Israel – Haredi Rabbis Protesting Chutzpadik Visit to Har HaBayis

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    Rabbi Moshe Tendler visting Har Habbyit July 3 2008

    Israel – Leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis are waging a new offensive against Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

    Rabbis Shalom Elyashiv, Chaim Kanievsky and Ovadia Yosef sent a letter to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the overseer of holy places in the Western Wall complex, urging him to reiterate the religious decree signed 40 years ago by most rabbis in Israel forbidding Jews from entering the Mount.

    The rabbis’ efforts follow the visit of Rabbi Moshe Tendler, the son-in-law of prominent U.S. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ZT’L, to the Temple Mount.

    Rabbi Tendler was photographed visiting the plaza atop the Mount, igniting a firestorm of controversy in the ultra-Orthodox community.

    The rabbis’ statement calls for a complete ban on entering any part of the Temple Mount complex for fear of compromising the “purity” of the area.

    The declaration stated that “as time passed, we have lost knowledge of the precise location of the Temple, and anyone entering the Temple Mount is liable to unwittingly enter the area of the Temple and the Holy of Holies,” referring to the inner sanctuary of the Temple tabernacle.

    Rabbi Elyashiv urged Rabinovich to place notices and guards around the complex to warn the faithful of the prohibition.
    Rabbi Kanievsky wrote that “entrance to the Temple Mount, and the defilement of the Holy of Holies, is more severe than any of the violations in the Torah.”

    After Israel gained control of the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War, the chief rabbinate placed signs around the complex informing visitors that entering the area would result in divine punishment, namely death.

    But recent years have seen a change in position among national-religious rabbis, many of whom have made efforts to lift the ban on visiting the Mount. The change in position is due partly to damage caused to Jewish antiquities at the site, and the denial by Muslim authorities of Jewish links to the area.

    Visits by religious Jews to the site have also increased significantly. Some rabbis have cited the principle of the “law of conquest,” according to which territories in the Holy Land must be wrested from “foreign” control.

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    52 COMMENTS

    1. If these Rabbis do not want to go, good for them and anyone who wants to listen to them — but they should not be allowed to stop any Jew today who disagrees with them and wants to visit the Har HaBayis. Instead of doing all they can to try to stop Jews from going to visit the Har HaBayis, it seems to me that it is much more important to direct our efforts into stopping the non-Jews from being there — and certainly to do all we can to remove the Arabs who hate us from being there, especially since they are doing all they can to eradicate any trace of Jewish history at the Temple site. I say dismantle the mosque that is there and remove it from our holy Jewish land. Reestablish Jewish sovereignty over all of Israel, especially in Jerusalem our capitol and on the Har HaBais.

    2. these people are putting all of klal yisroel in serious risk by ignoring our gedolim. what is this moshe 10:53 talking about? you’re suggesting yidden causing world war 3! the third beis hamikdosh will come when it is ready we don’t need to clear space for it. big chillul Hashem for rabbi Tendler to visit. who has the right to ignore our gedolim on such a big issue?

    3. From what I have read, the idea of a ban on visiting the Har HaBayis is very modern. Throughout history, when Jews visited Eretz Yisroel, before the modern Medina, they visited the Har haBayis. There was no ban and not even the idea of a ban.

    4. Moshe 10:53

      What you are saying is 100% against Torah. Dont you know we are supposed to follow our elders, the great gedolim of our generation? Thats the problem with many yidden today, they usurp our gedolim and have no respect or honor for them. We have Jews inventing their own interpretations, including rogue rabbis who create apikores movements/ideologies like Rabbi Tendler. He brought great shame to his family and committed a Chillul Hashem.

    5. No where in the Haaretz article to the refer to Rabbi Tendler’s visit as Chutzpadik. Rabbi Tendler is a controversial figure and if you want to criticize him at least stick to criticism that have been made by rabbonim who are in a position to do so. Incidentally, Rav Elyashiv’s grandson-in-law also went on the temple mount. Was that visit also Chutzpadik?

    6. Moshe:

      It’s not our concern if non-jews or arabs go on the har habayis. It is important to make sure that other yidden know that there is a halachik issue over here.

