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[ Temple Mount Preservation Act Legislation ]
Cantor Introduces Temple Mount Preservation Act - Legislation would stop American taxpayer sponsorship of the erosion of Judeo-Christian heritage in Jerusalem
Office of Congressman Eric Cantor (VA-07)
For Immediate Release Contact: Jenn Mascott
Thursday, July 19, 2001 (202) 225-2815
WASHINGTON -- This morning, Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) introduced the Temple Mount Preservation Act with bipartisan support. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel, represents thousands of years of our Judeo-Christian heritage and is one of the most sacred sites to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Chairman Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have been excavating and removing ancient religious artifacts from the area under the Temple Mount. Cantor's legislation would cut off all aid to Arafat and the Palestinians until all unauthorized excavations from the Temple Mount come to an end.
Cantor conducted a briefing regarding his legislation and reported on his recent trip to Israel where he witnessed first-hand some of the ongoing destruction of the Temple Mount.
Cantor said, "This issue has implications not only for my constituents in Virginia, but for individuals across the globe." During the briefing, Cantor presented photographs released by the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, a coalition of Israel's leading archaeologists, authors, and public figures, led by Hebrew University Archaeologist, Dr. Eilat Mazar. The photographs demonstrate the excavation of religious artifacts, paving, and unauthorized construction conducted by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
"Connected with such destruction is extreme religious intolerance - contrary to the Jeffersonian principles of the free exercise of religion held dear by all Americans," said Cantor.
Press Briefing - Introduction of the Temple Mount Preservation Act
Remarks by Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia)
WASHINGTON, July 19- Thank you for coming today and for your interest in this important issue. I also want to thank my colleagues and friends, Congressman Pence and Congressman Weiner, for joining me. I am particularly grateful for your interest in the destruction of the Temple Mount and what I view as one of the most unprecedented attacks on religious heritage of our time.
Connected with such destruction is extreme religious intolerance - contrary to the Jeffersonian principles of the free exercise of religion held dear by all Americans.
This issue has implications not only for my constituents in Virginia, but for individuals across the globe.
Thousands of years of Judeo-Christian heritage is under siege at this most sacred of sites to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The Temple Mount is the site of the Biblical temple built by King Solomon, as well as the temple visited by Jesus as a child and again as an adult.
Today, I have information produced by archeologists that provides hard evidence of the destruction on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In 1967, Jerusalem was united under Israel's sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount.
The government has allowed equal access for all religions. Shortly after the 1967 War, the Israeli government delegated authority for the daily oversight of the Temple Mount to the Waqf, a Muslim Foundation, in tacit cooperation with Jordan. Jordan's role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the Israel-Jordanian peace treaty of 1994.
In the aftermath of the negotiations surrounding the Oslo Accords, Chairman Yasser Arafat took control of the Waqf, bringing about a change in the policy of free access for all religions on the Temple Mount.
He began by replacing the Jordanian-affiliated clergymen and officials and named Mufti Ikrima Sabri the chief Muslim administrator. Sabri, known for his anti-Semitic and anti-American views, has since declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.
More recently, Arafat has denied Jewish and Christian worshipers access to the historic Temple Mount and has restricted media from visiting the site.
Beginning in early 1998, Arafat's Waqf has permitted large-scale bulldozing and destruction of the Temple Mount antiquities. Thousands of tons of fill have been unearthed and simply dumped into the nearby Kidron Valley.
Archeologists have verified these artifacts date from the period of the First Temple [circa 1006 BC (BCE) to 586 BC (BCE)].
Anybody with any reasonable perspective would hold that the Temple Mount should be preserved and any disturbance thereon closely monitored.
But now, there are bulldozers and stone-cutting machines hacking away every day.
I know that in my District, we are known for historical sites, such as Montpelier, the home of former President James Madison. I can tell you that bulldozers come nowhere near the residence, or its estate.
I just returned from Israel two weeks ago. While there, I met with individuals and government officials who verified the media reports of the destruction. The Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount is comprised of former government leaders, archeologists, and academics who are concerned and have banned together to fight the destruction of the religious site. I saw ancient ruins unearthed from the time of the First and Second Temples. I saw construction equipment and materials protruding from the top of the Temple Mount, visible from the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. I met with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, who confirmed the pattern of destruction.
At this time, I'd like to turn to the pictures, which reflect the evidence compiled by these archeologists. The first series of photographs depict the Temple Mount site as it has evolved since the mid-1990s.
Particular attention should be given to the heavily treed landscape early on, and later, the paved plaza replacing the trees. Attention should focus on the southeastern area of the Temple Mount, under which an area called Solomon's Stables was connected with the Second Temple. In this area, Arafat has directed the destruction of what may have been part of the Temple complex.
The Waqf's action destroyed physical remnants of the religious site, including arched entranceways and colonnades believed to have played a role in religious life two thousand years ago.
The pictures depict bulldozers crushing evidence of the religious site and new construction masking any trace of the temple. There have been several press accounts reporting this grand-scale destruction of the Temple Mount, the full text of which are in your packets.
I would like to bring your attention to one in particular. This is from an Op-Ed carried by the National Review in October 2000, in which the author stated, "Moreover, the Waqf has devoted the past 33 years to an extensive campaign of excavation, systematically destroying any evidence of Jewish and Christian presence on the Temple Mount, so that they could argue - as they now do - that it has always been an exclusively Muslim place."
Further evidencing the calculated plan of Arafat's to destroy our Judeo-Christian heritage, we saw in the Boston Globe in March 2001 a quote from Sheik Ikrima Sabri: "The Temple Mount was never there. There is not one bit of proof to establish that. We do not recognize that the Jews have any right to the wall or to one inch of the sanctuary. Jews are greedy to control our mosque. If they every try to, it will be the end of Israel."
The bottom line is, Chairman Arafat's intent is to deny access to the Temple Mount for any individuals other than followers of Islam.
In addition, the evidence produced today clearly shows that Arafat is intent on erasing Judeo-Christian connections to the holy site.
And that is why I am introducing today the Temple Mount Preservation Act that would cut off all aid to Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority until all unauthorized excavations of the Temple Mount are stopped.
