Topic 8:
Tunnels Underneath The Temple Mount

Letters to The Rabbi of the Old City [Jerusalem], Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal,
[May He be Granted Many Good and Additional Years] on the Matter of The Temple
Mount And His Reaction
Letter 4

With the Assistance of Heaven
To the Honorable Rabbi Neventzal, Shlit”aOn the subject of what the honorable Rabbi wrote “that
the tunnels of the Temple Mount were not sanctified” that this only applies to the
tunnels that were there at the time of David, which were purposely not sanctified.
However the rest of the tunnels have holiness within them, for David sanctified
the floor till the deepest point of the earth.
I will not deny that there are some important Achronim
that hold this view. However, I have some proofs on behalf of the position
of the Achronim who do not wish to differentiate between old and new tunnels.
1] Rambam who is a poseik, who has to define his words
wrote plainly in Hilchot Beit Habechira, that the tunnels were not sanctified
and did not differentiate between new and old tunnels.
2] Tosafot to Pesachim 67B wrote [words starting with
The Tunnels Were Not Sanctified]:


Now if you will question, behold it has been said in the second chapter of
Zevachim [page 24] that if a stone is uprooted and he stood in its place,
what is the law etc. and the Gemara concludes that forever it is simple that
David when he sanctified, he sanctified it to the deepest point in the earth.

    Now one can
reply that in chapter Keitzad Tzolin (later on page 86) we conclude that
Rabbi Yochanan said, when do we say that {that the Tunnels were not sanctified}
when they are opened towards non-holy areas, however, when opened to the Holy
they are Holy. {end of quote}

Now if in reality new tunnels {after the time of David} are sanctified, Tosafot
should have answered, that all is holy except what David intentionally left
as non-holy at the time of sanctification.
Rather it is implied by Tosafot that also new tunnels
were not sanctified and just because it has an opening towards the sanctified
area, does the ground underneath the stones of the floor of the sanctified courtyard
[which has a similar status as that of a tunnel] obtain sanctified status.
3 Many of the Rishonim [Rashi, Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura,
Rambam {according to Tosafot Yom Tov}, Meiri, Tosafot in the name of the
Arukh and more, said that the Parve Chamber was dug by a person that lived
in the days of the Second Temple [ and not in the time of David ]. Now on
the roof of the Parve Chamber, was the mikva, in which the Cohain Gadol immersed
himself during Yom Kippur and this mikva was in the sanctified courtyard.
Now Tosafot explained in a number of places [see for example,
Tosafot to Yoma 31A starting with the words: “And all of them are in the
Holy, on top of the Parve Chamber.”] that even though the upper stories were
not sanctified, however, the tunnels that are built under the sanctified
area [and opened only to the non-holy areas] which have roofs that are equal
to the floor of the sanctified courtyard, the contents [of these tunnels] are non-holy while their roofs are holy; therefore the Cohanim immersed themselves
on the roof of the Parve Chamber.
That is to say that  new tunnels also were not sanctified.
Now if you  want to say, nevertheless, that
the new tunnels were indeed sanctified, because David sanctified the ground
to the deepest point in the earth, this viewpoint however, applies only to
the sanctified courtyard, but in regards to the rest of the Mount, there
David did not sanctify to the deepest part of the earth. See for example,
Minchat Chinuch, Mitzva 362:3.
And also the Avnei Nezer wrote at length to Yoreh Deah,
Siman 454, Siman Katan 5 and onwards that the tunnels under the Temple Mount
Area certainly don’t have holiness, see there.
And Tzitz Eliezer brought from the book Magid Mereishit,
that the custom was that women and children in the past went in all the tunnels
in the Temple Mount even those that were under the sanctified courtyard,
as long as they had another opening not in the sanctified courtyard.
Now one should ask for someone who is willing to be lenient
in the matter of the tunnels, specifically when they are only under the Temple
Mount but not under the sanctified courtyard, how can we establish the border
between the regular Temple Mount area and the sanctified courtyard?
One can answer, that there are areas that definitely have
the status as being part of the Temple Mount area and not the sanctified
area, for the Temple Mount [outside of the  sanctified area] its majority
was in the south, second to this in size from east, etc. That is to say that
after we deduct from the 500-cubit space of the Temple Mount the width of
the sanctified courtyard from north to south and similar the length from
east to west, a majority of what is left over is at the south and east.
And now I will bring the word of the Magid Mereishit,
in full as printed in the responsa of Tzitz Eliezer part 10, siman 1:

Now when I came to
here,( I must note, Let it be built and established speedily in our days,
Amen,) I entered into the foundations which David built, which are in the
ground of the Temple Mount by means of winding tunnels; that the place there
was very narrow without the  option to turn to the side; now I saw there
a window that was there for the Gentiles in that place that they call Midrash
Shlomo, and I held that the tunnels were not sanctified, even those that
were in the area of the sanctified courtyard and it is permitted for all
men to go there for their status of holiness in not like the status of the
sanctified courtyard. Afterwards, I started to have a doubt. For behold it
was said that when Rabbi Yochanan ruled that the tunnels were not sanctified,
this refers to tunnels that are open to the Temple Mount, but those opened
to the sanctified courtyard, behold they are holy with a sanctify like the
sanctified courtyard for we go after the entrance as stated in Keitzad Tzolin
etc. ; and we say in chapter 2 of Zevachim regarding a stone that was uprooted
and he stood in its place and performed the sacrificial service, that it
is simple that David when he sanctified, he sanctified to the deepest point
in the earth. We can deduce from this, that all the ground of the sanctified
area is holy and if this is so, then the tunnel has the status of chambers
that are built in the holy with an entrance both to the Holy areas and non-Holy,
which are considered as having the status of being Holy.

    But it appears
that this is not so, for if it were true, that Rabbi Yochanan only holds
the tunnels not to be holy when they were only open to the Temple Mount without
any opening to the sanctified area at all, if so why specify the tunnels?
For even the chambers [lishkot in Hebrew]  themselves that are built
above in the sanctified courtyard if they are open to the non-holy areas,
their contents are not holy and why are the chambers stronger more than the
tunnels, but rather, certainly the tunnels even if they have an opening to
the sanctified courtyard were not sanctified, which is not the case by the
{ground floor} chambers. And that, what was said, that David when he sanctified,
he sanctified to the deepest point in the earth, one can push this aside,
by saying the intention is that if they would lower the surface level of
the sanctified courtyard to a point beneath in order to transform it to the
status of the sanctified courtyard, then it would indeed be holy with the
sanctity of the sanctified courtyard, like the case of the floor stone which
was uprooted and {the cohain} stood in its place, that this spot has the
holy status as if the floor stone was still there; however, whenever the ground
above is paved with floor stones, namely, the {normal} sanctified courtyard
{is present} then what is beneath is completely non-holy, except when it
is open to the sanctified area exclusively, for David didn’t sanctify the ground
beneath, except to transform it into the status of a sanctified courtyard
{ when needed, if the old surface was missing}.

After these word, the Magid Mereishit brings a number
of opinions that explain things not according to his views, and pushes their
words aside and summarizes the legal ruling and writes:

   
It has come into our hands that the tunnels were not sanctified at all, not
even with the holiness of the Temple Mount, if they have an opening towards
it, for only what was above was sanctified and not underground; however when
they are opened by the sanctified courtyard alone they are sanctified, but
not because they are underneath the sanctified courtyard but rather by virtue
of the entrance that is located there, for all that is opened to the sanctified
courtyard is as the courtyard, but if open both to the non holy and the sanctified
courtyard the contents are not holy and they are not compared to chambers
[on the ground floor] that are built in the sanctified area and open to both
{holy and non-holy}, rather they are comparable to {ground floor) chambers
built in the non-holy that are open both to the holy and non-holy, whose
contents are absolutely, not holy, because even the holiness of the Temple
Mount is lacking in the tunnels, and it is permissible to enter into the
earthen tunnels beneath the sanctified courtyard, for even if they were open
to the sanctified area, there contents would be non-holy. And it is an every
day occurrence that all the assembly, men, women and children enter the foundations
of the Temple, for there, there is a pathway of tunnels that is underneath
the ground of the Temple, and no one ever raised an objection, even those
that are careful not to enter the Temple Mount. But rather only if someone
were to enter deep inside, one should be wary about the tunnels that are
built in the sanctified area and open to the sanctified area, for they are
holy {end of quote}.