    7. Going up on the temple mount is not allowed ,not only in this world era before Moshiach comes but also falls into the category of Halachos that are going to stay after Moshiach comes,being so is, why its so harsh the leniency of a Jew allowing himself onto the Har Habayis,and no ban should have any effect on the Bnei Yisroel,but every Yid should feel a Choiv to the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash,and reiterate within himself the Yesod of being a Yid! Shabsa Tuva

    8. Please excuse these Gedloim, they deserve our utmost respect. The fact is , they are doing now, what they know best, and that is the ‘ban’. When is anyone going to have the courage to ban the ban?….

    9. the problem is that today there is no recognition of gedolim. its as if they have left us. yes, we have great learned rabbonim in yeshivas but no leaders of the great numbers of jews, no one to feel close to or look up to.

    10. I agree that Gedolim should be respected.

      One of those who visited portions of the Temple Mount is named “Moshe ben Maimon,” and was othersise known as the “Rambam.” Would the readers of this blog consider the Rambam one of the Gedolim deserving of our respect?

      If so, I wonder why someone else’s going up there is considered “Chutspadik”?

      Whatever one thinks of Rabbi Tendler, he is not the only one to have decided that it is both permissable and a mitzvah to go up to certain portions of the Temple Mount. Amongst them are grat and humble scholars who are not controversial at all.

    11. Anon 1:30

      You are right but how come no complaining about Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky?????

      Isnt this the Tendler father whose 2 sons both rabbis accused of sex with thier students/mispaalim???

    12. Strange…that one of the comments on this page mentions that the original version of this article named Rabbi Dov Kook who is married to Hagaon HaRav Elyashiv’s Grand daughter- As another yet Rav who has visited Har Habayis recently.

      THE BOTTOM LINE IS:

      WHY IS THIS ARTICLE AND POSTS BECOMING A PLATFORM TO ATTACK RABBI TENDLER’S SHITOS, IF RABBI KOOK AND OTHERS ARE MENTIONED IN THE SAME ARTICLE AS DOING EXACTLY THE SAME THING AS HIM???

      (AT LEAST VOS IZ NEIAS IS HONEST ENOUGH TO KEEP A BALANCED TITLE FOR THE ARTICLE, L’AFUKEI YESHIVAWORLD.COM THAT HAS ONCE AGAIN PUT PERSONAL BIAS OVER FACTS AND FAIRNESS)

    13. SD,

      Yes the Ramabam IN HIS DAY did ascend but according to the Torah we are supposed to follow what the majority of the gedolim say IN OUR DAY. That applies even if we personally disagree with their conclusion. And whom ever said where are the gedolim arent looking very hard… Look for poseks 😉

    14. Moshe,

      You’re a heretic and a shmuck. How do you have the gall to talk about Gedolei Olam in such a manner. The punishment for people like you is beyond comparison. Do teshuva quick if you know what’s good for you.

    15. LSD,

      The letter says that we lost the mesorah – today, in our time. Its entirely possible that at the Rambams time he had the mesorah. Either way, if the Gedolim ban it, our opinions are worthless.

    16. I agree with anon 2;59. If some permit and some say not then who can you follow? Your local rav thats who. A rav in my town very well known says its ok. many say its ok. so I follow my rav. you follow yours. live and let live and dont make a judgment gnai on a think you dont know noting about.

    17. These Rabbis upset at R’ Tender’s visit there should BE QUIET and stop causing machlokes — and playing right into the hands of the enemy. Barring Jews from going up to the Har Ha Bayis is doing the work of the Arab rashaim, who are trying desperately to bar us from it completely and who insist to the world that we have no right to be anywhere near there because it is allegedly a “Muslim holy site” (they include the Kotel in their shameless and brazen land grab, and barred us from it all the years in which they controlled it). Continued Arab control of the Temple Mount, aided by the absence of the Jews, whether it is out of the “religious” Jews’ ultra-machmir reading of the prohibitions or the secular liberal Jews’ grant of primacy and superiority there to the Muslims and their reluctance to “trespass” on a “Muslim holy site” is a far, FAR greater chillul Hashem than the off-chance that a Jew visiting up there MIGHT transgress the former location of the two Temples.

    18. Aaron K said at 11:17:

      ” Remember that the last inifada started because that fat chazer Sharon visited the Temple Mount.”

