Friday, September 05, 2008


The following dispatch from Yeshiva World News Speaks for itself:

SHOCKING: Rabbi Tendler Says Poskei Hador Not Talking Halacha, But Issuing Political Statement (מה אתה אומר?)

On July 9th, YWN was the first to report that Rabbi Moshe Tendler publicly ascended the Har Habyis - and published a set of photos. Haaretz and other media outlets followed. This week, Rabbi Tendler defended his visit in the Jewish Press, and claimed that Maran Hagon Rav Elyashiv's letter following his vist was a "political statement"and not talking Halacha.The following is the article which appears in this weeks Jewish Press: "The rabbanim are not talking halacha," Rabbi Moshe Tendler told The Jewish Press. "They're issuing a political statement."

Last week two leading haredi rabbis, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, and former Sephardic chief rabbi Rav Ovadia Yosef, sent a letter to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich - who is in charge of the Western Wall area - asking him to reaffirm a 40-year-old ban on Jewish entry to the Temple Mount. The move came a month after Israel's Haaretz newspaper published photographs of Rabbi Tendler atop the Temple Mount, which set off a storm in the haredi community. Rabbi Tendler, a Yeshiva University rosh yeshiva and biology professor, is the son-in-law of the late Rav Moshe Feinstein, the leading American halachic decisor of his time."As time passed," the three rabbis wrote, "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."Rabbi Kanievsky added 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."

However, Rabbi Tendler argues that "everybody, certainly every rosh yeshiva and every talmid chacham, knows exactly" where a Jew may walk on the Temple Mount thanks to the research of such rabbis as the late Rabbis Shlomo Goren (former Israeli chief rabbi) and Yechiel Michel Tikochinsky.The letter's expression, "We have lost knowledge," Rabbi Tendler said, refers to the "99 percent of tourists" who walk in forbidden areas. "I wouldn't accuse the rabbanim of talking halacha," he said, "because then I'd have to accuse them of being am haratzim [ignoramuses]. The rabbanim, baruch Hashem, are talmidei chachamim and know exactly what I know I believe they're just backing up a government position."

In recent years an increasing number of rabbis have ascended the Temple Mount, including Kiryat Shmona Chief Rabbi Tzephania Drori, Ma'aleh Adumim rosh yeshiva Rabbi Nachum Rabinovich, and Rabbi Dov Kook, who is married to Rav Elyashiv's granddaughter.The Yesha Rabbinical Council, headed by Rav Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, published a ruling several years ago calling for Jewish ascension to the Temple Mount. "By refraining from ascending," the ruling read, "we are thereby declaring to the world as if we, God forbid, have no part in the Mountain of God - and we thus strengthen the Arabs' feeling that the Temple Mount is theirs."Rabbi Tendler said he has been ascending the Temple Mount for close to a decade. As per Jewish law, he immerses in a mikveh the day before his visit and does not carry a wallet or wear leather shoes while on the Mount.

Kol haKavod Rabbi Tendler, שליט"א!


Anonymous said...

What is the source not to wear leather shoes or carry a wallet on the Temple Mount? What are the other rules about going to the Temple Mount?

Dov said...

I haven't listened to it myself, but maybe this will answer your questions:

Y. Ben-David said...

I would also like to commend Rav Tendler for his courage and forthrightness. I would also add Rav Natan Slifkin to this, as well. Throughout history, it is courageous Jews filled with knowledge and "yirat shamayim" who have blazed the path for future generations to be able to make the Torah relevant to a constantly changing world, both in a world of expaninding scientific knowledge and the return of the Am Israel to its land in Eretz Israel.

Anonymous said...

Mishna kelim 1:8
לפנים מן החומה, מקודש מהן--שאוכלין שם קודשים קלים, ומעשר שני. הר הבית, מקודש ממנו--שאין זבים וזבות נידות ויולדות נכנסין לשם. החיל, מקודש ממנו--שאין גויים וטמא מת נכנסין לשם. עזרת הנשים, מקודשת ממנו--שאין טבול יום נכנס לשם, ואין חייבין עליה חטאת. עזרת ישראל, מקודשת ממנה--שאין מחוסר כיפורים נכנס לשם, וחייבין עליה חטאת. עזרת הכוהנים, מקודשת ממנה--שאין ישראל נכנסין לשם אלא בשעת צורכיהם, לסמיכה ולשחיטה ולתנופה.

We go to the area called "har habayit", but you have to go to a mikvah first if you are a woman who has menstruated or (though not mentioned here) a man who has had a seminal emission, to remove your status of impurity. We cannot enter to the part of the Temple Mount called the "chayil" (the inner wall surrounding the Temple itself) since we are all considered "tamei met" and there is no red heifer by which to remove this status.

Not carrying a wallet, wearing leather shoes, etc. is due to the mitzvah of "mora mikdash" - being in awe of the Temple. See Vayikra 19:30,26:2, Yevamot 6a, Berachot 62b, Rambam hilchot beit habechira 7:2-3.