Behold the
opinion of Magid Mereishit differs from that of the Radbaz, and he holds
that for all practical purposes the ground beneath the sanctified courtyard
is not presently holy to the deepest point of the earth. And that which David
sanctified to the deepest point of the earth, was just in a situation where
we would dig and reveal it to the open air; however as long as it is covered
above with a stone floor, all that which is beneath, including tunnels, does
not yet have holy status and is completely non-holy. And out of this conclusion
he holds also that all tunnels below that have an entrance to the non-holy
have the status of non-holy even if they also have an additional entrance
at the holy, being comparable to ground floor chambers built in the non-holy
that have openings both to the holy and non-holy whose contents are completely
non-holy and just if they are only open to the sanctified courtyard, their
contents are holy, for all that is open to the sanctified courtyard is like
the sanctified courtyard. (end of the citation of Tzitz Eliezer)

Another precedent that testifies that there is no difficulty to allow
the general public to visit the tunnels in the Temple Mount, I found
in Maalin Bakodesh, Volume 9, page 177. The article dealt with the
tunnel that they discovered in the excavations by the Kotel, underneath the
Temple Mount:

   
“Two complete hours, I spent with the Rishon Letzion, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,
Shlit”a, that was accompanied by one of the well-known judges to deal with the
question of both the tunnel, and eastern excavations. It was concluded to permit
abundant entrance into the hall, mentioned earlier  and also to open
all the entrance . Similarly to build a synagogue and to set an ark for Torah
scrolls etc., and in regards to excavations I dealt with him over this halachic
matter in depth and discussed the holiness status of the tunnels. And he
requested that I summarize my ideas in writing….

    I also had
a long conversation with Rabbi Shlomo Goren, Shlit”a who also visited the
place and I informed him of what I had discussed with the Rishon Letzion.
He responded that it was clear to him that it was permitted to dig. In any
case I demanded that a uniform position be expressed by both of them, which
would be established without awakening an intense ideological debate from
any side… [till here are the words of Rabbi Getz,  who formerly had
supervision over the area of the Kotel]”.

Topic 9:
Proof That The Strict Opinion of the Tzitz Eliezer Concerning The Area Between The Wall Of The Old City And The Temple Mount Was Not Accepted As Halacha


Regarding the strict ruling that the honorable Rabbi had
mentioned in the name of Tzitz Eliezer, not to draw near to all the area south
of the Temple Mount, until the wall of the Old City, I have a strong proof
that this strict ruling was not accepted as halacha. For the Tzitz Eliezer
wrote that he based this strict ruling upon the words of a sage, who is called
[after his writings, by the nickname] Aderet Eliyahu [ Rabbi Riki]. This
Rabbi looked at the stones around what is called the Shaar Rachamim [Mercy
Gate] and he wished to prove from the stones that he found there, that the
cubit used for Holy purposes was 1.66 times greater in size than a non-holy
cubit.
Now even though one can provide other explanations to
what this sage saw there, as Rabbi Shmuel Weingarten elaborated upon this,
nevertheless the Tzitz Eliezer wrote that in accordance to the large cubit
of the author of Aderet Eliyahu, one can grant justification for the above-mentioned
strict ruling.

Now what is the proof that his strict ruling was not accepted
by the great sages of the generation? For it is well known that the overwhelming
majority of the Poskim of our days, permit menstruant women and men who have
not purified themselves from an emission, to visit the Western Wall {Kotel}.
And it is well known that the overwhelming majority of Poskim permit menstruant
women and men who have not purified themselves from an emission to travel
on the road that is located after the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Now
since the large cubit of the author of Aderet Eliyahu is at least 48 centimeters
times 1.66 that is to say at least 80 centimeters [and perhaps more] ; and
since the Temple Mount was 500 cubits by 500 cubits. Then out of necessity
there must be a distance of at least 400 meters [80 centimeters times 500] in order that we might even entertain the possibility that the strict ruling
of the Tzitz Eliezer is correct. However, the distance between the two points
is less than this, therefore, behold we have testimony that his strict ruling
was not accepted as halacha.
The honorable Rabbi also wrote to me that “I do not believe
that there is any contribution to saving lives by having unarmed people ascend
the Temple Mount; perhaps it will just add dangers”.
Now since I know that the honorable Rabbi supports redeeming
property in regions that the Arabs are holding in East Jerusalem, I wish
to understand the difference by which the honorable Rabbi, justifies the
arrival of “the unarmed” to those regions but not to the Temple Mount.
Furthermore in the book, Ish Al Hachoma, [Man on
the Defensive Wall] we learn that Rabbi Sonnenfeld [who was unarmed] and
if I remember correctly also Rabbi Kook took care specifically to go by the
more dangerous pathways so as not to give the Arabs the feeling that they
had succeeded to chase us away by means of murder. The implication is that
the law of conquest and defense is applicable also to those who are unarmed.

