Our Rabbi on Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Temple – Part 3

[From Sefer Le-Mikdashech Tuv, pp. 11-14 unless noted otherwise]

After the Six-Day War, when a Torah scholar and professor came to our Rabbi and asked him why he did not then begin to build the Temple, he responded, "The mitzvah of building the Kingdom of Israel takes precedence, according to the ruling of the Rambam at the beginning of the Laws of Kings" (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, chapters of Messiah 4, Talmud Torah 1 addendum 2). Later, this was extensively explained by our Rabbi in the article "From Behind the Wall" (Mei-Achar Kotleinu) in which he said that only after great improvement in the building of the Nation, both physically and spiritually, can we enter into the holiness of rebuilding the Temple (see Le-Netivot Yisrael vol. 1, #23).

When a delegation of public figures came to our Rabbi with the request to work as forcefully as possible against the threatened agreement which the Government of Israel was prepared to sign with the Country of Jordan, which included surrendering the Temple Mount to their control, our Rabbi reacted: "What about the entire Land of Israel?" They repeated their words many times, as did he.

After the Six-Day War, students approached our Rabbi and quoted the words of Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher in the introduction to his book "Derishat Tzion" which repeats a tradition recorded in the name of the Vilna Gaon that if we will only leap and sacrifice one lamb, then everything will be ready for Redemption. They asked: perhaps it is proper to sacrifice one Pesach sacrifice? When our Rabbi heard this he became enraged: "We need to strengthen the Kingdom of Israel and return the Torah to those who learn it in Israel; to bring great repentance, and we will then ascend to the Temple Mount from the midst of this prophecy." He said these words emphatically and forcefully. (Le-Mikdashech Tuv, p. 180)

Blowing up the Dome of the Rock
After the Six-Day War, the Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan, evacuated the non-Jews from the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. A few young men, who fought in the Jerusalem Brigade, felt that it was not enough, and they prepared explosives to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount. They nonetheless went to take counsel with our Rabbi, who rejected the idea: This must come from the entire Nation, and not a part of it. They went to Reb Aryeh Levin, thinking that since he supported Etzel and Lechi before the establishment of the State, he would response positively; but he also rejected it for the same reason that there is a need for National agreement. He related a story, which our Rabbi would also relate, that a certain preacher would travel to different cities and encourage belief in false messianism, and he had a major influence. When Rav Chaim of Volozhin was informed that he was scheduled to speak on Shabbat in a particular community, he sent two messengers, who were to violate Shabbat to stop him, since it was a matter of life and death. They were successful. A rich non-Jew asked Rav Chaim if he had heard about the preacher and if, in his opinion, he was the Messiah. Rav Chaim responded: And what do you say? He answered: This has nothing to do with me. Rav Chaim said: You are wrong. When the Messiah comes even you will feel it.

The young men asked Reb Aryeh Levin, half in jest: If so, the building of the Temple also depends of the decision of the Knesset? He answered: It may be. (Iturei Cohanin #57 from Ha-Rav Avraham Remer)