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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Har Habayit’

One Day…

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

After seeing all those Hamas flags being waved by Hamas supporters on the Temple Mount last week, we decided that this would make such a nicer image to look at.

B’Ezrat Hashem soon.

Feiglin Asks PM for Special Permission To Visit Temple Mount

Monday, March 16th, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) sent a special request to Prime Minister Netanyahu, asking for permission to go up to the Temple Mount on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister previously forbade Feiglin from entering the Jewish Holy site.

This Tuesday, Moshe’s son David, who survived a horrendous car crash, is set to get married (Mazel Tov).

Moshe would like to accompany his son up onto the Temple Mount tomorrow, on the day he is to get married, as any other citizen would normally be allowed to do – but at present Moshe is not allowed.

We will update you if Moshe receives the special permission or not from the Prime Minister.

Feiglin letter to go up to Temple Mount

Humiliated on the Temple Mount

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Last week, I went up to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount).[1] I’ve been there a number of times before, but this time was different. In the past, I have gone to the Mount as part of an organized group of religious Jews led by a rabbi. This time, I was there as part of the course I’m taking to get my tour guide license. My classmates are mainly secular Jews, and there are some non-Jews in the class as well. I was the only rabbi with us.

In some ways this experience was even more uplifting and inspiring than my previous visits, and in other ways, it was even more infuriating and humiliating. Let me explain.

Security on the Mount is provided by armed Israeli police and unarmed officials of the Moslem wakf (religious trust), like this guy:

Wakf Guard

Wakf Guard

The policy of the Israeli government and police is to allow Jews to visit the Mount, but not to pray there, since that would apparently offend the Moslems. But for some reason, while the police vigorously enforce these prohibitions, they allow deliberate provocations from the other side. For example, groups of Arab women are bussed in to Jerusalem every day, just to follow Jews around the Temple Mount, shout loudly at them and taunt them (rumor has it they are paid a salary for their services). See this video for an example.

In previous visits I have gotten used to this intolerable situation. But this time, going “incognito” with a group not identified as religious, I was left more or less alone. Going up as a tour guide and not as a religious Jew also gave me the opportunity to enter a few places I otherwise would not have been able to, mainly the underground chambers from the time of the Second Bet HaMikdash known (inaccurately) as “Solomon’s Stables.” That was really amazing.

"Solomon's Stables"

“Solomon’s Stables”

So why do I say that my visit was also infuriating and humiliating?

In order to avoid offending the sensibilities of the Moslems, we were told in advance that we would not be allowed to display any outward Jewish symbols such as a kippa or tzitzit. These would need to be concealed. This bothered me greatly – do I really have to hide my Jewishness here, in the heart of Jerusalem??

But then it got worse. At one point the police told us we would need to remove our hats altogether and walk bare-headed. I explained that I didn’t want to do that; I always keep my head covered for religious reasons, it was a hat and not a kippah, and all the tourists on the Mount were also wearing hats (it was raining). But I was told that this is the rule and if I did not comply, I would have to leave the Mount immediately.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – I have never received a demand like that from a policeman, anywhere in any country (to the contrary; wherever I go, the police protect my rights). Was an Israeli policeman actually demanding that I remove my head covering??? Here, of all places??? I had to make a split-second decision: comply with the demand, or be expelled from the Temple Mount. I’m not sure if I did the right thing or not…but I complied.

A few minutes later, with my hat back on and in a better mood, I experienced an even more exhilarating aspect of the visit. On two separate occasions I needed to wait for my group (for example while they were in the areas that halacha prohibits entering). According to Jewish law, one is not allowed to engage in frivolity or idle chatter on the Har HaBayit, so those waiting times gave me the opportunity to observe the mitzva of mora mikdash – reverence of the holy site.

