The Temple Institute: Ultra-Orthdox Prohibition on Entering Temple Mount Splinters



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Ultra-Orthdox Prohibition on Entering Temple Mount Splinters

reprinted from Haaretz
18:04 08/07/2008

by Nadav Shragai

The ultra-Orthodox rabbinical consensus on banning the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount is showing cracks. This comes in the wake of a decision by religious Zionist rabbis to lift the ban and the increase of religious Zionist visitors to the site.

Rabbi Moshe Tendler, son-in-law of the ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, visited the Temple Mount last Thursday with Temple Institute officials for the first time. Feinstein was one of the greatest Haredi adjudicators in the United States in the previous generation. Tendler, a bioethics expert and Talmud instructor at Yeshiva University, New York, is known mainly for his rulings on transplants and genetics.

Recently several ultra-Orthodox rabbis visited the Temple Mount but unlike Tendler, none would have his name released, due to sensitivity to this issue. Some two years ago, kabbalist Rabbi Dov Kook, who is married to Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv's granddaughter, also covertly visited the mount.

Both the ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionist rabbis accepted the ban on Jews entering Temple Mount after the Six-Day War. The decision stemmed from the inability to determine the exact location of the temple and sanctuary, which worshippers could only enter after being purified.

The Chief Rabbinate put up a sign warning Jews not to enter Temple Mount, saying the penalty of doing so was divine punishment by untimely death or eternal excommunication. This position has not changed over the years.

However, an increasing number of religious Zionist rabbis have recently permitted Jews to enter Temple Mount. This followed an intensification of the struggle between Jewish and Muslim establishments over the Temple Mount and damage to Jewish areas.

Well-known religious Zionist adjudicators who have changed their approach include Kiryat Shmona Rabbi Zfania Drori, the chairman of the West Bank settlers rabbis committee, Rabbi Dov Lior, head of the hesder yeshiva in Ma'ale Adumim, Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch and dozens of others.

Some of these rabbis said Jews must be permitted to enter the Temple Mount to liberate it from the Muslim occupation, which is denying any Jewish affiliation - historic, religious and national - to the site and its past.



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