Topic 10:
The Three Oaths

    Now perhaps the foundation of the differentiation is what
I heard in the name of some of the students of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. That
on the subject of the Temple their viewpoint is similar to the Satmar viewpoint
in contrast to the rest of the land of Israel {where they differ with Satmar}.
And their source to make this differentiation stems from the Vilna Gaon who
held the matter of ” three oaths” applies specifically to the building of
the Temple [see Otzrote Hagra Ubait Midrasho of Rabbi Tzuriel page
62, where he brings in the name of the Vilna Gaon to Tikunei Hazohar page
157 “we have an oath [the three oaths, as a wall] not to build the Temple”.
I do not accept this differentiation for a number of reasons.
I will quote from Rabbi Kahane: ‘We have to understand that in a practical
way, the “three oaths” are really only two for Israel and one for the nations
of the world; and I suspect that few are those, who rely on the words of
the Gemara, who really in fact saw this section of the Talmud inside or learned
it. Now this is a quote of the Gemara: “These three oaths, what are they
for? One, that Israel does not rise up like a wall [Rashi: in unison, with
a strong hand]. And one that the Holy One Blessed Be He adjured Israel not
to rebel against the nations of the world; and one that the Holy One Blessed
Be He made the nations of the world swear that they would not subjugate Israel
too harshly”. In the midrash it was said (Shir Hashirim Rabba 2:1[7]) “Rabbi
Yosi Bar Chanina said: there are two oaths here, one for Israel and one for
the nations of the world. Israel swore not to rebel against the yoke of the
nations [Rabbi Yosi Bar Chanina sees the two oaths of Israel in the Gemara,
Tractate Ketuvot – as one for all practical purposes] and he swore to the
kingdoms that they would not harden their yoke against Israel. For if they
harden their yoke against Israel, they cause the time of the end, to arrive
outside of its time’.

That is to say that one oath is dependent on the fulfillment
of the other oath.
Who is to say that we have already reached the time of
the nullification of the three oaths due to too much oppression from the
Gentiles?
Since in the past I heard that members of Neteurei Karta
were extolling the virtues of Rabbi Y. Bardaki and his Rabbi and Father in-law
was Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov (author of Peat Hashulchan, and one of the founders
of the old Yishuv), I will specifically bring from the words of Rabbi Yisrael
of Shklov.
The quote, G-d willing, is from what I found in the book,
Geula B’derech Hateva page 9, by the religious historian, Aryeh Morgenstern,
and his source is – Yaari, Igrote Eretz Yisrael [the letters of the land
of Israel] page 352.
Now here are the words of Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov: “…
Now if he was a bit incensed on account of the sin of his nation, they [the
Gentiles] added more than this … their harsh yoke and the harshness of
the subjugation, and they transgressed their oath that G-d our L-rd had administered
to them that they should not increase the harshness of the subjugation of
Israel so as not to hasten the time of the end…”
Now also the Rabbi of  Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, namely,
the Vilna Gaon in his second commentary to Shir Hashirim, chapter 2 verse
7 wrote similar to this.

    Now this is a quote of the Vilna Gaon: “Now the matter is as our sages of
blessed of memory said, three oaths, the Holy One Blessed Be He adjured,
etc. That they should not bring the time of end near by their torture of
Israel… and he asks [of the Gentiles] not to force the time of the end
until he wants it by virtue of love itself, as stated in the midrash of Bechukotai,
it is a parable to a king that swore to throw a giant rock on his son and
afterwards regretted it and grinded it into small pieces, [ to throw it ] in order to fulfill his oath. {end of quote}

Now another proof that according to the Vilna Gaon “I adjure you O daughters
of Jerusalem” applies to the nations I found in the second commentary of
the Vilna Gaon to Shir Hashirim 3:10 “the midst of it, being inlaid with
love from the daughters of the Jerusalem – that all the nations are called
the daughters of Jerusalem.”
Also Rabbi Shlomo Kluger and Rabbi  Hillel Kolemayer
(a disciple of the Chatam Sofer) established that the 3 oaths are like a
package deal. That nullification of the oath by the Gentiles also nullifies
our oath (see Hatekufa Hagdola of Rabbi Menachem Kasher, page 570, for sources).