Currently, the United States is on track to send $125 million in aid this year to the United States Agency for International Development - USAID - for the Palestinians. This money is part of a $400 million package over three years appropriated by Congress in 2000.
Additionally, the U.S. annually provides approximately $75 million in indirect aid to the Palestinians - again administered through the USAID.
Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001
(Original Signature of Member)
H. R. ___________
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CANTOR introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on
To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This act may be cited as the "Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001."
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Temple Mount, located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel, has great religious significance to the world's three major monotheistic religions, and increasing violence, religious intolerance, and archeological neglect threaten to destroy this sacred site.
(2) According to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount (Har ha-Bayit in Hebrew) is the location where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in the ultimate test of his commitment to God. The Temple Mount was also the site of the first and second Holy Temples, and it is a basic tenet of Judaism that it will be the site of the third Holy Temple.
(3) According to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the Temple Mount in the Second Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses. He referred to the Biblical Temple as his Father's House, and was tempted by the Devil at the pinnacle of the Temple Mount.
(4) According to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad ascended into Heaven riding al-Burak from the edge of the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif in Arabic). Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on the site of the Prophet's ascent and is the third holiest site in Islam. The Dome of the Rock was built over the Holiest Rock, considered in Muslim traditions as the Center or Core of the Universe.
(5) In June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city under Israel's sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount and has been respectful of the religious practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims with regard to this site.
(6) The Israeli Government elected to delegate the daily oversight of the Temple Mount to the Temple Mount Waqf (Religious Council), whose responsibility dates back to 1432, in tacit cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan because of the King's capacity as the Custodian of Haram al-Sharif. In 1994, Jordan's role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty.
(7) In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Authority asserted pre-eminence on the Temple Mount through the subversion of the Waqf and by coercing the Jordan-affiliated officials and clergymen off the Temple Mount. Arafat personally nominated the virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American Mufti Ikrima Sabri as the Imam of al-Aqsa Mosque. In May 1998, Sabri declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.
(8) In 1996, the Israeli Islamic Movement sponsored the expansion of the underground al-Marawani Mosque on the Temple Mount. The excavation conducted for this expansion extended beyond the original compound, and an ancient underground structure dating from the period of the Second Temple (circa 515 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 70 A.D. (C.E.), known as the Western Hulda Gate passageway was converted into a mosque.
(9) In early 1998, the Waqf, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, began further excavation. A major underground mosque hall was inaugurated in August 1999 and an emergency exit was opened to a mosque located on the Temple Mount. The exit is 18,000 square feet in size and up to 36 feet deep, and thousands of tons of ancient fills from the site were dumped into the Kidron Valley. Archeologists have subsequently determined that artifacts dumped into the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount dated from the period of the First Temple (circa 22 1006 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 586 B.C. (B.C.E.).
(10) In mid 2000, Arafat deployed onto the Temple Mount armed and unarmed security personnel of Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Forces in violation of numerous past agreements with Israel. Rajoub's forces evicted the Waqf's personnel and consolidated Arafat's control and ability to wage the Intifadah (''uprising'') against Israel.
(11) In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon.
(12) In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground halls under the Temple Mount be unified into a single fortified space that would be both the largest mosque ever built on Haram al-Sharif and a springboard for the forthcoming Palestinian struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction work, there is great fear that the foundations of the two Holy Mosques will be severely damaged to the point of collapse.
(13) The actions of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority threaten to eliminate all historical evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount and serve to discredit Israeli claims of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
(14) The massive excavation and unsupervised destruction of artifacts discovered within the Temple Mount are undeniable affronts to the concepts of religious freedom and tolerance that must be respected in order to achieve and maintain peace in the Middle East. The destruction of the Temple Mount, which threatens to incite more violence, is destroying sacred artifacts and jeopardizing the ability of Americans to understand and promote their Judeo-Christian heritage.
SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON FUNDS FOR PALESTINIAN AUTHORITIES AND ITS INSTRUMENTALITIES
(a) PROHIBITION. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act of Congress may be used for any form of assistance to the Palestinian Authority or any instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority unless the President has certified to the Congress that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.
(b) ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION REQUIRED. Any certification by the President under subsection (a) shall expire on the last day of the fiscal year in which it is made.
(c) NATIONAL SECURITY WAIVER. The President may waive the prohibition contained in subsection (a) for a fiscal year if the President certifies in writing to the Congress that such waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.
WHY MOST RABBINICAL AUTHORITIES OPPOSE JEWISH ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT
KOCHAV HASHACHAR, LIBERATED SAMARIA, Yom Rishon (Day One - "Sunday"), 17 Tevet, 5760 (December 26, 1999), Root & Branch: It is quite clear that there are parts of the Temple Mount which are permissible for Jews to enter. Even non-Jews were permitted to enter the Court of the Gentiles non-Jews to pray and deliver their burnt offerings for the Kohanim (priests) to sacrifice within.
The reason most rabbinical authorities oppose any Jewish entrance to the Temple Mount is complex.
Part of the reason is political-theological. Here halachic (Jewish legal) stringency and fear of upsetting the secular Israeli authorities as well as the Arab world and the West conveniently coincide. There is a long-established tradition from our years in exile which causes rabbinical authorities to be very careful of rocking the boat in a way which might even remotely lead to harm against fellow Jews anywhere in the world.
This is also intimately connected with the oaths said to have been sworn at the time of the destruction of the first Temple, accepting the hegemony of gentile governments with the limitation that the nations should not excessively persecute the Jews. This is the subject of extensive polemics revolving around the subject of Zionism in the religious Jewish world.
Part of the reason is the fear that if entrance to the Temple Mount were permitted to Jews, historical and national-oriented but non-Torah observant ("not-yet-religious") Jews would not immerse themselves as prescribed by halacha or otherwise conduct themselves properly in the holy precincts of the Temple area.
The absurd result of the present situation is that Muslim worship is the only worship permitted on the Temple Mount while free passage of Arabs picnicking and playing football and (sometimes scantily-clad) tourists is assured. Shalom from Kochav HaShachar, Yehoshua Friedman [firstname.lastname@example.org], Founder and Chairman, Noah Institute, Root & Branch Association. [Reprinted from the Root & Branch Information Services, http://www.rb.org.il, email@example.com].
