Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5766 - June 21, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Opinion & Comment
What is Geulah?

The prohibition against going onto the Har Habayis today is well known. Because of the serious nature of the aveiroh that is involved — a potential issur koreis — virtually all rabbonim from all communities and even with the entire range of hashkofos, prohibit going onto Har Habayis today. Even most of the Mizrachi rabbis agree that there should be a blanket prohibition against going onto the Har Habayis today.

In the past, when access to the Mount was much freer, many Jews transgressed this prohibition unwittingly. As a result, a special guard was posted at the Mugrabi Gate, atop the Kosel Plaza, to explain and warn Jews who sought to enter onto the Har Habayis about the serious aveiroh that is involved. Most of the time that he was there, the expenses were funded by private donors.

Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita used to walk to the Kosel on Shavuos for Musaf but now that it is too far for him, he goes the day after Shavuos — this year two days after Shavuos since the yomtov was followed by Shabbos. This year HaRav Eliashiv met the rav of the Kosel while he was there, and he asked him to reinstate a guard at the entrance to the Har Habayis, and also that an appropriate sign be posted.

Reports of this request elicited a furious response from Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Machon Hamikdash known in English as the Temple Institute. In media interview, Rabbi Ariel takes on everyone who prohibits entry to the Temple Mount to Jews today which, as we said, is most of the poskim of our time: "The trend here is to perpetuate the exile and to give the Mount over to the Arabs. . . . Is this what talmidei chachomim mean by restoring the former glory? This should embarrass every Jew who hears about it . . . I mean to say that not only is it prohibited to put a guard there, but the rabbonim should go in first and be in control of the Mount. . . This is part of the tendency to perpetuate exile and destruction . . . This is the worst catastrophe that was performed within Am Yisroel, and in Eretz Yisroel, since the destruction of the Second Temple. There is no greater embarrassment and there is no greater shame to Toras Yisroel, to Eretz Yisroel, to the Mikdash — than this fact." Afro lepumei.

According to Rabbi Ariel, if Jews were to run riot over the potential koreis aveiroh of entry on the Temple Mount, that would be liberation from exile and the harbinger of Geulah. This is contrary to our approach that says that the path to Geulah is not paved with aveirohs, and even Moshe Rabbenu on his way to redeem Klal Yisroel from Mitzrayim and bring them to Mount Sinai could have been felled by his failure to perform his obligation for the milah of his son.

Rabbi Ariel and the other staff members of the Temple Institute are serious workers and the materials they produce are visually attractive and thoroughly researched. Thinking that the Beis Hamikdash is a "neutral" topic, many sincerely religious people purchase and study their products without inquiring too deeply into the views and character of the people who are behind it all.

Anyone who can just brush aside the broad-based, unambiguous psak halochoh that absolutely prohibits entering the Har Habayis and respond in such disrespectful terms, is not worthy of any support for his activities. Though his graphically polished and well-researched and documented seforim are marketed to the chareidi community, they are not worthy to be purchased. The mass of genuine information can mask the poisonous opinions of their originator, and the damage can be done before one realizes it.

As one example, in his Siddur Hamikdash (and the newly published Siddur Hamikdash Le'Eim Ulebas Yisroel) Rabbi Ariel eliminates the traditional Nacheim prayer said on Tisha B'Av and substitutes one to his liking that does not suffer from what he calls an ungrateful attitude towards the bounty of Hashem.

Rabbi Ariel seems to think that the essence of rebuilding Yerushalayim is sticks and stones and human bodies, rather than the spiritual content that they are all meant to have.

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