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Jan 29, 2008

Rav Ariel on ascending Har Habayit

On Sunday, Rav Aviner published an article in the Makor Rishon newspaper detailing his views regarding Har Habayit (Temple Mount) and the reasons why it is prohibited for Jews to ascend it.
I can no longer find the article, so I will leave it out, but I will continue anyways, and later add rav Aviner's article when I find it.. (it seems to be missing from the website, as you can see if you follow the link above)

Yesterday, Rav Yisrael Ariel published a response to Rav Aviner refuting each of Rav Aviner's claims and points and calling upon Rav Aviner to retract what he said. This is what Rav Ariel writes...
Rav Shlomo Aviner titles his article from Sunday in Makor Rishon "Do not touch the Mount or its edge". The Rav comes out prohibiting ascending Temple Mount and he adds, "There is no mitzva among the 613 Mitzvos of the Torah to ascend Temple Mount".
The Rav uses the verse in this past week's parsha that says "Guard yourself from ascending the mount (Mt. Sinai in the verse) or from touching it for whomever touches it shall surely die" - that is a timely warning.
The Rav recounts the various gedolei yisrael and gedolei Yerushalayim, among them Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook zt"l and Rav Goren zt"l who prohibited ascending Temple Mount.
It is amazing that a halachic article by a Rav, coming to annul the obligation to build the Temple in our day, is written without sources from Chaza"l. Because Temple Mount and the Temple consist of a third of all the mitzvos in the Torah, that is about 200 mitzvos, one should wonder how, with the stroke of a pen, one can just wipe away 200 mitzvos, and that is without even bringing a serious source.
First we will deal with the facts mentioned in his article: The Rav claims that Rav Goren zt"l prohibited ascending the Mount. The facts are different. Rav Goren publicized a complete sefer called "Har Habayit" that completely deals with the appropriate method of entering Temple Mount in our days. In the introduction to the book, Rav Goren dedicates 10 pages to describing the military seminary that he set up on the Mount. he further describes the prayers he led on Temple Mount including the reading of the Torah. In the book it describes the battle he had with the Defense Minister and the whole government about having prayers and a permanent place on the Temple Mount. Rav Goren established a permanent synagogue int eh Temple Mount complex, that exists even today. Rav Goren held minyanim regularly on 9 Av and Yom Kippur and prayed there regularly until the last day of his life. the synagogue continues to function today in the same format using the special prayers to be said upon Temple Mount, as brought in the gemara and Rambam, and as established by Rav Goren zt"l. The Rav (Goren) held conferences of Rabbonim and caused made much ruckus about Temple Mount and what happens there. Whoever knew Rav Goren knows that one of the things that shortened his life was the deteriorating situation on Temple Mount. And now Rav Aviner tells us something new that Rav Goren prohibited (!!!) ascending the Mount...
Rav Aviner further writes that "Maybe you will say: we do not go up because of holiness, rather in order to "conquer" - that is not how we conquer the Mount! We conquer it with effecting the Divine Presence in the place."
Since Rav Aviner quotes many times "Our Rabbi Rav Zvi yehuda Kook zt"l" who prohibited ascending, we should get down to the facts: Rav Kook and Rav David Cohen the Nazir both went up to Temple Mount together on the day it was recaptured on 28 Iyar in 1967. The both spoke and decided they are going in as a function of "conquering"!
While they were walking on the Mount they met the Chief Rabbis of Israel;Rav Unterman and Rav Nissim. When Rav Kook arrived home, he decalred "I went up to Temple Mount from the halachik point of "conquering"!. The Nazir made the same declaration (in an interview with the newspaper HaTzofeh 26 av 1967. I also have testimony from Rav Menachem Cohen who witnesses the Rabbonim entering Temple Mount. The author of this article [Rav Ariel himself] is also a first-hand witness to some of the above events.)
Now is the place to wonder: Rav Kook went in himself with his own feet onto Temple Mount as a "conquerer", yet Rav Aviner argues with "Our Rabbi" and says "This is not how we conquer Temple Mount.. rather we conquer the Mount with effecting Divine Presence!". Whose opinion should we accept - the opinion of "Our Rabbi" Rav Kook, or the opinion of his student [Rav Aviner]??
Maybe you will say Rav Aviner brings a proof from the Great Rabbi the Rambam who said that Temple Mount we do not conquer with weapons, as we do Eretz Yisrael, rather Temple Mount we conquer by effecting the Divine Presence (Rambam in Hil' beis HaBechira 6:17). We will turn to one of the only sources Rav Aviner uses in his article and read what he writes - this is the actual text of the Rambam there "the holiness of the Temple and Jerusalem because of the Divine Presence never fades". Where does it say that we do not conquer Temple Mount with weapons? See how he drafts the great Rabbi the Rambam for his fight against conquering Temple Mount, using a source that does not contain anything relevant to the topic!

