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May 23, 2021

Israel is not a halachic state, if halacha is even your issue

In light of what Moshe Gafni said regarding Har Habayit and the issue with Hamas and the Palestinians (see previous post if you are not aware of what he said), many of his peers have since commented, some agreeing and some upset at him for it (even some who agree with him in theory disagree about giving in to Hamas's demands on this). I would like to add my own thoughts.

I reserve the right to disagree with Gafni, but mostly on a non-halachic aspect of this.

Maybe Gafni is right. My opinion will be "EVEN IF GAFNI IS 100% RIGHT....." - and I do not think he is. We can argue the halacha until we are all blue in the face, the fact is many rabbonim prohibit the ascension to Har Habayit, and all the ones Gafni would consider relevant are of this opinion. I could argue that plenty of rabbonim allow it. I could argue that the Torah itself allows it. I could argue if there is a takana in place or not. But I don't want to argue the halachic aspect of it.

As I said above, EVEN IF GAFNI IS 100% RIGHT - even if Gafni is 100% right that it is not allowed to ascend Har Habayit, Har Habayit should still not be closed. That is not a reason to close Har Habayit to Jews.

First, if we are basing this on halacha (again, and let's say Gafni is 100% right that it is prohibited for Jews to go up), it is far worse for non-Jews to be on Har Habayit (in the prohibited areas, which are more in space for non-Jews than it is for Jews) than it is for Jews (in most of the area of Har Habayit - in the azara area it is pretty bad for Jews as well). So if it is also prohibited for non-Jews to be there, and Gafni's position is a halachic-based opinion, Gafni should be telling Netanyahu to shut Har Habayit entirely, for non-Jews as well. Is it really a sign of our deep connection tot hsi holy place by banning Jews because of the halacha, but lett8ing the non-Jews run around Har Habayit against halacha?

And that was without even mentioning proper decorum on Har Habayit. The Arabs on Har Habayit, besides for praying, also play soccer, eat, sit around (except for king of Davidic family, sitting is not halachically allowed in some parts of Har Habayit), in addition to occasionally rioting and getting violent... behavior very unbecoming for being on Har Habayit. If Gafni is so worried about the halachic issues of Har Habayit, let us hear him speak up about all these other issues there,...

And lastly, Israel is not a halachic state. it is not a medinat halacha. Israel is a democratic and Jewish state, but not a halachic one. If Gafni wants Har Habayit closed to Jews, besides for this only being selective on the Har Habayit issue, it is also selectively applying halacha. Why not insist the entire state be shut down on Shabbos? Insist on no selling treif meat. No non-kosher restaurants allowed. Non-religious couples are not allowed to marry. He might be right that it is not alowed, and even if he is right that it is not allowed, that is not a reason for him to be able to prevent me or anyone else who goes up from  going. you want halacha to be the deciding factor in the State of Israel? Pass a law turning Israel into a halachic state. 

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Any government official who says that is demonstrating two things to the public.
    1. That Arabs ties to the land are stronger than ours. And that is a lie. Once you open that door, Arabs can say "X is a holy site to us, no Jews here." And they do that already. We can't even go to Kever Yitzchak freely. Can we ban Arabs from coming to a Shul? the Wailing Wall? (I want us to start using that term again because we obviously need to wail out harder, but I digress).
    2. That Gafni, and others like him don't understand the Arab honor/shame mentality. If we allow that, we give them honor by legitimizing their claims. That emboldens them to riot more, because we give in. The BLM movement here has learned that tantruming gets results. The intersectional Arab street recognizes that. I pray the politicians in Israel don't try to echo the weak politicians and what's going on in the USA.

  3. בסד
    I hear your point but
    If you ask me A Halachic state is a far better option.
    Claiming that Israel is a democratic country is opening a pandoras box stuffed with Pluralism and Do Kiyum.
    We have seen over the past few weeks where that is going to lead the Israeli Arabs and their rights and allegiance.
    We must not forget that just a few weeks ago many Israelis and Knesset members supported aligning together with Raam until they themselves pulled out.
    So pick your friends and moral path very carefully in these turbulent times.
    I am certain that their notion of democracy is quite variant from yours.

    1. we can each pick whichever we prefer but the fact is we dont have a halachic state now but we do have a democratic state. it is what it is. he wants to turn it into a halachic state? I dont know if that is good or bad, but he can try

  4. Anon @ 5:40 PM. You are right. I think, firstly, that the masses including the clueless leaders of Israel should read up on 'history'. The Arabs living in the Land of Israel, most of them, arrived to the Land no more than a hundred years, that's it. They came from neighboring Arab lands & many wandering Beduoins. The Turks and then the British purposely invited in these arabs by pushing employment for them just so that the Jews wouldn't make up a majority in the Land. There are definitely halachic prohibitions for certain areas on Har Habayit where Jews are not allowed. The answer is to retake what is totally Jewish property, the Har Habayit, which would be closed to all, until the coming of Moshiach tzdkeinu, hopefully, very soon.
    Thanks to the purposeful misdeed of the then General, Gen.Dayan, giving the keys to the Har Habayit to the defeated enemy, instead of reclaiming what was always ours, one of the most important treasures to our people, we have paid a very heavy price of war and troubles galore.

    1. just today i read an anecdote with Rav Yechezkal Sarna. after the six day war everyone was rushing to go to the kotel that had just been retaken and had become accessible to Jews. Rav Sarna asked his talmidim why they are rushing to see the kotel which was a symbol of the churban and was surprised to learn that the place of the mikdash when reacquired had not been cleared and prepared for the rebuilding

  5. First, if we are basing this on halacha (again, and let's say Gafni is 100% right that it is prohibited for Jews to go up), it is far worse for non-Jews to be on Har Habayit (in the prohibited areas, which are more in space for non-Jews than it is for Jews) than it is for Jews (in most of the area of Har Habayit - in the azara area it is pretty bad for Jews as well).

    Why do you say that? Goyim have no tumah mideoraysah. Their stepping anywhere on Har ha Bayis is a derabbana. OTOH, Jews do have tumah, and stepping on Har ha Bayis be Tumah is deoraysah, and if in the area of the azarah, an issur Kareis.

    1. if I am not mistaken, non-Jews cannot pass the cheil, while Jews can until the azara itself.

    2. That is correct, but it is derabbanan. A live goy has no tumah min ha Torah.

    3. There are different levels of tumah. A tvul yom can enter the Har HaBayit, no problem. A tamei meit can't go beyond the cheil or into the Ezrat Nashim d'rabbanan, and into the original Azara d'orayta, issur karet.

  6. This is shameless politics dressed up in halakha. He's taking advantage of the demands of Hamas and the preference of secular rightists to wash their hands of the whole matter to stick it to Religious Zionists and push a pet issue. Disgusting, but not surprising.


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