Mar 22, 2010

Ascending Har HaBayit

7 Nisan. The 7th of every Hebrew month is the day the Bet Shemesh group is scheduled to ascend Har Habayit.

I had not had the ability to go for a long time already, but today worked out well for me, so I umped at the occasion. Especially because of last weeks riots and the three days Har Habayit was closed, I felt it was important to go now that it has been reopened. Along with that, in a week from now we would all be obligated, if it were possible, to go up and bring the korban pesach.

There was a lot of activity in the parking areas outside of the Old City, with people coming and going, and inside the Kotel area was also starting to get busy with bar mitzvahs and tour groups.

I actually felt a little funny going. I almost backed out. Last night, after I did all my preparations for going, I went to bed and read an article from this past week's Mishpacha magazine. The article "happened" to be about the group putting together a collection for the possibile korban pesach. The journalist also spoke with Rav Kook and Rav Neventzal about the concept, and about Har HaBayit in general. Obviously they both said it is prohibited to ascend. I said to myself - this is the article I had to read right before I go up? Maybe it is a sign I should not be going? Then I told myself that my rav allows it, and I also had just "happened" to see some correspondence he had written in response to someone else asking if he could go, so i decided I would go despite the article.

As we were waiting to be allowed up, this group of teenagers came dancing in towards the Kotel area.
And after them came the girls group.

The view of the Kotel from the ramp leading onto Har Habayit

Walking around the Makom HaMikdash

View of the Makom HaMikdash, covered by the Dome of the Rock, from the northern side

From this angle, you can see the estimated spot of the mizbeiach (under the small dome), next to the spot of the Heichal.

The view of Har HaZeisim from the "window" on the Eastern side of the Mount

Security was very tight today, despite the fact that they told us it was currently calm. You could tell they were tense and concerned. We were tracked very closely the whole time by 4 policemen, along with 2 agents of the Waqf. We were followed much closer than usual and by far more people than is common.

Despite that, we succeeded in having Birkat Kohanim, and prostration was done right under their noses using the stairs trick - sitting on the stairs on the eastern side and prostrating from a sitting position (similar to what can be seen in many of the pictures of Machon HaMikdash). After a couple of minutes, one of the policemen said we should not look for trouble and should move it along.

After completing the walk around the Har, we went back out via the Kotel. By now it was getting very busy, with many bar mitzvah boys and their families coming down for their celebrations.

Here is one family, a family of Bucharians, coming for their sons Bar Mitzvah. The son is dressed int he traditional Bucharian garments for the occasion.

...And his father can be seen here from the back in his traditional garments


  1. Very nice pictures and kol hakavod that you went.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'm a little surprised you went, isn't it assur?

  4. silly question.. what do you expect me to say? yes, it is assur but I went anyway... ?

    I believe it is muttar and my rav also holds it is muttar.

  5. I was querying the status of the halacha, as to my limited knowledge people shouldn't ascend...

  6. many rabbonim give a blanket issur for going up. Why? You have to ask them. I cann give you sme of the theories.

    The halacha is though that the only place on the whole area that has an issur kareis is the machaneh shechina - the area of the actual makom hamikdash.

    if one would go there in a state of tumah, he would deserve kareis (there are ways out of that too, but let's stick to the basics).

    Anywhere else on Har Habayot , one is allowed to go up in a state of tumas meis - but not tamei zav and sheretz and other tumas.

    That means, if you go toa d'oraisa mikva before you go to Har Habayit, you are ok and allowed up, even though you are still tamei meis.

    That is in the Torah and is clear and accepted by everybody.

    So why do many rabbonim say it is assur nowadays? technically I should just say you have to ask them. However I am willing to tell you some of the theories as I understand them, though any inaccuracies are mine.

    Some say it is assur because they believe we are not really sure where the makom hamikdash actually was, and it was not necessarily under the Dome of the Rock, but might have been a bit further south, further west, etc. So if we dont know where it is, you cant go up because you might be in the wrong place with tumas meis.

    Another theory is they say it is assur because they are worried about people going up without preparing properly (mikva for this is like a woman going to mikva with similar preparation).

    Another theory is upsetting the goyim doing something that is not even necessary nowadays.

    Another theory is psychological - galus mentality.

    There might be other reasons as well.

    Despite all these problems, technically it is muttar to go to har Habayit in a state of tumas meis, but you have to be careful not to go to certain places. if you feel confident about the knowledge of where things are, so you can go up. if not, you cannot.

    I am confident in those who studied it and are sure of where things are, along with my rav being confident in this as well.

  7. In the pictures everyone's wearing shoes, isn't that a problem? Or is like tisha beav/YK and any non leather shoes are OK?

  8. Thank you for posting these wonderful pictures.

    I feel happy and sad from this post.

  9. Thank you very much for sharing those pictures with us; very moving.

    All i can add is that your preparation and anxiety the night before was an important thing; it shows a realization of the sanctity and awe for Hashem's laws. That is a very very good quality to have.

  10. Shlomo - yes, non-leather shoes are fine. I and one other went barefoot. I personally prefer to have my feet touch the holy ground as it was meant to be. On occasion when I have been up in very cold or rainy weather I have worn non-leather sandals or slippers (the freezing cold and/or wet stone can really make the feet hurt), but generally I try to go barefoot.

    Neshama - thanks. nice thought.

  11. Great pics. Next year may there be a different building on HarHabyit.

  12. Eliyahoo William DwekMarch 28, 2010 5:45 PM

    1. The Dweks from Aleppo, Syria, are the only family of the true Cohanim.

    We are the only true descendants of Aharon HaCohen, the Cohen HaGadol.

    And, we are the only true descendants of Pinhas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaCohen.

    It was the great act of Pinhas, who stopped the plague in Am Yisrael, when he struck the spear into Cozbi and Zimri. 24,000 died in a plague from the sins of idolatry and immorality with the Midianite women.

  13. Eliyahoo William DwekMarch 28, 2010 5:46 PM

    2. Anyone who has taken on the surname, ‘Cohen’/’Kohen’ is clearly identifiable as a fraud, a liar and an imposter of the true Cohanim.

    This goes right back to his original ancestor who LIED, and said he was a Kohein when he was not.

    Anyone called, ‘Mr. Cohen’ or ‘Rabbi Cohen’ is definitely NOT a Cohen. Someone who calls himself, ‘Mr. Cohen’ or ‘Rabbi Kohain’ is effectively calling himself, ‘Mr. Torah!’

    3. The Kohanim are part of the Torah – but they are not called, ‘Mr. Torah.’

    It is preposterous for a man to call himself, ‘Mr. Torah!’

    If someone makes you a cup of coffee, or sells some bread to you, will you say, ‘Thank you Mr. CoffeeMaker!’ or, ‘Thank you Mr. Baker?!’

    4. The coffeemaker and the baker have a Family Name.

    Similarly with the true Cohanim.

    And that family name is, ‘DWEK.’

  14. What does Dwek mean, and why do you say Dwek is the only true descendant? Why cant there be others? Any surname is a name that was taken so why can't some have taken Dwek and some from other parts of the world have taken a different name?

    Disclaimer: I lay no claim to being a Kohen. But I do know someone who used to buy the aliya for kohein on one fo the yomim tovim (I forget which, I think it was simchas torah), and he would pressure all the kohanim to leave the beit knesset so he could have the aliya.


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