      Wrong,Wrong, and WRONG!

      While the so-called “Second Intifada” started in September 2000 after Sharon’s visit there, the rasha chazer Arafat, yimach shmo (thankfully dead now and buring in Gehinom FOREVER) even admitted later on that the so-called “uprising” was no spontaneous outpouring of “rage” by :the Arab street”, as depicted by the gullible liberal media in Israel and the U.S. — it had been carefully planned for months before it began, preparations made, weapons and ammunition (including big rocks) stockpiled, etc, waiting for some excuse to be put into action.

      Sharon’s visit, therefore, was not the cause of the Intifada — merely a convenient pretext for the Arabs, yimach shmom, to do what they had long been planning to do anyway, especially since Arafat did not get everything he wanted out of Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak at the Camp David talks (that was more out of his own stupid, gluttonous greed in overplaying his hand rather than out of any reluctance of the devious Clinton and Bill’s weak puppet Barak to try to appease him).

      In a way, it was exactly like Kristallnacht, which the Nazis, ymach shmom, had been planning for months and months, just waiting for a convenient pretext to put the plan into action and then proclaim it to be a supposedly spontaneous “righteous” venting on an “enraged” German public against the Jews. It was triggered after the Jewish student Greenszpan shot and killed the Nazi stooge diplomat Von Rath, giving Goebbels and Himmler, yimach shmom, the perfect excuse they needed.

    19. To Torah Jew:

      You wrote that “according to the Torah we are supposed to follow what the majority of the gedolim say IN OUR DAY.”

      Would you like to provide a Torah source for this concept? (Please don’t quote the passuk “Acharei Rabbim,” as it refers to the Sanhedrin and has nothing to do with whether respected poskim need to back off just because other poskim (even the majority) do not agree with them. Nor does this passuk say that I am not allowed to follow my own Rav. And, please, let us not get into a session of my Godol is bigger than your Godol, for that is nothing more than childishness and politics.)

      And, by the way, there are Rabbonim who are far more respected than Rabbi Tendler who feel that, despite the objections of these gedolim, that it is a mitzvah to visit certain parts of the Har HaBayis at this time. They respectfully disagree.

    20. Just to quote the Maharil on Avoidas Yom Kippur,that the reason the main Piyutim are related to the Avodah of the Sa’ir Hapnim who was Mechaper on Tumas Mikdosh,and not the Sa’ir la’azazel who was Mechaper on all aveiros,because all the Yiden are responsible to avoid any yid to penetred the Har habais,AND OUR ARVUS ON THAT, NEED MORE KAPORE THAN ALL OTHER AVEIROS THAT WE DID OURSELF!!!

    21. To Rabbi Lebovic:

      Thank you for quoting the Maharil.

      I fail to see, however, what relevance it has to the present situation. It is very clear that there are certain parts of the area around Har HaBayis that are not part of “Har HaBayis” and which Jews throught he centuries (including the Rambam) visited. There was even a Beis HaKennesses there, which the Rambam prayed in.

      The Rabbonim who visit the area of Har HaBayis are extremely careful to avoid those areas that are possibly prohibited.

      The “We have lost the Massorah” about which parts are prohibited is not borne out out by the facts.

    22. 1.The fat chazer Sharon who personally ordered the eviction of 10,000 religous Jews from their home (Eichmann would have been proud) gave the Arabs an excuse to start the Intifada with his recklessness. 2.There is no source at all that the Rambam visited Har Habayis. 3. Rav Elyashiv’s grandson has always been a marginal figure, married to an unfortunately mentally imbalanced charltan who costumes herself as a “baba” rebetzin, he is of no interese in this discussion. 4.Rabbi Mordechai Tendler from Monsey was framed by the same “tolerant” MOs and Lubabs that defend ascending to the Har Habayis today. He assuradly has learned his lesson and now distances himself from them. His Father, a misguided talmid chacham, should do the same.

    23. Look at the last amud of Makkot. R. Akiva and other sages walked through the Kodhsei Kodshim. I don’t understand how anyone could say that doing so is therefore a issur d’oraita.

    24. Quite interesting when rav Elyashiv’s Grandson in law goes to the makom hamikdash it is not a chutzpa. Rather he is classified as marginal, his wife as not normal so why bother with him? Only when Tendler goes does it become a chutzpa.