In the book Otzrote Hagra Ubait Midrasho page 62
on the topic of the Temple, the author brought from the book Hagaon Hachasid
page 247 “And the Genius Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin said in the name of the
Vilna Gaon: “If we will act like the Maapilim and offer up just once on the
Temple Mount the Tamid sacrifice, behold that this already will be the redemption:”.
That is to say, that seemingly, either the time of the
nullification of the three oaths has already arrived in the matter of the
Temple or that at least for the Temple Mount and the offering of sacrifices,
the time of the nullification of the oaths has already arrived.
Regarding what the honorable Rabbi brought up in one of
the letters, “to our embarrassment and our disgrace, the government has already
conceded the Temple Mount in the accord with Hussein”. Even though this is
correct, however, it still is not black and white, neither in our eyes, nor
in the eyes of the nations of the world to what extent we conceded to them.
A very small concession or a very great concession, and it is within our
ability still to set the appropriate commentary to the accord. Was it not
so,  that on paper also the decree of Haman was very difficult for us.
However, by means of commentary and lack of practical fulfillment of Haman’s
decree because of Mordechai, the decree was transformed into a document that
wasn’t relevant.

Topic 11:
The Ascent of Unarmed Citizens Causes Armed Policemen To Ascend

    And all that I wrote previously I just need as a type
of introduction for the main presumption of the honorable Rabbi that we should
relate to the ascent of unarmed citizens to the Temple Mount, as an ascent
only of the unarmed, over this I have a strong question.
For behold in the book Hatzava Kihalacha [ the
army in accordance to the Halacha ] of Rabbi Kaufman, he established [ that
regarding the rule, that in accordance with the expert, we desecrate the
Sabbath for the sake of saving lives] These matters are valid as far as the
assertion of military experts on purely military matters. In contrast, an
assertion based on political considerations and evaluations of international
diplomacy are outside the area of their expertise”. In your name was
brought the comment: “Also the observance of Sabbath etc. is not always in
the field of expertise of the experts of the army, but nevertheless, we are
sometimes forced to rely upon their evaluation of the situation while we
are lacking another authority, and we are in this, in the aspect of “G-d has
put me into the hand of one I can not stand up against”.
Now if this is so, if the Minister of the Police, Tzachi
Hanegbi, [until just a few months ago] asserted that increasing the number
of Jews that ascend the Mount strengthens the control of Israel over the
territory and causes an increase of police men on the Mount [ and one must
stress that the police do have weapons ] and to quote him, on the
matter “This thing it is understood,
strengthens the intensity of our claim for sovereignty on the Mount, if in
the future there will be practical negotiations to establish a political
arrangement”
; if so, why doesn’t this  assertion obligate us
according to the viewpoint of the honorable Rabbi?
Now even if the honorable Rabbi does not believe the words
of Tzachi Hanegbi that the ascent of more citizens to the Mount determines
the number of armed policemen on the Mount, one can bring a proof from the
actions of the police at every large demonstration of Jews in every place
in the land, for our eyes see that continually, there are many policemen
at these protests. Therefore it is almost definite that if the citizens would
organize a big protest on the Mount, that the Police would come.
In addition Rabbi Kaufman wrote in his book, page 162,
halacha 20 “it is permissible to desecrate the Sabbath also for activities
that help to save, only indirectly, if without these activities, it is probable
that the effectiveness of the acts of saving would be diminished.
For example:

   
“It is permitted to bring on the Sabbath mattresses or sleeping bags to soldiers
who are participating in battle against the enemy, if according to the commander
the reduced sleep [by not having these objects] would diminish their ability
to fight”.

Furthermore it is brought in this book, page 163 halacha
26:
“It is mitzva
to desecrate the Sabbath to take out equipment from the quartermaster’s store
in order to perform acts of saving lives; while the quartermaster doesn’t
allow the removal of equipment without a signature on the necessary form
– it is permitted to sign for the equipment on the Sabbath (it is clear that
we should attempt to persuade the quartermaster to waive this requirement
or to suggest an object of collateral. However, if the quartermaster was
not persuaded, one should try to sign with the left hand and by scribbling
alone, where there are no actual letters, printed)”. {end of quote}