JEW ARRESTED FOR CLOSING EYES ON TEMPLE MOUNT: A Jewish Quarter resident was arrested yesterday for simply closing her eyes on the Temple Mount when she went up to the Temple Mount to walk in the areas permissible according to Jewish law. When she sat down on a bench and closed her eyes, she was accosted by the Waqf police and interrogated. When she told them that she is a student at Hebrew University, studying the Second Temple period, they responded by asking, "You really believe there was a Second Temple? You plan to destroy the dome [of the Rock] and build the Second Temple!" The Waqf officials then turned her over to a detachment of the Israel police stationed in the Old City, where she was held and questioned for four hours. During the questioning, a police officer told her that she was being charged with the crime of "praying on the Temple Mount. He explained to me that closing my eyes 'was an act of prayer. " There is no law on the Israeli books forbidding prayer on the Temple Mount. "The policeman forbade me from returning to the Temple Mount," continued the woman, "and instructed me to report to the police every two days until I leave the country on December 15th, or else risk a 4,000 shekel fine." (Arutz 7)
1. ATT'Y-GEN: WE HAVE LOST CONTROL OVER TEMPLE MOUNT: The Moslem Waqf's newly-opened illegal entrance on the Temple Mount is still up for discussion in Israeli government circles. Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami says that no forceful entry to the Temple Mount will be made to seal the new 12-meter entrance. "We will not be like the Netanyahu government," he said, "that opened the Hasmonean tunnels without considering the ramifications I believe that it will be possible to have the entrance sealed without the use of force... I don't want to put on a show of force that will cause the entire city to burn - but there are other ways to ensure that the artifacts on the Mount are preserved, and that there will be effective archaeological supervision there - and I will recommend to the Prime Minister that we go all the way on this matter."
At a meeting on the matter last night in the Public Security Minister's office, senior police officials said that if the entrance is sealed up - as occurred three months ago with a much smaller entranceway illegally opened by the Waqf - there are liable to be severe Arab riots on the Temple Mount. Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein admitted at the meeting that the Israeli law enforcement authorities have basically lost control over what happens on the Temple Mount. Antiquities Authority chief Amir Drori called the Waqf action an "archaeological crime," while the Attorney-General said that "the remnants of the history of the Jewish people are being trampled. The Waqf must be told that we have tolerance for their worship, but that they will not be allowed to kick aside our history."
Likud MK Danny Naveh, speaking on Arutz-7 today, commented: "I agree that the Temple Mount issue in Jerusalem is sensitive and potentially explosive, but the question is how did the Barak government allow itself to get into this situation in the first place. Three months ago, Barak knew of the Palestinian plans on the Mount, and said, 'OK, let them do it, as long as they coordinate it with us.' So the Palestinians carried out their works, and didn't coordinate with us. Over the last ten days, the government saw tractors and trucks coming in to the Mount, and didn't do a thing to stop them."
Gush Shalom [Peace Bloc] issued a statement today calling upon the government to announce unequivocally that "the Temple Mount is a Moslem area, and that it has no intention of intervening in what goes on there, so that this issue may be removed once and for all from the public agenda."
2. COURT MAY INTERVENE IN THE REWRITING OF HISTORY: Nadav Shragai, a journalist who has written a book on the topic of the Temple Mount, explained the background of the current controversy: "About three months ago, the Waqf opened up a hole in the wall from the inside to the outside of the Temple Mount, and the fear was that a new southern entrance to the Mount was being created. The police came at night and sealed the opening. This time, however, the entrance is totally on the inside - a new opening to the area of Solomon's Stables - and is much bigger. This makes it technically less feasible for the police to seal it. The opening is 12 meters wide, and 10 meters deep. They work was carried out with trucks, bulldozers, and cranes... The police had originally agreed to the opening of a small entrance, for safety reasons, but never agreed to what Amir Drori called 'this monumental entrance-way.'"
Shragai said that Rubenstein's strong remarks about the loss of government control on the Mount may cause the Supreme Court to come to different decisions on the matter than have been made until now: "Until now, the Antiquities Authority has refused to back the official government position, and has refused to claim that the Waqf's activities on the Mount do not harm Jewish artifacts there. The government, however, continued to claim that there was cooperation with the Waqf and that everything was under control. In the last court case on the matter, Yehuda Etzion demanded that the works stop, and Justice Dorit Beinish refused, under the assumption that the government is involved in what was going on there. The picture now appears to be very different, and it is now realized that there is no state control over what is going on there. It is in fact very likely that the next petition to the Supreme Court - the Likud has threatened to sue the government to stop the current Waqf actions - will have very different results."
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute told Arutz-7's Ron Meir today that the Palestinian damage to Jewish artifacts under the Temple Mount may be irreparable: "The entrance is in an area with extreme significance in terms of the original complexes of entrances to the Temple Mount from the south... The Arabs are not only denying our history by talking about it - saying that there was no Temple, and the like - but they are now also doing something about it: erasing the evidence that there was a Temple there." (Arutz Sheva News Service, http://www.arutzsheva.org)
JORDAN WILLING TO YIELD CONTROL OF JERUSALEM HOLY SITES
According to statements made by Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdul-Raouf al-Rawabdeh, the Hashemite Kingdom is willing to officially turn over its control of Jerusalem holy sites to the Palestinian Authority.
The Jordanian Prime Minister made his statements earlier in the week in an interview on the Middle East Broadcasting Center. According to the PA, the Jordanian government is currently working in cooperation with PA religious officials in overseeing the activities on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem's Old City. (IsraelWire, August 31, 1999)
MOSLEMS BREAK OPEN WALL ON TEMPLE MOUNT
The Moslem Wakf has punched out an opening on the Temple Mount over looking the Western Wall plaza and archeologists are concerned it may have damaged ancient sites. The "double gate" is one of two gates built during Herod's reign, said former Jerusalem District archeologist Dan Bahat. He said the gate is really a tunnel which ran from the wide steps along the southern flank of the Temple Mount. "Inside there were capitals with decorations from the Second Temple; they are actually the most serious remnants inside the holy mount from the Second Temple," Bahat told Israel Radio. According to Bahat, the tunnel had been left alone since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and legend has it that Mohammed used the gate as an entrance onto the mount. Bahat said the gate was eventually sealed in the 11th century. He said that the Wakf had knocked out an opening the size of a door from one of the windows over looking the double gate. He said that no archeologist has been allowed to visit the lower parts of the Aksa Mosque and expressed concern that damage may be caused by the renovations there.