Although I am strongly opposed to them, I was careful to abide by the rules that prohibit Jews from praying out loud. So I simply stood still, staring at the Dome of the Rock (where the Holy of Holies is) and contemplated the awe-inspiring significance of the place. Even though I did not pray out loud and I made sure to follow the rules that my lips not be seen moving, I did manage to recite Psalm 24 to myself about five or six times. With a religious group, the police generally keep the group moving, so there is no time for that.

But then, a wakf guard noticed me standing there, absorbed in my thoughts and swaying softly. He immediately approached and told me that praying was forbidden. I responded that I was not praying; just standing there. He insisted that I stand in a different pose in order to make it clear that I am not praying. An Israeli policeman then asked me to sit down so that nobody would think I was praying.

Since descending from the Mount, the conflicted emotions of soaring spiritual inspiration combined with pain, humiliation and deep sadness have gotten me thinking. I have drawn three conclusions from this experience:

1) In spite of the indignities, we must be very grateful for the fact that we have the right and ability to visit this holiest of places in accordance with the demands of halacha and in safety and security.

2) The humiliation I felt at the hands of the authorities was once commonplace for Jews. Thankfully I have almost never experienced anything like that – certainly not here in Israel but not in any other country either. The experience was, therefore, a helpful reminder that the Redemption is still not complete. It highlights the paradox that although the city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt in the most splendid of ways, its most important part remains in ruins. I felt the churban very clearly there.

3) It is unconscionable that the Israeli government allows this type of disgrace to go on. We must use every legal means to pressure them to change this policy and allow Jews to pray openly and securely. If Moslems object and attempt to interfere, it is they who must be removed from the Mount.

But we must understand that the reason this is happening is that most of the Jewish people doesn’t understand the significance of this place. Imagine if the government wanted to restrict Jewish prayer at the Kotel. Any government that even attempted such a thing would be brought down within minutes, because the Israeli people would not stand for that. The humiliation at the Temple Mount will similarly end when the Jewish People are reconnected with it.

Thus, the solution to this injustice, like so many other things, comes down to the need to encourage more and deeper Jewish education. We must redouble our efforts to teach more Torah to more Jews everywhere. Ultimately that is what will lead to our Redemption.

[1]The halachic questions regarding entering the Har HaBayit should be the subject of a separate article. For now, I will say that many rabbis hold that it is prohibited at the present time to enter the Mount at all. However, I obviously follow a different opinion, also supported by many authorities, that allows it provided one immerses in a mikveh first and observes various restrictions regarding the areas of the mountain that are permissible, and regarding appropriate conduct on the Mount.

Court Rules: Police Must Allow Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The police “must ensure that Jews can pray on the Temple Mount” – that was the ruling of Judge Malka Aviv in the case of Yehuda Glick vs. the Israeli Police.

On a number of occasion the police have banned Rabbi Yehuda Glick from ascending up to the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Glick told JewishPress.com that he regularly leads tour groups up to the Temple Mount, and not being allowed up prevented him from earning a living.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick took the police to court and sued for damages. On Sunday the court decided in Glick’s favor.

But the bigger victory was the court’s criticism of the police’s actions towards Jews on the Temple Mount and the explicit ruling that the police must ensure that Jews be able to pray on the Jewish people’s holiest site.

The police may choose to appeal both the financial award and the ruling, but the question remains, until the appeal, will the police respect the court’s ruling and ensure that Jews can pray on the Temple Mount?

In November, an Islamic terrorist shot Yehuda Glick 4 times at close range in Jerusalem in a failed attempt to assassinate him.

The terrorist was killed the next morning at his Jerusalem home when security forces tried to arrest him.

Last week, US Congressman Dennis Ross when up to the Temple Mount and found himself harassed by the Islamic extremists on the Jewish holy site.

Frosty Visits the Kotel

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Snow on Temple Mount

Don’t Mention God on the Temple Mount

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Rabbi and Professor Yoel Elitzur caused a massive disruption on the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) on Thursday resulting in his being removed from the Jewish holy site by police.

