Parashat Ki Tisa: Do Not Ascend Onto the Mountain – Part 3

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]


Q: This is similar to the words of the Sefer Ha-Chinuch against those who teach that we are not suitable for the Mitzvah of Tefillin (Mitzvah #421)!
A: The Temple Mount is a completely different level than Tefillin. Baseless hatred is what destroyed the Temple Mount (Yoma 9b), and this is the level of correction which is required.

Q: "You shall seek out His Presence and come there" (Devarim 12:5)!
A: By igniting a thirst for it and expanding the understanding of what it is.

Q: The Sforno explains: For prostration.
A: Until the Kotel. For our generation until the Kotel. Are we more righteous than Maran Ha-Rav Kook who would not even place fingers between the stones of the Kotel? The great Torah authorities in earlier generations did not allow approaching there. In order to permit entering the Temple Mount one needs very broad shoulders. No rabbi can argue with Ha-Rav [Kook] ztz"l regarding this issue, any time in which he does not have the authority to rule in matters relating to the entirety of Israel. And the natural holiness of the Nation must be revealed and only then may they approach the Temple Mount.

Q: If we follow this logic we also deny Zionism?
A: Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher held that we may enter the Temple Mount, but Rav David of Karlin argued with him (She’eilat David, Kuntres Derishat Tzion Virushalayim). Ha-Rav [Kook] ztz"l disagreed (with Rav Kalisher) and this did not prevent him from being a great Zionist and waging war for the settlement of the Land of Israel - but only until the Temple Mount ("Committee of Investigation. Testimony of the Chief Rabbi Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook." Yerushalayim 5689 [1929]). This was not in order to reject the claims of the British, but rather because this is what he really held, as he mentions in various places (Shut Mishpat Cohain #96). This is an essential matter in faith to understand the difference between the Nation of Israel on the level of the Temple and the Nation of Israel now. One who does not differentiate between the two, minimizes the entire issue and lowers himself to the level of kindergarten.
We do not currently stand before the building of the return of the Second Temple, like one Torah scholar stated, rather before the Third Temple, which is more supreme. Before all else prophecy needs to appear in Israel (She’eilat David, Kuntres Derishat Tzion Virushalayim) and afterwards we may approach the Temple Mount. Prophecy is not a peripheral condition which can be circumvented. And there is also the requirement of a King (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 1:3).

Q: There wasn't a King during the Second Temple?
A: This was a unique temporary ruling (She’eilat David, Kuntres Derishat Tzion Virushalayim). We are currently before the Third Temple. Kingship is a completely different level of the Nation of Israel. And so too a world which contains prophecy within it is a completely different world. If we are lacking a King or Prophet, we are not lacking a detail, rather this is a completely different level of the entire character of the Nation of Israel, a different environment, a different generation, different concepts…

Q: All of this is true relating to the Temple, but does this also relate to the Temple Mount?
A: This is also true relating to the Temple Mount. Both of them are a completely different world of ours. We are not suitable. This is not the way. Building now would be a building of children which will bring destruction (Megillah 31b). All of the authorities established that we are not suitable and there is a need to distance ourselves. It is currently not possible to argue on all of the generations which refrained from entering.

Q: The Nation of Israel was then in Exile without the possibility of approaching.
A: The Rabbis of Yerushalayim, Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin and Rav Shmuel Salant, also refrained.

Q: They were not able to approach because of the non-Jewish authority.
A: But there were Rabbis who ruled that one should not place our fingers into the Kotel. And there were those who stood at a distance of a hundred meters from the Kotel because of the concern of the position of the Radvaz (that the Kotel is the wall of the Temple Courtyard). By way of their distancing, they drew close. Ha-Rav from Brisk who stood at a distance was certainly closer than one who prays in the "Machkameh" (court building which is located on the Temple Mount) and he infused within the Nation more love, recognition and claim to the Temple Mount.

[To be continued next week, B"H]