"It concerns me that they are doing something they shouldn't be doing, particularly since there are there the most serious remains of the Second Temple period which can be found on the Temple Mount," Bahat said. "I am very concerned about their fate." He said that the window probably doesn't pose any threat since it is high above ground level. Bahat also said that the entire lower Al-Aksa area has never been excavated properly and that now is an opportunity to finally carry out excavations. (Jerusalem Post) Posted August 10, 1999.
IMAN CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF JEWS & CHRISTIANS ON PA TV
"O Allah! Bless all true believers in their sacred Muslim struggle against the wicked infidels. Help us to destroy the cursed Jewish invaders who have stolen Muslim land, raped Muslim women, and murdered Muslim babies.
"Help us in our struggle against the Christian infidel non-believers who place their disgusting idolatrous symbols on their Satanic churches in defiance of the will of Allah, blessed be his name. " [they seem to overlook the fact that the crescent moon adorning their Mosques was the symbol of the moon god, Allah]
"Help us defeat the cursed giant America, that nation of Christian whores whose women are all prostitutes and whose children are all pornographers.
"The non-believers want to destroy your mosques and holy places. The infidels disrespect your holy Koran. The Jewish devils and Christian crusaders have overrun the Muslim City of Al Kuds [Jerusalem].
"Help us to regain control of all areas that the Jewish soldiers have trampled upon. Help us to regain control of the rest of Gaza from the fascist hordes of Jewish settlers. Help us to regain control of the Negev, the Galilee and the Golan Heights.
"Help us to defeat these Jewish infidel non-believers who are your enemies. These Jewish soldiers of Meir Kahane and Ehud Barak who wish to tear down Mecca and Medina." (PATV, Palestinian Television, July 23, 1999)
The Messiah: A Jewish View:
Torah/Commentary: Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9), Commentary on the Weekly Torah Reading for 2 Elul, 5759 (August 14, 1999)
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
EFRAT, ISRAEL, Yom Revii (Fourth Day - "Wednesday"), 29 Av, 5759 (August 11, 1999), Root & Branch: To a certain degree, the Right and the Left in Israel are divided by the Messianists and the non-Messianists, those who believe we are headed in the direction of Redemption and those who decry any talk of salvation as fanaticism. The arch-rationalist of Jewish philosophy, Moses Maimonides (Rambam), concludes his magnum opus on Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, with a description of the Millennium or the Messianic Age, and he declares that "anyone who does not believe in him (the Messiah) or does not anxiously await his coming denies not only the teachings of the prophets but also those of the Torah and Moses our teacher." [Laws of Kings, Ch. 11, Hal. 1]
This is strong medicine. Maimonides' brand of messianism is natural, evolutionary and normative, insisting that both before and during the period of messianic peace, the natural order of things will remain the same. Yet this same thinker formulated the necessity of our not only believing but also anxiously expecting ("mehakeh"). Is not belief sufficient? How one anticipates an event is largely an individual matter: one person might sit at the window facing Jerusalem, even if she's homebound in Pasaic; another may keep his passport always up to date so that he won't get stuck on long lines when the day finally arrives; a third may sign up for service in the I.D.F. (Israel Defense Forces).
Tales of Hassidic Masters abound with holy men whose suitcases were packed and waiting. The real question is, why should anxious expectation be such an important part of the commandment? This week's portion of Shoftim, which includes the commandment to anoint a king over Israel, gives us a hint as to why it is absolutely necessary to incorporate the notion of waiting, of yearning and hoping, into a belief system, particularly if it involves the loftiest goal of all, the very climax of human history, the restoration of the House of David.
Our Bible provides for the possibility of a king, but any resemblance to neighboring kings is at best coincidental:
"The king must not accumulate too many horses...He also must not have many wives so that they not make his heart go astray. He shall also not accumulate much silver and gold." [Deuteronomy 17:16-17]
Even more importantly, our king must be a representative of the King of all Kings, the recorder and transmitter of His Torah:
"And it shall be as he ascends upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Torah in a book..." [Deuteronomy 17:18]
Long before Plato, the Jewish model for the monarchy is the philospher-king. The Bible he must write is not to serve as a mere ritual object "for show":
"And it (the Torah) shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Eternal his G-d, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them. This is so that his heart may not be exalted above his brethren, and that he depart not from the commandment, to the right or to the left..." [Deuteronomy 17:19]
The simple meaning of the words is that the king writes his own Torah Scroll. Undoubtedly, anointing the new king thrusts him into a whirlwind of national obligations and responsibilities, whatever is necessary to protect and provide for the population. So how much time is there left for the king to write his own Sefer Torah?
Common sense would have it that the writing of the Torah was carried out over a period of time, the king fitting it into his tight schedule. If this is so, why does the Torah choose the word "k'shivto" which means "as he ascends the throne" and not "b'shivto" which would suggest the entire time period that the king reigns?
Evidence for the different meanings of these two words is found in Proverbs and in the Book of Kings.
In the midst of the chronicles of various kings of Israel, we read how Ela the son of Basha began to reign in Tirza, and that after two years his servant Zimri conspired against him.
"And it came to pass when he [Zimri] began to reign, as soon as he sat down ("k'shivto") on his throne that he slew all the house of Ba'asha." [1 Kings 16:11]
Other than our portion of Shoftim, this is only time that the word "k'shivto" appears and it is clear that the usurper Zimri did not wait until he was settled into his throne. He acted immediately, "k'shivto", as soon as he assumed the Kingship. Had he not acted immediately, he probably would never have become King!