      We should have one rule for all no matter what family you come from.

      If it is a chutzpa then it is a chutzpa for all no matter who your Grandfather or uncle (Reb Chaim Kanyevsky) is.

    25. aaron k. I live in New Hempstead where Mordechai Tendler was rav of KNH and I know all the facts of the situation and YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!! Framed by MO’s and Lubabs? Are you out of your mind? Stick to things you know.

    26. Its hard [to] fathom (how) one person can [unilaterally] decide which sights (are) holy and where one my traverse. The very purity of (our) nation is at stake. Apologies for[ my] ridiculous use of parentheticals (and) brackets, “I” can’t help myself.

    27. This is NO machlokes as to jews going to certain places on Har Habayit.

      There is a legitimate machloket as to going to other places on Har Habayit.

      The people who bring Jews to Har Habayit are very very careful as to where they go so as not to violate halacha.

      If there are Rabbis who want added chumrot they can announce them and request of their followers – but to demand it of others is WRONG – if I follow another Daas-Torah you have no right to condemn me.

      Further there is Halachic basis to allow Jews on all of Har Habayit because Shlomo Hamelech allowed all Jews to build the Bais Hamikdash as did Ezra as did Herod. But this is a minority opinion in Gemara that questions if churban area still retains level of kedusha.

    28. “Gedoli Hador” according to whom? My gedolim may not be your gedolim, your gedolim not mine. My gedolim may say otherwise. Many things come up in order to not antagonize the arabs. Who is to say that someone isnt listening to HIS gedolim, if in this day and age we dont have universally accepted gedoli hador???

      There are known places on Har Habayis that are 100% NOT where the Heichal stood, and with proper preparation (mikvah) many agree that those places are mutar.

    29. Its hard [to] fathom (how) one person can [unilaterally] decide which sights (are) holy and where one my traverse. The very purity of (our) nation is at stake. Apologies for[my] ridiculous use of parentheticals (and) brackets, “I” can’t help myself.

    30. DerNister Says:

      comments – arrow Look at the last amud of Makkot. R. Akiva and other sages walked through the Kodhsei Kodshim. I don’t understand how anyone could say that doing so is therefore a issur d’oraita.

      Groise gemara kup dernishter,

      I’m sure you also remember the gemara that says they had efer parah doros after the churban, and don’t forget the story with r’ akiva happened just a few years after the churban. Also

      כיון שהגיעו להר הבית ראו שועל שיצא מבית קדשי הקדשים

      doesn’t mean they went on, that got till there, and they certainly didn’t walk into the koshi kodshim, it was a fox that wlaked out of the kodshei kodshim. Stick to sports, or whatever it is that you know.

    31. This is not about Charedim VS Modern, as very large broad spectrum of rabbonim publicly proclaim enter the har habyis is assur gamur

      From the usually unreliable wikipedia “In August 1967 after Israel’s capture of the Mount, the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim, together with other leading rabbis, asserted that “For generations we have warned against and refrained from entering any part of the Temple Mount.”[21] Rabbinical consensus in the Religious Zionist stream of Orthodox Judaism hold that it is forbidden for Jews to enter the Temple Mount. These rabbis include: Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Zalman Baruch Melamed, rosh yeshiva of the Beit El yeshiva; Eliezer Waldenberg, former rabbinical judge in the Rabbinical Supreme Court of the State of Israel; Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Chief Rabbi of Palestine [22]; Avigdor Nebenzahl, Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem. All Haredi rabbis, including Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky[23] and Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, are also of the opinion that the Mount is off limits to Jews and non-Jews alike. Their opinions against entering the Temple Mount are based of the danger of entering the hallowed area of the Temple courtyard and the impossibility of fulfilling the ritual requirement of cleansing oneself with the ashes of a red heifer (see Numbers 19).[24][25] The boundaries of the areas which are completely forbidden, while having large portions in common, are delineated differently by various rabbinic authorities.