Rabbi Elitzur of Ofra ascends to the Temple Mount every month.

On Thursday, when the Rabbi ascended, he was harassed by members of the radical Islamic group Marabtat, who get paid to harass and intimidate Jews visiting the Jewish holy site.

After one Muslim extremist approached Rabbi Elitzur and cursed him with the traditional Islamic phrase “Allahu achbar”, the good rabbi responded with, “Hashem Hu HaElohim”, which in English means, “The Lord, He is God”.

Police detained the Rabbi and expelled him from the Temple Mount for disturbing the public order.

“Har Habayit Biyadeinu!” – It Really Is Up To Us

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

As I write these words, I am enjoying the wonderful Chag of Chanukah, and hope that it will remain as it ought to be, consisting of warm, fun-filled evenings in front of the Menorah, armed with our dreidels and feasting on latkes, enjoying spending quality time with our family and friends. Lonni & I are enjoying it this year in a very special way – we traveled to Israel and are spending Chanukah with our children. It should be a completely joyous and wonderful time.

But, unfortunately, just under the surface, it is not so. In fact, first among the gifts that I brought for each of my children is a can of mace/pepper spray.

Much like it was many years ago, בימים ההם בזמן הזה, Yerushalyim Ir Hakodesh has become a battlefield of late. We, the Jewish people, are under attack. We are being run over at bus stations, stabbed while waiting for rides, having our children kidnapped and killed, knifed while shopping in supermarkets, shot at with thousands of missile, narrowly avoiding a horrendous Rosh Hashanah tunnel attack, attacked with axes and guns while davening in shuls . . . all while there is supposedly a cease fire. And not just in Israel. There are bombings and killings and rapes in London, Paris, Mumbai, Sydney, and smaller cities . . . and here in the USA. Just before we left for Israel we heard of the stabbing of a yeshiva student at 770 Eastern Parkway . . . and on it goes.

Worshipers were cut down as they prayed.

Worshipers were cut down as they prayed.


And the world – the same world who sees and condemns the brutal horrific killers of ISIS – ignores the fact that ISIS and HAMAS and Hezbollah and Fatah and Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, are actually all the one and the same, differing in name and location only. These same savages, who contaminate our holy Har HaBayis and then hypocritically call us the violent aggressors, want one thing only – to eradicate not only the State of Israel but Jews everywhere – from the face of the Earth. And yet, the world sees their brutality and inhumanity when they attack anyone, except the Jews.




And what is our response to all this? Predictably, there are those on the left who blame Israel for not accommodating the “Palestinians” enough, as we have caused so much of the problems in the first place. There are those on the “extreme” political right who say that we need to respond much more firmly, and adopt an approach that takes no prisoners. (My esteemed colleague Rabbi Steven Pruzansky recently wrote a column – which he was subsequently pressured to retract – in which he offered some suggestions of what might be done, most of which were right on the money in my view, even if one could quibble about some of the others.) Those in the political center, are outraged about what is happening, but basically clueless about what can be done about it, save trying to heighten defensive security measures. Here in Israel, elections are once again in process, in no small part due to the frustrations that arise with the government’s limited options in dealing with implacable enemies in the face of hostile diplomatic world.

Of course, the religious response that is mostly heard – the frum papers are full of reports of speeches given this week at the sheloshim for the four martyrs killed at prayer in Har Nof – is to increase our Torah and Tefillah and Teshuvah, and pray that Hashem finally have mercy on us. And while, of course, this is necessary, I wonder if that really ought to be the entirety of our response. To quote the esteemed Rav Berel Wein, “Redoubled efforts at greater acts of charity and more meaningful prayer services are undoubtedly noble goals but are hardly words and actions of comfort, consolation or explanation.” It seems to me that the time has come that we must think more boldly and meta-historically.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/har-habayit-biyadeinu-it-really-is-up-to-us/2014/12/22/

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