In contrast, the single appearance of the word "b'shivto" in the Bible confirms that its meaning suggests sitting over a period of time. Every Friday night we sing Eshet Chayil, the ode to the Women of Valor, in which one verse reads: "Her husband is known in the gates whilst he sits among the elders of the land." [Proverbs 31:23]
Despite the extraordinary responsibilities of a newly anointed king, the Bible insists that he recite the Torah at the time that he assumes the throne. I would suggest a very human and understandable reason for the Bible's haste.
The Scripture wants to capture and to extend as much as possible in writing all of the exalted feelings and anticipations, the lofty plans and preparations, which characterizes the immediate period prior to the assumption of a new stage of life or the elevation to an important position. This is especially necessary because, all too often, history demonstrates that an exalted kingship could descend into wanton greed and corruption. The spark of divinity which provided aspiring princes with the best of intentions often turns into an almost bestial hunger for accumulating private wealth and sensuous pleasures.
The tyrannies of the 20th century can rest their laurels on a long 'honor roll' of dictators whose initial thrust was to revolt against the injustices of their time, only to turn themselves into caricatures of evil, mimicking their former enemies on a scale beyond imagination. No Russian czar comes close to Stalin's mass murders. The 'reign of terror' of the French Revolution was a mockery of the previous century's imperial excesses, turning the idealistic justification of Fraternity and equality into a cruel joke.
We celebrate the festival of the victory of the Maccabean revolution for the eight days of Chanukah because of a small cruse of Menorah oil enough for one day which miraculously lasted for seven. The miracle was therefore only a seven-day miracle, so why do we rejoice for eight? One of the answers I am fond of giving is that the Jewish freedom fighters over 2000 years ago remembered the Holy Temple ideal of purity even AFTER they won their battle, a rare phenomenon for revolutions in general.
Why does Maimonides codify a law requiring us to look forward to the restoration of the kingdom of David? In certain ways, preparing for the coming of the king is more significant than his actual arrival. The Festival of the giving of the Torah is called "weeks" ("Shavuot" or Pentecost) because of the Israelite anticipation of and preparation for the Divine Revelation at Sinai while we were in the desert. Once we received the Torah we hardly made good use of it, worshiping the golden calf only forty days later. If only we could maintain the bliss of the moments before we stood under the nuptial canopy, the idealism of the first moments when we assumed a new position of stature!
Perhaps our finest hours are those spent in anxious anticipation and preparation for the Messiah, just as the King's most important task is to incorporate the ideals of his ascension to the throne into the much longer period of his reign. It is pre-Zionism and not post-Zionism which must guide our steps.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
FUNDRAISING UNDERWAY FOR THE THIRD TEMPLE
Temple Mount activists are stepping-up efforts to regain control of the Temple Mount and begin efforts towards the construction of the Third Temple. Efforts by Chai Vekaiyam leader Yehuda Etzion and other Temple Mount activists brought about the first meeting which was held several weeks ago in Jerusalem in the hope of launching the "Temple Treasury" project to begin raising funds for the construction of the Third Temple.
Also involved in the project are Yoel Lerner and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and leaders of the Temple Mount Faithful organization. Etzion, who has been at the forefront of the battle to regain Jewish control of the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temple, points out that Jewish law dictates that the Jewish people make preparations for the building of the final temple. This, he explains, includes the raising of the necessary funds to undertake the project. He explained the monies collected would be traded for gold, which must be set aside for the time when construction could get underway. Etzion added the project would increase awareness among Jews, with many then asking themselves, "What have I done today to bring the construction closer to becoming a reality?"
In June 1967, Israel liberated the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, the holiest site to the Jewish people, but saw fitting to place control of the site in the hands of the Moslem Wakf, which until today, has barred Jews from praying on the Mount and denying them Freedom of Worship. The High Court of Justice has repeatedly called to permit Jews to pray on the Mount, but has always placed the final decision in the hands of Israel police permitting the cancellation of Jewish prayer at anytime police thought the public safety may be compromised. To date, police have always used the clause to deny Jews permission to pray on the Mount and the Wakf threats of violence in light of any attempts by Jews to pray have succeeded in keeping the area off limits to Jewish worshippers. Etzion and his followers as well as the Temple Mount Faithful organization, continue to call for the expulsion of the Wakf and demand the government of Israel take control of the Holy Site, and once again cleanse it of foreign deities and begin preparations for the construction of the Third Temple. (IsraelWire)
NEW MOSQUE UNDER TEMPLE MOUNT
In total disregard for local building laws and codes, and the preservation of archeological artifacts, the Moslem Wakf in charge of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City has erected another new mosque which occupies approximately 1,000 square meters (about 10,000 square feet). The project was undertaken primarily by the Islamic Movement run by Israeli Arabs. The destruction of walls, ancient ruins, removal of artifacts and the entire project was accomplished without any supervision of officials of the Israel Antiquities Society, a move which experts now admit may have disturbed or destroyed some of the most important archeological finds in the capital. Adnan al Husseini, the executive director of the Wakf stated in response on Monday, "We do not need any building permits or licenses since this is a Moslem controlled site. This has been our policy since 1967." According to Amir Drori, who heads the Israel Antiquities Society, since the opening of the Hashmonean Tunnel in September 1996 and the bloody Arab riots that followed, his organization has ceased its practice of constantly monitoring the sited under Wakf control. Senior police commanders admitted being aware of the ongoing Wakf construction explaining they have an understanding that as long as the construction goes on quietly, they would not intervene unless receiving orders from "higher up." (IsraelWire)
SECULAR JEWS FOR THE TEMPLE
"With Causeless Love We Will be Rebuilt." So reads a new bumper sticker being distributed by an organization named "Secular Jews for the Temple," whose goal it is to promote Jewish awareness of the Temple and the Temple Mount. (Arutz-7) spoke with one of its members, Ahuvyah Tabenkin of left-wing Kibbutz Ein Harod. "It's true that we don't exactly represent a majority of secular Kibbutz members," he said, "as most of them are busy building themselves materialistically, but the pioneers have always been a minority - the Zionists were a minority among the Jews, those who came to the Land were a minority among the Zionists, those who worked the land were also a minority, and now this group is a minority as well. But I hope that soon we will be the leaders."
