Re'eh: Ascend the Temple Mount

If only there was a will to do so.

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Levi Chazen,

Levi Chazen
Levi Chazen
"Three times a year all your males should appear before HaShem, your G-d in the place that He will choose...."

Not only was it a commandment to ascend to Jerusalem and the Holy Temple during the three major holidays
The majority of the rabbis in our time have come out against ascending the Mount.
when the Temple stood on its rightful spot, but even today one can fulfill the commandment of Morah HaMikdash - fearing the Temple site - even though the Temple has been destroyed.

The Rambam writes that even though the Temple has been destroyed, one still has to fear the Temple Mount, for the Divine Presence never left it. How is this commandment, which is one of the 613 commandments in the Torah, fulfilled? By not making a shortcut though the Temple Mount, by not wearing leather shoes, not spitting, carrying a cane or a pouch outside of his clothing. If one ascends the Mount without doing any of those forbidden acts, then he fulfills a commandment of the Torah. A commandment which is simple enough to fulfill, but unfortunately has been greatly neglected for the longest time.

If there is a commandment to ascend the Temple Mount, why is it, then, that still the majority of the rabbis in our time have come out against ascending the Mount, by placing a ban in 1967, which has been reinforced time and time again when the possibility to ascend the Mount became realistic once again? The latest ban came a few days ago, when some leading rabbis came out against ascending the Mount.

First, it's noteworthy that none of these rabbis who forbid going up to the Mount have ever come out with a halacha - Jewish law - reason why it is forbidden to ascend the Mount. While many papers have been written by top scholars as to why the Jewish people should ascend the Mount in our day, none have been written explaining why it is forbidden to do so.

Assuming that the rabbis are concerned that not everyone is an expert on where the location of the Temple was on the Mount and so people might enter forbidden areas - very simply, a map would explain to people when they ascend the Mount where to go and where not to go. Or marks could be placed on the floor of the Mount clarifying the locations. This could all be done very simply if there was a will to do so.

As for the location of the Temple itself, almost all the scholars who have studied the Mount today have come to the conclusion of the great halachic authority from 500 hundred years ago, the Radvaz. He wrote "without a doubt the golden dome covering the rock is the location of the Holy of Holies." The language which the Radvaz uses in halachic terminology is very strong - "without a doubt". Why, then, should we today question this halachic ruling?
Rambam himself ascended the Mount on his journeys in the Land of Israel.

We find that the Rambam himself ascended the Mount on his journeys in the Land of Israel. He wrote in his diary on the 6th of Tishrei that "we ascended the Temple Mount and entered where the great and holy House was and prayed there, after which I made a vow that this day would be a celebration, like a holiday for me and my descendants, forever."

If it is such a clear issue, why then don't the majority of the rabbis today approve of ascending the Mount? Could it be a larger issue which is bothering them? Such as the issue that the Arabs control the Mount and they do not wish to face this problem? It is much easier just to ban Jews from the Mount than to face the fact that the Arabs control the holiest place on Earth.

There is something not right, not honest about their judgment. If Jews are not allowed to enter the Temple Mount, then what about the Arabs? Where are the same rabbis who so quickly ban the Jews from the Mount, when it comes to the Arabs? Is there a greater Chilul HaShem - desecration of G-d's Great Name - than having the Arabs control the Mount, our most holy site? For if one is in pain he certainly cries out, so where is their cry over this great Chilul HaShem? Shockingly, we do not hear it.

In our day, we must strengthen ourselves and ascend the Temple Mount now more than ever; not only is this the Torah way and a commandment, but it is the only way to show the Arabs and the world that the Mount belongs only to the Jewish people.