Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Once again the Kosel is in the news. Should it remain a sanctified Orthodox prayer plaza, or should we reform it to accept the warped desires of the Reform and Conservative ways of twisted Jewish practice. It should be noted that in the traditional manner, which has been the status quo thus far, all sects of Jews are welcome to join; provided they pray at the designated place for men and women, and dress appropriately.

While this is unfortunately an issue that must be dealt with (and may it be His will that those who serve Him correctly may prevail), we cannot ignore the timing of this discussion and its hidden message. Once again Hashem has brought the fact that the Kosel belongs to us back in to our daily conversation. Shiva Assar B’Tamuz, and Tisha B’Av are fast approaching, the days when designated to observe national mourning for the loss of the Beis Hamikdash. Just days before this period begins Hashem brought back into the news and into our minds and discussions the topic “to whom does the Kosel belong, and how should it be treated?”

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In order for us to claim that the Kosel should remain separate for men and women, in line with a traditional sanctified religious synagogue, perhaps we must feel that it is such a place in our hearts.

Perhaps the reason this conflict erupted was for the purpose of reminding us that the Kosel is a holy sanctified place, which must be treated as such. Perhaps it is to bring this topic to the forefront of our minds and thoughts. Perhaps we aren’t regarding it with the proper respect, and as a result Hashem created a challenge whereby we would have to confirm (firstly to ourselves) that the Kosel is in fact the holiest of sites and must be treated accordingly.

At the conclusion of this week’s parsha we learn of the incident where Pinchas killed Zimri and Kazbi which sanctified God’s name. The halacha in such a case is that a kannoi, a zealot, may take the life of one who transgresses such a sin in public. However, there are several prerequisites, and rules. One halacha is that if one comes to ask beis din if he is allowed to kill the transgressor, beis din must tell him he is not allowed. If he is indeed allowed, why must beis din tell him he is not permitted to kill him?

One of the common answers given is that only a zealot may kill the perpetrator, for only he will do it solely for the honor of God. If one must ask if it is permitted, then it is evident that this transgression does not bother him that much. Therefore he is not permitted to take the life of the one who is transgressing. One who wishes to avenge God’s vengeance will do so even without asking first if it is permitted.

The Kosel is the holiest place on earth that we can access. However before we go on defending it as such, we must genuinely feel that kedusha in order to honestly and sincerely guard and protect its sanctity.

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Rabbi Fuchs learned in Yeshivas Toras Moshe, where he became a close talmid of Rav Michel Shurkin, shlit”a. While he was there he received semicha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlit”a. He then learned in Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, and became a close talmid of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l. Rabbi Fuchs received semicha from the Mirrer Yeshiva as well. After Rav Shmuel’s petira Rabbi Fuchs learned in Bais Hatalmud Kollel for six years. He is currently a Shoel Umaishiv in Yeshivas Beis Meir in Lakewood, and a Torah editor and weekly columnist at The Jewish Press.