Parashat Terumah: Do Not Ascend Onto the Mountain – Part 1

Recorded from two conversations with our Teacher and Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Tau Shlit"a – Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Ha-Mor in Yerushalayim
[Sefer Le-Mikdashech Tuv, pp. 177-187]

First Conversation
Q: Is there a problem with us praying in hall in the "Machkameh" (court building), which is located within the wall of the Temple Mount, under special circumstances such as Yom Kippur after immersion in a Mikveh.
A: This is not appropriate for our level. Have we already fulfilled all of the other laws?!

Q: During the First and Second Temple Periods ordinary Jews also entered there.
A: At that time, the entire generation was on a different level (see the works of Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook - Orot, Le-Mahalach Ha-Edei’ot and Mamrei Ha-Re’eiyah, Derech Ha-Techiya).

Q: There are some Rishonim (early authorities) who mention that it is permissible to enter there.
A: We do not rule that way. In Shut Tzitz Eliezer (vol. 15, pg. 84), it is brought in the name of Rabbi Meir Auerbach, that the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed a kindness when He placed boulders in our way in order not to allow going onto the Temple Mount, because, if it were not so, who would stop one who says "I hold like the Ra’avad" (according to his opinion there is no punishment of Karet - Divine excision – in entering the Temple Mount, but see Shut Mishpat Cohain of Maran Ha-Rav #96 that it is forbidden even according to his view).

Q: Does he mean that if Divine Providence prevents us from entering the Temple Mount, this testifies to the fact that this is not appropriate for the level of this generation, which is similar to the words of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, that removal of the permission to judge monetary cases (by the Romans) testifies that we were not suitable for it (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 7:2 and Igrot Ha-Re’eiyah vol. 1, 20)?
A: Yes.

Q: But don’t we have to enter the Temple Mount in order to demonstrate our presence, based on the law of "Conquering [the Land]"?
A: The conquest will occur on account of the fear of Heaven. On the contrary, entering is capable of making the Temple Mount into a cheap item. Regarding the Kotel as well, one should be careful not to transform it into an everyday item. There are those who come to the Kotel every day, chat there, and bother those who come there in the proper frame of mind. The desire to pray there stems from the inhaling of pettiness. They will begin petty disputes and quarrels in the midst of the Temple Mount itself. All of Israel must arrive like one man with one heart in order to enter there, when we will be suitable for this level and not by simply jumping in. Praying on the Temple Mount is certainly not a requirement but rather an act of piety, and why would you perform this pious behavior, if the Chief Rabbis do not act in this way?

Q: Perhaps it is incumbent on us, those who live and learn at the foot of the Temple Mount, upon whom a special obligation devolves, since we are like "experts" regarding this issue?
A: You are experts in relating to the Temple Mount out of "Rejoicing in trembling" (Tehillim 2:11).

[To be continued next week, B"H]