Adar 12, 5772, 06/03/12
by Gil Ronen
"With proper study and proper preparations one can visit this holy site without trespassing on the sacred areas," says Rav Chaim Richman.
Rav Chaim Richman, Director of the International Dept. of the Temple Institute reacted to the proclamations by the chief Rabbis regarding the prohibition of ascent to the Temple Mount:
"The recent proclamation of the Chief Rabbinate prohibiting Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount implies that ascent to the Mount is indeed forbidden by Torah law. However, this statement is inaccurate and misleading. According to the sources of Halakha, the place of the Holy of Holies and sanctified courtyards are well known and documented, and with proper study and proper preparations (such as immersion in a mikveh and the donning of non-leather shoes) one can visit this holy site without trespassing on the sacred areas.
"Throughout the ages many prominent halachic authorities personally ascended to the Temple Mount, including the celebrated Rambam (Maimonides), who ascended to the Mount at the risk of his life in Crusader-dominated Jerusalem. Indeed, as the Rambam himself testifies in his letters, he was so moved that he merited to ascend the Temple Mount to pray there, that he instructed his descendants to mark the day of his aliya (6 Cheshvan 1166) as a day of personal yom tov (rejoicing) for all generations.
"Issues of Jewish law are not to be determined by personal feelings, opinions, or emotions. In the formulative process of Halakha, sources must be cited, verified and compared. Today, many prominent, respected Torah scholars, including yeshiva heads, visit the Temple Mount on a monthly basis together with hundreds of their students. To minimize or denigrate these scholars and to imply that they are acting outside of Torah law is misleading, damaging and wrong."
Rabbi Richman is co-host of the popular weekly "Temple Talk" internet radio program hosted by Israel National Radio.