The fact that the Arabs pray from there to Mecca, but at the same time don't let us up there [at will], makes the Temple Mount into a symbol of our Exile and humiliation. Similarly, instead of ordering the police to enforce Jewish fundamental rights to pray there, our Supreme Court leaves the decision to the police, according to whether it's 'convenient' or not... Historically, too, the Mount was not only a place of sacrifices, but also a place of prayer and a symbol of our nationhood. The Arabs, too, feel that as long as they control the Temple Mount, they have a chance to banish us totally from the Land."
THE ISSUE OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT
From Yeshivat Har HaBayit
(originally published in Yibane HaMikdash, issue 75)
It is common knowledge that the Rabbis of our generation have prohibited Jews from entering the Temple Mount. The Rabbis state that the actual location of the Temple Structure is not known. Since it is uncertain where a Jew may go without first attaining a level of purification (mandated by Jewish Law when entering the confines of certain areas of the Temple Mount), it is said that Jews must not tread on the entire Temple Mount. In other words, the assumed conclusion regarding the Temple Mount is that no Jew should take the risk of incurring the punishment of "kareit" (cutting off the soul from the Jewish People) by entering the area of the Temple while being impure.
It is the purpose of this paper to analyze the issues and sources concerning entering the Temple Mount. Upon reading the following pages the reader will, with G-d's help, understand the position of the Rabbis of our generation and compare them to the positions of Rabbis of previous generations concerning the Temple Mount. We are convinced that the issues are clear and that with some thought and conviction the reader will discover the centrality of this modern Jewish problem to all of Jewish thought. Additionally, we hope the conclusion reached will foster the courage required to make what which is wrong, right and that which is a desecration, a sanctification.
B. The Silent Rabbis
The impression world Jewery now maintains concerning the issue of entering and maintaining control over the Temple Mount is a false one. In contradiction to the idea that all contemporary Rabbis have forbidden entrance to the Temple Mount, we find the following modern Rabbinical opinions:
1. The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu: Upon reading about the Jews going up to the Temple Mount wrote, "I am happy to hear about your yearning for Zion, however we must protect that the Children of Israel will enter the *permitted places* in purity and holiness. Hashem should strengthen you and He should be with you. Amen, it should be His Will."
2. The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Goren: I hereby notify that because of the danger of a takeover of the Temple Mount by Moslems and despite the Halachic rules that would apply, for the purpose of protecting the sovereignty it is no only permitted, but it is a holy commandment ("mitzvah") to go up to the Temple Mount. We learn that to protect the Temple it is permitted to enter even the Holy of Holies. So much more so to enter the Temple Mount in order to stop an Arab takeover and protect our sovereignty, it is permitted and a commandment. Concerning us, when the purpose is to free the Temple Mount from a takeover by goyim, the more knesset members and other Jews that go up will bring a greater result. The suggestion is not to enter with leather shoes and to go to the mikvah the same day.
3. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavicher Rebbe: During Sukkot 5751 (1990), the Rebbe told the Jewish People to go to the "Place of the Temple", in the permitted areas, and celebrate the "Simchat Beit HaShoeva" (celebration of the water drawing) in the greatest and highest level of happiness. He continued by saying that by doing so, the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of Mashiach will be hastened.
4. The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv & Jaffa, Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi: The law pertaining to entering the Temple Mount is one of the simplest and clearest. It is known that we aren't allowed to make a decree by ourselves, to forbid the permitted. It is incumbent upon the people in charge to devote their time and energies and make every effort possible to allow and encourage Bnei Yisrael to enter the permitted areas.
5. The Chief Rabbi of Netanya, Rabbi David Chaim Shlush: It is good to be accustomed to going up to the Temple Mount in our times to the permitted places.
6. The Rabbi of Kiryat Moshe, Rabbi Avraham Shalom David: I read the material on the Temple Mount and I, hereby, join the recommendation of the Chief Rabbi to go up to the Temple Mount to the permitted places and Hashem will be with you. Amen, it should be His will.
7. The Kabbalist, Rabbi Yichya Alsheich: The Rabbis permitted the sacrificing of the Passover offering and the daily "Tamid" offering on the spot of the alter. We are allowed to go up to the Temple Mount to search for the spot of the alter and to make preparations that are required for such. Hashem should give you favor, kindness, and grant success so we should merit the rebuilding of the Temple, speedily in our times, Amen.
8. Rosh Yeshivat Paecha Ya'acov, Rabbi Levy Nachmani: Since the conquest of Jerusalem, the requirement to build the Temple and to bring sacrifices has been renewed. There is a special requirement of the Bet-Din (Rabbinate) of the generation and the Kohanim. Negligence in building the Temple will bring punishment. The commandment of conquering the Land of Israel cancels Shabbat and therefore cancels the prohibition of impurity. It is therefore worthy of every man and woman to go up to the Mount and show a constant Jewish presence and thus prove the ownership of Am Yisrael over the Temple Mount can even without going to the mikvah. The one who does up to the Temple Mount after going to the mikvah is even better. Hashem should allow us to witness speedily the full sovereignty of the People of Israel over the Temple Mount, the Temple built in its place and the sacrifices renewed speedily in our times, Amen.
9. Grandson of Rav Kook, Rabbi Eliyahu Shlomo Ra'anan: I, hereby, join the call from the Rabbis recommending to go up to the Temple Mount, into permitted areas, because it is clear without any shadow of a doubt. My grandfather, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook never said the "aliyah" to the permitted spots is forbidden. It is surely a great mitzvah to free the holiest site from the goyim, bud done in the proper way.
C. Permitted Places
Most of the previously mentioned Rabbis talk about the "permitted places." This phrase is taken directly from the Rambam (Maimonides), Laws of the Temple, Chapter 7, Law 7. The Rambam rules, "even though the Temple is destroyed ... a Jew is obligated to revere the Temple as if it were built. Only enter the permitted places and do not sit in the 'Azara' (Temple Courtyard) ... as it says, 'guard My Sabbath and revere My Temple', just as the Sabbath is forever, so too is the reverence for the Temple eternal, even though it has been destroyed."
The opinion of the Rambam not withstanding, there remains the question the Rabbis pose, "How do we know where the permitted areas are?"