I should point out that the Rambam describes in a very detailed fashion how he ascended Temple Mount - "the Great and Holy House" on 6 Cheshvan, and how he made the day of his ascension to a day of celebration for the rest of his life. It seems from his words that he did not wait for the Divine Presence to return, but went on a special trip to Temple Mount in order to daven there and to do what he could minimally do during its state of destruction.

There is place to expand on this further, but it seems to me that due to the responsibility of "fear and honor of the Temple" we are obligated to not dig it in for the sake of digging it in.

It should be asked: If we do not conquer the Temple Mount with weapons, but with Divine Presence, why did Judah Maccabee fight a very bloody war , with few against many, in order to reconquer Temple Mount and the Temple? How did he not think of the concept that seems so simple that we should conquer it with "kindness and love ", in the words of Rav Aviner? Why do we sing for over two thousand years on Hannukah about "the might and the battles" and why do we point out the "holy priests"? We have a Rav who claims that is a lll a mistake, as we do not conquer and build the Temple with weapons, but "with undemanding love the Temple will be rebuilt". Who here is mistaken?

The title of the article is a concentration of his whole methodology: how to disconnect from the Temple. I should point out about the title that in the past the same verse was used against people who made aliya to the Land of Israel. See the book of Rav Yisrael TaShma "knesset Chachmei Ashkenaz" where he brings a drasha that was commonly accepted in the days of the Baalei Tosafos among groups who disconnected themselves from eretz Yisrael, and they would say "Guard yourself from going up to the Mount [of the Land of Israel] and from touching its edge {an admonition to not force the end of times] -for whomever shall touch the Mount shall die [from too much holiness of the land], for he shall be stoned [whoever goes to Israel] or shall be smitten [because one cannot keep the difficult commandments that are dependent upon the Land], at the time of Yovel [only upon the blast of the shofar of the Messiah] will they go up to the Mount [then we will go to the Land of Israel].
So we have a rehashing of the same misuse of the verse, this time for the Temple Mount - and that is being done within the Holy Jerusalem!

The phrase of Rav Aviner is already common by us " Regarding Temple matters - we are Satmar!" Therefore he troubled himself to mention the phrase from the ay after the giving of the Torah, lest we forget God forbid, a third of the 613 commandments and we might go build the Temple.

According to rav Aviner's opinion, how will the Temple be rebuilt? he has the winning formula of "Undemanding love, longing, and Divine Presence" for rebuilding the Temple.

And we simply thought that the Torah writes otherwise (Shmos 25:8) "Make for Me a Temple and I will dwell within". Meaning, first fulfill one of the 613 commandments that are relevant to the Temple Mount and Temple and build it, and only then will the Divine Presence rest there.

Int eh words of Chazal it is described that the Divine presence did not rest on the Temple immediately after it was built.. only after Moshe and Aharon made a special supplication did the jews merit to have the Shechina rest in their handiwork (of the mishkan).

This is how Rashi describes it (Vayikra 9:23): the entire 7 days (of training) they constructed and deconstructed the structure daily, yet the Presence did not come. the people were complaining to Moshe that all the work they did the Shechina should come!. Meaning even after all teh donations of gold and silver from the jews and the great work invested in the mishkan and the vessels, even then it was still not promised to Israel that the shechina would rest there, and Moshe had to daven that the shechina should come down on their work.