      In January 2005 a large group of leading national-religious rabbis signed a declaration confirming that the 1967 decision of Chief Rabbis Unterman and Nissim was still valid, declaring that it is absolutely forbidden for Jews to ascend on the Temple Mount until Moshiach, the Jewish Messiah comes. Rabbis who signed on to the declaration were:[26]

      * Rabbi Yona Metzger, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel

      * Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel

      * Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Sefardi Haredi Judaism and of the Shas party, and former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel

      * Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel

      * Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall

      * Rabbi Avraham Shapiro, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel [27]

      * Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, rosh yeshiva of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva

      * Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv”

    32. This is an extremely complicated matter (not to say the least).

      (1) We have rabbonim wishing to ban visitors to Har Habayis as we are “unsure of the actual site of the Beis Hamikdosh”

      (2) The purity of the holy site is in any event defiled by goyim

      (3) However great these gedolim may seem (and I would respectfully point out that there have been several instances in the past few years where they have been involved in matters best avoided as not necessarily actual halachic issues – and in one instance, an actual halachic issue indicating a lack of knowledge about practices outside yiddishkeit)

      (4) However many rabbonim signed such a decree, this does not give it the authority of a Beis Din equivalent to a Sanhedrin as was with up to the period of the Geonim – in fact, I would say, unless thrashed out together (and not looking over their shoulder to see what others were doing – which effectively passuls them from such a Beis Din) it does not carry the same weight

      (5) Even if a Beis Din does issue a decree, it can be reversed by another Beis Din under certain circumstances – and can be anulled by (most of)the general population choosing to reject the decree (this is the halocha although it probably sits uncomfortably with those wishing to control what others do!)

      (6) By stopping people going to Har Habays, the likelihood of the precise location being forgotten becomes more and more likely

      (7) It could be argued that because of the claims of the WAQF and other arabs, there is a necessity to maintain a physical Jewish presence on Har Habayis under the category of “ais la’asos”

      (8) It is known from Rab Binyomin of Tudelo that there were actually two botei midrashim on Har Habayis in his days (around the 1300s)

      (9) Much of the site of the Beis Hamikdash was added to under Herodian rule – not having been extended by a Navi means that its status is not as severe

      I personally would not go on Har Habayis but feel that there is enough to justify someone confident enough to do so.

      More importantly, however, is the need to avoid yet more machlokes especially in, what many hold is, the heirachy of the present-day frum world – as mentioned in many places, united we stand – divided we fall (see parshas Noach)

      In closing – I am a little confused about a third Beis Hamikdosh only with the coming of Moshiach (may he come speedily in out days). There are several sugyas that suggest the Beis Hamikdosh will be build before he comes (the Rambam seems to also suggest this in Hilchos Malochim) and it appears the the Jewish elders of Rome requested to rebuild the Beis Hamikdosh some 50 years after chorbon Bayis Sheini (of course, they were refused as this could have seriously damage Rome’s economy which was effectively run by the diaspora Jews).

    33. this is a clear fact that the Rambam went on the Har Habait. the only reason of the ban is because the Rabbis were worried about the Hamon Am who are ignorant of all the laws where you are allowed to go. However there is a big list of big rabbis who had no problem with it. its no question that R’ Elyashiv, as a former member of Heichal Shlomo, would be one of the matirim. however, since he is surrounded with cows and donkeys which make sure write the things they want, he has no decision to make. as we see how he himself was matir metzitza but by the Tendler story he wrote against him

    34. Rav Elyashiv Shlit”a was matir the tube in a case where there is a serious risk of infection. He did not assur metzitzah. Dr Tendler broadsided the orthodox community with an attack on metzitzah in a medical journal without consulting gedolei yisroel. Previously the authors met with the Israeli ministry of health on March 13, 2003, (without meeting with gedolei yisroel) in an effort to get the MoH to ban metzitzah. Because one of the mohelim was seronegative, the ministry concluded that the infection still may have come from somewhere else. Dr Beni Gesundheit and company then altered the information that they had shown the Israeli MoH to reflect all the mohelim as being seropositive and submitted it to Pediatrics Nov 11, 2003. . This is just one of the many falsifications and fabrications in their Pediatrics paper. My Favorite is where they write that the Chasam sofer (who died in 1839) was influenced by Ignacz Semmelweis’ May 1847 discovery of disease transmission and therefore permitted the tube which didn’t actually exist until invented by Prof. Max von Pettenkofer in 1887. The paper BTW was twice rejected by JAMA because it’s garbage.

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