Since Rabbi Elbaum told me that he spoke with the heads
of the Police, and they warned him that if a sufficient quantity of Jews
did not ascend, they wouldn’t have the ability to “waste” so many policemen
[who are armed] for a long period of time on the Temple Mount, behold the
rule should seemingly be the same as the rule of the man who has to sign
on the Sabbath in order to take out equipment to save lives on the Sabbath
from the quartermaster. And see a similar ruling to this in Shmirat Shabbat
Kehilchata
chapter 32 Halacha 55.
One should add that Rabbi Avraham Kook, who is the strong
base for all those that oppose ascending the Temple Mount, also agreed that
it is a mitzva to desecrate the Sabbath [ and the same applies to ascending
the Mount ] in order to force the government to performs acts that save lives.
For according to the guide in the Museum of the House of Rabbi Kook, Rabbi
Kook phoned the secretary of the British Mandate on the Sabbath when news
arrived of the pogrom in Hebron of 5689. He requested that the British official
would order the police to fire on the rioters and to defend the Jews.
Further one should add that it is brought in the book,
Hatorah Hamisamachat, on the life of  Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach,
pages 168-169 that the Rabbi ruled, that when there is a low probability
to save lives, one has to differentiate between the individual and the general
public, and here I will quote:

    An
Intelligence Officer turned to Rabbi Farbshtein – that served then as a judge
– on a question related to his military role. Now he in turn felt he needed
the broad shoulders of Rabbi Auerbach for this issue; an intelligence unit
of the army had succeeded in breaking into the communication network of the
enemy and to decipher the code by which they transferred information. The
soldier made the claim to his superior officers, that since the deciphering
involved forbidden Sabbath labors, upon him was the obligation on Sabbath
just to decipher communications that appeared to have a high probability
as being connected to Israel; while a communication of that enemy country
to a small African country could wait till after the Sabbath to be deciphered.
However, his commanding officers refused, by claiming that just after deciphering
the communication, could one establish if it had some connection to Israel.

    In a precedent
setting ruling, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ruled:

    That when
there is a very low probability of saving lives, one has to differentiate
between the individual and the general public. Regarding the individual,
it is possible that if the probability is very low [of being able to save] we would not permit the desecration of the Sabbath; however, for the general
public, this same low probability would push aside the Sabbath. For an individual
person, for example, it would be considered reasonable and allowable to perform
an act that has a 1 in 10000 risk to life; yet a leader that performs an
act that endangers his nation with such odds – would be considered definitely
as irresponsible in his actions! With the same risk of danger, there is a
greater weight placed [on behalf of safety] when dealing with an entire nation.
Therefore the Rabbi ruled, that the soldier is obligated to decipher every
communication on the Sabbath, for we are dealing with the security of the
entire state.

Now one should ask, after the Former Minister of Police
asserted that ascent to the Temple Mount determines how many policemen there
will be there and asserts that it determines whether we hand over or don’t
hand over the territory to the enemy, is there not at least a chance of 1
in 10000 that he is right? Or perhaps the honorable Rabbi is not as strict
in the laws dealing with saving of lives as Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
ZT”L was?
One should also ask if the honorable Rabbi is afraid to
start such a new innovation on the Temple Mount, does the honorable Rabbi
at least support ascent to the Mount as part of the civil guard? That is
to say, if there were elements of the police department, that in order to
reduce the burden of guarding the mountain were willing to have many civilians
volunteer to guard with weapons there, would the honorable Rabbi agree to
this?

Topic 12:
Regarding the Ascent of the Rabbis To The Temple Mount During the Six Day
War:

    Regarding the ascent of the Rabbis during the six day
war:
The viewpoint of Rabbi Shlomo Goren is brought in Tzipia,
volume 3 pages 5 to 7 “that not
withstanding the normal halachic limitations regarding the Temple Mount during
days when all is proper, in the condition that has come to be, where there
is a fear of the loss of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, and the
presence of Jews on the Temple Mount in this period strengthens our sovereignty
there, and all the more so the public visits of members of the Knesset on
the Temple Mount, certainly shows to the whole world that the Temple Mount
is under the sovereignty of Israel.
In this situation and for this purpose not just is it
permitted, but rather a holy mitzva placed upon us to enter the Temple Mount,
in order to strengthen our rights and our control and Israel sovereignty”.

According to Hatzofe newspaper of the date the third of
Sivan 5627 page 2 under the title the first two hours at the Kotel, it was
Rabbi Goren who was loyal to his viewpoint that brought the important Rabbis
to the Temple Mount during the war. And here I will quote:

   
The Chief Rabbi turned to one of the religious soldiers of Yeshivat Mercaz
Harav and asked him to travel and immediately bring to the Kotel Rabbi David
Hacohain (the Nazir) and Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. At 12:05 the first citizens
started to arrive by the Kotel and prayed there Mincha Gadola.