And now Rav Aviner teaches us something new "Hashem builds jerusalem" - when the mitzvos reach a certain number and quantity, suddenly the temple will be built! Meaning, there is no more mitzva to build the Temple in our days, there is no need to donate gold and silver, there is no need to build the Temple! Just with undemanding love, with performing mitzvos, with longing, the Divine Presence will come on its own and the mikdash will be built and the Shechina will rest on it!

We will also say to Rav Shlomo Aviner HaKohen While you admonish us and recommend to us that we should be satisfied with simply longing for the Temple, we will also fulfill the commandment of rebuke and we will say "retract what you said!"


  1. OMG! I don't know if I'm making too big a deal out of this but it seems like a big deal to me.

    I just get so frustrated at things like this. Sometimes I feel like I've been steadily feed a load of garbage and now I have to weed through everything I learned to find the real Torah that I had been originally looking for.

    A rabbi once said to my husband, "take everything people tell you and put it in a temp file" that is such good advice.

    It seems like just like in the christian world, people like to use "Torah" just to prove their own personal, preferred point.

    How can someone sift through and find truth? I suppose to that Rav. Aviner that WAS truth? Maybe I'll just do what I want. Believe things as I feel it. lol

    (sometimes I really like to compare nowadays to the times of the judges)

  2. My comment is this:



    Dear You,
    Attached with this letter is the conceptual copy of “Unlocking the True Messianic Gate and the Long Awaited Messiah” article. Since few months ago, this item is in circulation at the academic media in the Old City of Jerusalem for its knowledge, magnitude and realistic impact.
    Some of the conclusions drawn by this article are:
    The true Eastern Gate of Solomon’s Temple (i.e. The True Messianic Gate) IS NOW REVEALED AND OPEN by the announcement of this article.

    The present Golden Gate built by the Arabs and the King Herod’s Eastern Gate buried underneath it are both false and fake. Neither one of the two mentioned gates does fit or belongs to the genuine designed pattern of the First Temple. This fact is coded and preserved in the Holy Rock geometrical structure (see article). Consequently:

    There is No Messiah that will ever come the way we are programmed and waiting for;
    To open neither one of the two false and sealed eastern gates mentioned above.

    The author who revealed the true hidden location of Solomon’s Eastern Gate (see article); is the One who truly Opened the True Messianic Gate. Granted by the Divine, his gifted knowledge which includes many other things is the real Messiah we are all waiting for. Opening of the True Messianic Gate is but one of many truth which still waiting for us to work out and share.

    Yet, this revealed truth still has to be shared by people whom are waiting for the hope and good news of the End Days events. So, enjoy and share the news of revealing the True Messianic Gate with others and may the Dear Lord Blesses you all and shade His light upon us soon for His Glory.


    NB. Other conceptual work of the author is at the Hyper Dimensional Design Forum:

  3. As a young man I had the pleasure and privilege to occasionally hear Torah from both these rabbanim. I would point out that they know each other well, both learned by Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, both taught many of us who came after them. A dispute between them is genuinely l'shaim shamayim, though certainly no small matter.

    As an historical aside, it is worth noting that Rav Ariel is one of the paratroopers who liberated the Kotel and Temple Mount on the 28th of Iyar.

  4. miriam:

    "How can someone sift through and find truth?"

    by reading rafi's blogs!

  5. Rafi,

    Thank you for publicizing Rav Ariel's response.

    In any event, when one instructs the people to transgress Torah prohibitions, punishable by Karet, one may not listen to him, ask him questions, nor trust in his articles or books.

    The letter from Rabbi LIor, Rabbi Levanon, and Rabbi Ya'aqov Yosef may seen in English and in Hebrew by clicking here.

  6. Here is the article by Rav Aviner
    אל תגעו בהר ובקצהו


  7. I am posting this for the benefit of future readers.

    With specific regard to RTYK on the Har Habayit, Rav Ariel seems to have represented the story. The proof is that in all the years, RTYK never went up to Har Habayot.

    Numerous students have testified that RTYK forbade ascending the Har Habayit.

    The most absolute proof is that RTYK himself signed a proclamation forbidding ascension to the Har Habiyit ( signed along with both chief Rabbi's, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Eliezer
    Waldenberg, and others). To view this proclamation, see here: http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5762summer/TEMPLEMO.PDF


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