that are full of hope and anticipation for the Redemption. If we take the pain and bitterness of the exile and transform it into sighs of longing and expectation, then we will surely experience the fulfillment of our Sages’ words: “Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit to see its joy” (Berachot 33a). That is, even in the midst of exile, we can see a glimmer of light from the future Redemption – we will “merit to see it” from a distance, and this will add joy to our lives even now.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchov said something similar in connection with the verse: “I will call out that God is to be praised, and I will be delivered from my enemies” (Tehillim 18:4). Since the verse mentions praise before deliverance, Rashi explains that Dovid (David) was saying: “I will praise God at all times, even before the deliverance comes, because I trust that He will save me.” And Rabbi Levi Yitzchok explained that when King Dovid would pay to God in the midst of his troubles, he would picture himself as already being saved praising God for the deliverance. So too, even in the darkest moments of exile, we can anticipate the Redemption, and that will help us call out to God.