A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem...
The month of Av began with the diminishing of our joy as we mourn the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. With midday of the 10th of Av, the mourning gave way to the NECHAMA, the comfort of the promise of the Complete Geula, and our challenge to hasten its coming by the study of Torah, practice of Mitzvot, and improvement of the spiritual status of Klal Yisrael and of ourselves. Mourning for the Churban, however, does not exclusively belong to the Three Weeks and the month of Av. Our Sages set before us many things throughout the year that help us mourn the Churban. Tikun Chatzot, special prayers to be recited at midnight, are specifically geared towards "taking advantage" of a very favorable time for prayer. There is the prohibition of building an exceedingly beautiful building, while THE Building is in ruins. This is accomplished by leaving an unplastered and unpainted square AMA near one's doorway. Do not set a completely exquisite table. (there's more)