January 19, 2020

Are Jews Allowed on the Temple Mount?

“Yesterday’s tension on the Temple Mount has yet again raised the question of what Judaism says about whether or not it is indeed permitted to go up to this holy site for Jews and Muslims.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef reiterated that Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount is forbidden and that the ban should be in place the whole year round. “At the essence of the prohibition, the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount is forbidden according to Jewish law, and it is appropriate that the ascent of Jews be prohibited all year round.”

The question of whether Jews can go up to the Temple Mount started being asked in 1967 after the Six Day War.

Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief rabbi at the time, wrote a book, Har Habayit, which was published in 1993, a year before he died, in which he goes into detail about the measurements and layout of the whole Temple Mount area and where it is and isn’t permitted for Jews to enter. He identified which areas are permitted to enter after immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath) and which are forbidden to enter even after immersion.

Goren wrote in the introduction to his book: “Currently, when Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount is in danger, Mount Moriah is liable to become the subject of negotiation between us and the Arabs – and unfortunately, there are politicians who are willing to negotiate our sovereignty over the Temple Mount, relying on the alleged prohibition of the Chief Rabbinate to enter Har Habayit. This prohibition is liable to be used as an excuse to hand over the nation’s Kodesh ha’Kodashim [inner sanctum] to the Muslims. Therefore, I decided to publish the book now, from which it will be proven that there are large areas of the Temple Mount which all Jews are permitted to enter, according to all halakhic opinions, after immersion in a mikveh…”(p.15).”

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