From the Hatzofe newspaper dated the first of Sivan 5627
we learn that the only safe way to get to the Kotel and return home afterwards
was by means of the Temple Mount.
The reporter A. Vilner on page 2 recounts “With a trembling of holiness we passed
by yesterday the Omer Mosque, that stands upon our Temple, being careful
not to near the Mosque itself with its Golden Dome, out of fear of entering
the place of the Temple, and we neared the Kotel from a different path than
the one we took in 5707, the time we visited the last time….
This time we went the short way, by way of the plaza of
the Omer Mosque without being endangered…
At the end of the Kotel a youth lifts himself and breaks
the sign that the Jordanians put in English and Arabic “Al Buraq” named on
account of the horse of Mohammed. We return by way of the plaza of the Omer
Mosque..”.

Now on page 7 of the same newspaper we learn that: “2
were killed on their way to the Kotel” [this seems to be referring to 2 that
tried to reach the Kotel not by the pathway of the Temple Mount] for there
it is explained that “two Israelis were killed two days earlier from sniper
shots, when they tried to past over the lines towards the Old City”. and
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel’s son, Rabbi Azariah, explained to me that on the 28th
of Iyar all agree that because of fear of snipers etc., all-important citizens
that reached the Kotel at that time had to both go and return by means of
the path on the Temple Mount.
One must stress that it is implied from the sources that I have,
that Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook arrived hours earlier before some of the citizens
and Rabbis of Israel arrived at the Kotel. And if he really opposed them
going through the Temple Mount, he would have had to inform them and protest
and certainly not return by means of the Temple Mount to his home, rather
he should have waited at the Kotel till the end of the conquest.
One should stress what Rabbi Azariah Ariel wrote in Iturei
Cohanim that also the Chief Rabbis came on their own initiative after Rabbi
Tzvi Yehuda Kook arrived, therefore it is difficult to claim that all were
surprised at one time, together. And he quotes his father who was a witness
to all this:
My father, May
He be Granted Many Good and Additional Years, said in his words as a firsthand
witness. He participated in the war in the framework of a platoon that was
attached to the command brigade, that was placed on the Temple Mount. He
met the Chief Rabbis in the afternoon hours [each one at a different time,
when they were without any escort. It seems that they gave each one of them
separately a ride until the Lion’s Gate and from there they went onwards
by foot, alone.] He escorted each one of them some distance from the north
of the Temple Mount to the length of the western side, and when he separated
from them, they went on alone to the direction of Mugrabim Gate and the descent
to the Kotel. Rabbi Unterman ZT”L also asked how do we go here? (My father,
May He be Granted Many Good and Additional Years, does not definitely recall,
whether the question was Halachic, or Geographical or Security related).

In the same article he also brought proofs and sources
that the Chief Rabbis were at the Kotel and if so also on the Temple Mount
on the 28th of Iyar. Among them is a recording that was broadcast by Kol
Yisrael, in the 7:00 morning edition, Hatzofe newspaper, Sefer Shana Shana
(a periodical produced by Heichal Shlomo in 5728) in the summary of the events
of 5727 page 270, the book of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel – 70 years towards
its foundation, part 3, diary of the Rabbinate page 1387, the archives of
Rabbi Nissim, Sefer Toldot Min Hahar El Ha’am – the history of Rabbi Nissim
by Shaul Meizlish and Professor Meir Binayahu, page 26, Shaar Haarayot, by
Yisrael Harel and Mota Gur, page 164, Sefer Hamilchama Al Yerushalayim by
Moshe Natan page 336.
I also read afterwards that even the Member of Knesset,
Rabbi Menachem Porush of the Agudat Yisrael party, received explicit permission
to go by means of the Temple Mount pathway, although I did not hear what
was the reasoning behind this or who was his Rabbi.
And perhaps his Rabbi held like Rabbi Y.M. Tukotzinski
[Ir Hakodesh Vihamikdash, part 5] that there is a way to build a synagogue
for prayer on the Temple Mount in our times. And see more of his words to
permit ascent to the Mount until the section of Chail, in Sefer
Eretz Yisrael
, page 71.

