Rabbinical Dispute on Ascent to Temple Mount (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/26/05)
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Haifa´s Chief Rabbi She´ar-Yashuv Cohen has sent an urgent note to
Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger, protesting their signatures on the
latest version of a ban on Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount.
group of leading rabbis, at the initiative of Western Wall Rabbi
Shmuel Rabinowitz and Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim Dean Rabbi Shlomo
Aviner, reiterated a long-standing Chief Rabbinate ban on entry to
the Temple Mount. Biblical law states that anyone who is ritually
impure by virtue of having come in contact with a dead person – as we
are all now assumed to be – is forbidden from setting foot in the
holiest areas of the site of the Holy Temple. "Over the years we have
lost [knowledge of] the exact location of the Temple," the rabbis
wrote, "and a person entering the Mount could unwittingly enter the
area of the Temple and the Holy of Holies."
include the current Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger and
former Chief Rabbis Shapira, Yosef and Bakshi-Doron.
She´ar-Yashuv Cohen, however, who is a member of the Chief
Rabbinate Council, is up in arms. In a telegram to Chief Rabbis Amar
and Metzger, he wrote that he was "surprised and saddened" to learn
of their signatures on the "renewed ban on ascent to the Temple Mount
[even] in areas that are clearly not the site of the Temple." He
noted that the Rabbinate Council dealing with this issue had not yet
come to any conclusion.
Rabbi Cohen said that the question is
not a Halakhic [Jewish legal]
one, but rather "a practical and scientific one. The thousands of
yeshiva students, led by the Yesha Rabbis Council, are not suspected
of violating Biblical commandments, and they deserve great credit for
their selfless dedication and their ascent to the Temple Mount."
Arutz-7 asked Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the
Wall, about the timing of the ban: "Headlines all over the world
blared the rabbinical ban on Jews in the Temple Mount. Doesn’t this
weaken our claim to Jerusalem at this critical time? Why did this ban
have to be published specifically now?"
explained, "For one thing, we began gathering the
signatures a year ago, when the Temple Mount was reopened to Jews
after being closed for over three years, and it took until now to get
all of them. Furthermore, we see that there are more and more
religious Jews visiting the Mount, according to Halakhic precautions
of where and how they are permitted, but it increases the dangers of
others seeing them and going up themselves without being careful of
the details of this so-stringent prohibition. In addition, it´s not
the diplomatic situation that weakens or strengthens our hold or
claim, but rather our adherence to the Torah."
also said that leading rabbis of the past century,
such as Rabbi Avraham HaCohen Kook and his son, forbade going to the
Temple Mount, and "are we greater than them that we can say that we
know where the Holy of Holies was located?... Let´s leave something
for G-d to do. Let´s let Him build the Holy Temple, and we´ll do what
we´re supposed to do; believe me, if we would have prayed more, the
Temple would have been built long ago."
Rabbi Cohen, speaking
with Arutz-7, said, "The difference between
then and now is that now there have been studies and archaeological
research that tell us where the permitted places are." He further
said that in private discussions with the late Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda
Kook, the latter implied that if we knew the location of the various
Temple areas, we would be able to stay away from the prohibited areas
and permitted to enter the other ones. (IsraelNationalNews © 01/26/05)
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