This period is known as the three weeks, or in Hebrew beyn ha-metzorim, which means “in the straits.” The phrase comes from Jeremiah’s Lamentations Judah is exiled…all her pursuers overtake her in the straits” (1:3). Bookmarked by two fast days, this sad period culminates on Tisha b’Av, a twenty-five hour fast marking the destruction of the Temple and subsequent exile. As it happens, all the Torah portions we read in this period contain touchstones relating to the land of Israel. Pinchas – instructs how the land was divided among the tribes; next week’s double parasha, Matot has a request of some tribes to settle on the other side of the Jordan, and Massei gives the borders of the land of Israel; Devarimhas Moses retelling the stories of the spies and the people spurning the land.