Topic 13:
    An appendix: The Identification of the Even Hashtia by
Sefer Har Hamor of Rabbi Yosi Pelee

 

    “This
identification is based on the assertion that the rock within the Dome of
the Rock is the “Even Hashtia”, whose head was revealed in the midst of the
Holy of Holies in the Temple.

    This fact
is based on the continuous and long tradition that was accepted throughout
all the generations as a simple matter without any controversy about it,
both in our sources and in Gentile sources. And so did the travelers to the
land of Israel note in all times, such as described for example, by the disciple
of the Ramban more than 700 years ago – “Around the Even Shtia the Kings
of Ishmael built a very magnificent structure and made it into a place of
prayer. And they built on the top of this structure a very beautiful dome.
And the structure is on the Holy of Holies and the Heichal {Temple Sanctuary}”
(Masa’ot Eretz Yisrael, page 53 {the letters of the land of Israel})….

    Regarding
the tradition that identifies the Even Shtia, we continue to rely in a simple
way upon the many Poskim till our day. As we have brought it as a simple
matter, see Bach to O.C. 561, Binyan Tzion, siman 2, Chatam Sofer, Yoreh
Deah 236, The Chafetz Chaim in Likutei Halachot, Zevachim 55b and more”
.

{Translators note: Ha in Hebrew stands for the word the, so a reference to Even Shtia and Even Hashtia are the same.}

With Blessings,
Shlomo Scheinman

Rabbi Neventzal’s Response  *********
Bs”D H’ P’  “And No Man Shall Desire Your Land”  The Holy City of Jerusalem, Let it be Built
and be Established Well Speedily  In Our Days

Shalom and blessing to the honorable R. Shlomo Scheinman, Shlit”a!
A] It is the manner of the Rambam to copy the Gemara. And what the Gemara
didn’t explain, he too usually doesn’t explain.
B] Every place that we dig, behold it is open towards the Holy as the place
itself and underneath the stone of which Tosafot talked about.
C] It needs further investigation in my humble opinion to push away the words
of the Radbaz.
D] The opinion of Rabbi Riki is a lone opinion and it seems to me that no
one finds a need to take it into account.
E] Rabbi Sonnenfeld didn’t ascend unarmed to the Temple Mount to conquer
it.
F] The ascent of citizens who immersed in a mikva and removed their shoes,
causes the ascent of policemen that did not immerse, nor remove their shoes.
This is not nearing the redemption, rather it is heaven forbid, a reason
to exile us from our land, as is the desire of Sharon and Abu Mazen.
The Youthful of the sons of Levi
Avigdor Neventzal

Issues Involving The Ascent To The Temple Mount – An Exchange Of Letters Between S. Scheinman and Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal

1 Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Others Permitted the Ascent to the Temple Mount
2 The 500 cubit by 500 cubit Proof against Tuvia Sagiv
3 Ascending the Temple Mount for the Sake of Saving Lives
4 Rabbi Moshe Feinstein didn’t tell us to rely upon the government to save us from Murderers and did not say that we should avoid prohibitions by sitting at home.
5 Jews Enter the El-Aska Mosque to Save the Ramban Synagogue
6 The Thing which Saved the Jews of Jerusalem from the same type of Destruction that came to the Jews of Hebron in 5689 [secular year 1929]
7 Tzachi Hanegbi Testifies that Ascending the Temple Mount Strengthens Our Control
8 Tunnels underneath the Temple Mount and more on Saving Live – letter 4
9 Proof That The Strict Opinion of the Tzitz Eliezer Concerning The Area Between The Wall Of The Old City And The Temple Mount Was Not Accepted As Halacha
10 The Three Oaths
11 The Ascent of Unarmed Citizens Causes Armed Policemen To Ascend
12 Regarding the Ascent of the Rabbis To The Temple Mount During the Six Day War
13 The Identification of the Even Hashtia by Sefer Har Hamor of Rabbi Yosi Pelee
14 Entering New Tunnels On the Temple Mount
15 Ascending the Temple Mount for the Sake of Conquest
16 Do we have to Worry that our Ascent to the Temple Mount Causes the Ascent of Policemen that did not Immerse in a Mikva
17 Rabbi Kook’s Position
18 Perhaps the Police Will Hit Those That Ascend the Temple Mount
19 Rabbi Kook Explains Why Daniel Was Allowed To Risk His Life When He Openly Prayed Against The Wish Of The Government
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