Today, the Temple Mount is three times its original size. Most of what is deemed the Temple Mount in our time is, in face, no different than any other part of Jerusalem. The extreme northern and southern parts of the Temple Mount are, according to all opinions, not part of the actual Mount. Almost all opinion maintain that the extreme western side is not part of the Mount (which means that the Western Wall is not the wall of the Temple nor is it part of the Mount). All opinions state that the Temple stood in or near the center of the Temple Mount.
Should one decide to take *all* Rabbinical opinions into account (although some contradict another) one would remain with the majority of the land mass which constitutes the Temple Mount today, as "permitted places". Of the actual Temple Mount, only a small section of is housed the Temple and the Temple courtyards. The following quotation from the Rambam, Laws of the Temple, Chapter 7, Law 15: "the Temple Mount is holier that it [Jerusalem] as zavim, zavot, nidot, and yoledet (impure people who require a clean week and ritual immersion to become pure) do not enter. You are permitted to bring a dead body onto the Temple Mount, and there is no need to even mention that a person impure from contact with a dead body can enter." Tractate Sota 20b.
If a person purifies himself by immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath) or natural spring, he may enter without any reservation the area of the
Perhaps the most important aspect of the Temple Mount issue deals with the concept of "conquest". That is to say, gaining and maintaining control over the Temple Mount. The Rabbis maintain that the law on entering only the permitted places applies during normal circumstances. However, the Rabbis rule that there are times when this law is nullified by more important considerations. There are situations mandating that a person enter the holiest of places in the Temple despite the fact that he is neither a Kohen nor spiritually pure. As an example of this idea our sages tell us: to build the Temple, to make repairs and continued maintenance, or to remove something impure all constitutes positive reasons for entering the forbidden areas of the Temple. (Tractate Eruvin 105a, Torat Kohanim Emor 3,11 and the Rambam's Laws of the Temple 7,23, etc.)
The rationale behind permitting impure people the entrance to the holiest areas of the Temple Mount is quite simple. A person entering these areas in order to fulfill one of the above-mentioned tasks is doing so for the sake of the entire people, not for his own self- aggrandizement. Therefore, service in the Temple for the sake of the nation nullifies any impurity that the person may have. This rule also applies to other commandments connected to serving the people of Israel.
There remains little question that the law of conquest applies as one of the reasons for entering the holy ares while impure. In order to conquer the Temple Mount from the hands of the enemy, the impurity is nullified. This idea was mentioned in the decree by Rabbi Levi Nahmani concerning the verse, "My Sabbaths you shall guard and My Temple you shall revere ..." (Vayikra 16:30)
Both the guarding of the Sabbath and the revering of the holiness of the Temple appear in the same verse; we therefore draw a connection between the two. As we know from the book of Joshua 5:15, the Jews conquered Jericho on the Sabbath (to teach us that conquest takes precedence over the Sabbath). The same rule, therefore, applies to the Temple Mount. The act of conquering that which Hashem has instructed supersedes that which can be attained or adhered to another time. There is no act of purity or impurity as long as the Temple Mount remains out of our hands. Conquering the Mount takes precedence over impurity.
The reader may pose the following: "Since the Temple Mount has already been conquered from the hands of the enemy, there is no longer a commandment to conquer the area." In other words, the impurity of the soldiers who conquered the Mount during the Six-Day War was nullified as is the impurity of the soldiers and police who continue to guard it, but an ordinary Jew, not in uniform, will not be fulfilling the commandment of conquest simply by entering the Mount.
To answer this question properly we must first fully understand the concept behind the commandment of conquering the Land of Israel. The Ramban (Nachmanides) in the Sefer Mitzvot states that the conquest of the Land of Israel is the fulfillment of the commandment to settle the land. It is not enough, according to the Ramban, for a Jew to merely live in the land; he must remove the enemies from within it. Rashi, in his commentary on the verses Bamidbar 33:52-53, writes that to live in the Land of Israel you must first conquer and expel the enemy.
Thus, we find in the Book of Joshua 3:10 as the Jews stand poised to enter the waters of the Jordan River, the words of Joshua to the Jewish Nation: "Hereby you shall know that the living G-d is among you, and He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaani, the Hitti, the Hivvi, and the Perizzi, and Girgashi, and the Emori and the Yevusi [all inhibitors of the Land]."
In the Tractate Gitten 8b, the Rabbis permitted a Jew to tell a gentile to write a deed of sale on Shabbat in order for the Jew to buy the land of the gentile in Israel. The Rabbis justified this undoing of a Rabbinic prohibition because of the performance of the great mitzvah of "settling the Land of Israel". Rashi adds: "for the sake of settling the Land of Israel, to expel the gentiles and to settle the Jews in place of them." The Ribash (a contemporary of the Ba'al Turim) wrote in a responsum on this gemara: "the Jew who buys a field from a gentile is better than the one who goes to live in the Land, because the aliyah is only for himself and for the here and now ... but settling the Land (buying the field) is a deed that holds merit forever and serves the purpose of the entire People of Israel in order that the Holy Land not remain in the hands of the impure."
Finally, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook was once asked why we do not make a blessing on aliyah to Israel. His answer was: "the fundamental purpose of the commandment to settle Israel is to redeem the land from strangers and the gentiles ... for this reason there was not enacted a blessing for aliyah as is only the first step and not completion of the commandment." (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Maimon, 5734, page 427)
As our Rabbis have demonstrated, the Jewish people has failed in the performance of the obligation of settling the Land as long as Arabs control any part of Eretz Yisrael, let alone the Temple Mount. When the Temple Mount, the place where G-d reveals His majesty to His People and the entire world, how is it possible that the Jewish People allow a continued foreign occupation? Indeed, we find that the commandment of conquest is incumbent on every Jew, whether a soldier, a policeman, or a concerned Jew. Every act of removing foreign ownership, possession, and sovereignty over any part of Israel, especially the Temple Mount, is an act of conquest.
