Rabbi Eliezer Melamed ascends Temple Mount

Leading rabbi, who has favored Temple Mount ascent in past writings, this morning joins dozens of Jews who ascend Mount daily.

Mordechai Sones ,

Rabbi Melamed on the Temple Mount
Rabbi Melamed on the Temple Mount
Yakov Vineberger

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Rabbi of the Samaria community of Har Bracha and the founder of the community's Hesder yeshiva, ascended the Temple Mount Thursday morning.

Rabbi Melamed's arrival represents a significant boon to those who ascend the Temple Mount, after the rabbi had already expressed himself in favor of ascending the Mount in purity according to halakhic rules, writing that Harav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, late head of Jerusalem's Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, would have changed his opinion against ascending were he alive today.

Rabbi Melamed referred to the importance of ascending the Temple Mount for two consecutive weeks in his regular column in the newspaper B'Sheva as part of his writings on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Goren zt"l.

הרב אליעזר מלמד בעלייה להר הבית
צילום: אברהם בלוך

Rabbi Melamed wrote: "Based on three main reasons, it is permitted and proper to ascend to the Temple Mount in Tahara (purity):

  • A) The many testimonies that for more than a thousand years after the destruction, the great Sages would pray on the Temple Mount;
  • B) For three-hundred years Jews were not allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, until doubt arose as to where the Temple was located (which takes up an area of less than 10 percent of the Temple Mount). However, following the Mount's liberation it was possible to re-measure the territory and determine with certainty where the Temple was located, and in any case, where it is permitted to ascend in purity; and
  • C) The threat to Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount."

Rabbi Melamed also addressed the great Torah scholars who forbade pilgrimage to the Mount, and especially the attitude of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Hakohen Kook zt "l on the issue.

"In my humble opinion, it would appear that if Rav Tzvi Yehudah Hacohen Kook would see that the excessive caution about ascending the Mount leads to the loss of sovereignty and turns the Mount into a source of hatred against Israel, he would agree with Rabbi Goren that it is permitted and commanded to ascend. In my further humble opinion, he would have relied on Rabbi Goren's halakhic inquiries regarding the permitted places to enter."

הרב אליעזר מלמד בהר הבית
צילום: יעקב וינברגר

Spokesman of the Temple Organization Headquarters Asaf Fried welcomed Rabbi Melamed's joining the expanding ranks of Temple Mount visitors. "The redemption of the Mount and the Temple's return received great reinforcement today with the ascent of Rabbi Melamed," says Fried.

While many rabbis, among them Rabbi Goren, promote ascending the mount, there are as many rabbis who forbid ascending the mount citing halakhic reasons and do not view it as a way to assert sovereignty. However, Fried notes that during Hanukkah many rabbis, leading more than a thousand Jews, ascended the Temple Mount for the first time since its liberation.