All those who venture up to the Mount soon realize that it is the Arabs, under the auspices of the Moslem religious council, that are in virtually complete control of our Holiest Site. Jews are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews are forbidden to perform any Jewish rituals on the Temple Mount. Jews are forbidden to walk freely on the Temple Mount. Jews are not permitted the same freedoms the tourists are given while on the Temple Mount. Is the very act of ascending the Mount, wearing a skullcap or hat and tzitzit, in themselves, acts leading to conquering the Mount and redeeming it from the hands of the enemy?
There are two ways of answering this question. First, this question should be approached from an aspect of Jewish Law. The question arises in the Tractate Baba Batra 100a. In this gemara the Rabbis debate the issue of demonstrating ownership. Can a person show ownership by walking over the area in question or are other acts required? It is apparent from the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 192) that the law is similar to that where the Rabbis hold to show ownership an individual must do more than merely walk on a piece of land. However, the Rabbis do concur with Rabbi Eliezer concerning the path of the grape pickers (i.e. a public path). The Meiri points out that the public shows possession over a path by simply walking. Since any Jew ascending the Temple Mount is not trying to attain personal ownership of the land, but is reclaiming the ownership for the entire Jewish People, the actual walking on the Mount is an act of conquest; Second, mere common sense dictates that if masses of Jews were simply to go up to the Mount we would express our desire for Jewish Sovereignty.
For almost 1500 years after the destruction of the Second Temple there are historical accounts of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. The following are citations from the Sefer Har HaBayit by Shaul Shefer, pages 341-345:
1. 363 C.E. Julian Caesar, the Byzantine, returns Jerusalem to the Jews in the days of Hillel the third and allows them to build a Temple. An earthquake destroyed the building materials stored in Solomon's Stables.
2. 640 C.E. Kalif Omar Ibn-Chatub cleans and repairs the Temple Mount, allows 7 Jews to settle there and build a yeshiva.
3. 940 C.E. The Karaite writer, Solomon Ben-Yerucham, writes about a synagogue on the southern side of the Temple Mount and the arguments between the Rabbis and Karaites caused the Jews to lose their foothold on the Mount.
4. 1000 C.E. Rabbi Avraham Berachia wrote about a synagogue and yeshiva that the Jews built on the Temple Mount.
5. 1165 C.E. The Rambam visits Jerusalem and prays on the Temple Mount.
6. 1287 C.E. The Meiri writes that he heard that the custom is to enter the Temple Mount.
7. 1476 C.E. Jews enter el-aqusa for a hearing about the Ramban synagogue.
These accounts disprove the contention of the Rabbis and common knowledge. The reason Jews have refrained from entering the Mount for the past several hundred years is that of the prohibitions of the Turks and Arabs. It is disgraceful that an anti-semitic decree has been turned into a self-imposed Rabbinic prohibition.
F. The Punishment (Kareit)
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, as well as the Rabbis of the Eda Charedit, have stressed their fear of Jews entering the Mount while impure and risking the punishment of "Kareit" (cutting off of the soul). As has been stated above, if a Jew ascends the Mount to fulfill the commandment of conquest or other public duties concerning the Temple or sacrifices, the impurity is nullified. For this reason, there is no punishment of "Kareit". Moreover, there remains a doubt as to whether an impure person who enters the Mount not for the sake of the public or conquest will be punished with "Kareit". The Rambam does not state anywhere that entering the forbidden areas while the Temple is destroyed will be punished with "Kareit". The Meiri, also, makes this point as does the Migdal David.
It is ironic, though, that these same Rabbis are not concerned about the risk of "Kareit" resulting from not sacrificing the Passover offering. It is clearly stated in the Torah that a ritually pure person who knowingly does not bring the Passover lamb on the 14th day of Nisan is punishable by death. Of course, the Passover offering can be brought even when the entire nation is impure from the contact with the dead, as is the case with every public offering.
G. What is Wrong with the Rabbis?
How can one explain the inaction of the Rabbis who agree that we can enter the Temple Mount? How can one explain those who distort the truth and prohibit entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount? After 2,000 years of prayers asking that G-d return Zion and speedily rebuild the Temple, what excuse could there be for preferring the Wall of Tears over the House of G-d?
The best possible answer can be found in the book, "Em HaBanim Smecha" written by Rabbi Yisachar Teichtel. Rabbi Teichtel was a chassid who lived in Hungary and perished in the holocaust. While on the run from the Nazis, he wrote a powerful book quoting sources from memory. He confronts the question that haunts many Jews, "why were so many religious Jews and Torah scholars killed during the holocaust?" His answer is unequivocal, the religious Jews and Torah scholars watched the secular Zionists return to Zion; and they did not learn from their
actions. Jews who prayed thrice daily for the return to Zion should have immediately realized that if secular Jews are leaving the exile, how much more so they. By turning their backs on the Land of Israel, Rabbi Teichtel writes, their fate was sealed. G-d hates hypocrisy and punishes those who invoke His name in vain.
Many religious Jews yet maintain that the Temple will fall from heaven when G-d deems it proper. This belief is akin to those who maintained that while sitting in exile there would appear the wings of an eagle which would scoop them up and whirl them off to the Land of Israel.
Obviously, the latter never happened and the former is less likely to occur.
It is not the purpose of this work to delve into the intricacies of the failings of contemporary religious and Torah thought. It is enough we realize that this thought has caused the Torah world to miss the opportunity to define the meaning of the return to the Land as it ought to be defined, in Torah terms. They turned their back on the building of a nation and of an army while leaving it in the hands of the secularists. To add to the disgrace, the Torah world has now left the Temple Mount in the hands of secularists who have turned it over to the enemy. Our Temple remains in ruins while an alien building sits in its place.
There is but one way to redeem the Temple Mount and but one way to renew the sacrifices and build the Temple. Action! Sitting in a state of atrophy will not only allow the status quo to continue, it will cause needless and unimaginable suffering to the Jewish People. Just as we witnessed the destruction of six million Jews because of inaction concerning the return to Zion, so will we endure terrible tragedy should we opt for the same inaction concerning the Temple Mount.
The fate and destiny of the Jewish People and their redemption are in the hands of each and every Jew. All that is required is will and faith of Jews to enter the Temple Mount until we have the numbers to demand its return to its rightful owners. If every one would make the commitment needed to redeem the Mount it will surely be speedily in our hands.