Parashat Tetzave: Do Not Ascend Onto the Mountain – Part 2

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]

Second Conversation
Q: "Even them will I bring to My Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in My House of Prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on My altar" (Yeshaya 56:7). This is the order: My Holy Mountain - My House of Prayer - the Temple. There is therefore great value for prayer in this place, and – in contrast to this - a great [Divine] accusation comes if we do not remember this idea, at the very least on special days. The Holy One, Blessed be He, comes there and does not find a minyan! The Ramban (on the Torah - Bamidbar 16:21) quotes the words of our Sages that because the Jewish People did not request the Temple in the time of David, there was a plague. David himself, however, certainly desired it, but the simple Jews also need to come with this demand. Therefore, when the Nation of Israel is in distress, the Temple Mount is the place of correction.
A: We need to bring the Nation to this spiritual level, and the ascent of individuals onto the Temple Mount does not bring the Nation closer. We need to prepare the Nation for the awe of the Temple. This is all part of the slow process of building the Nation of Israel and the building of the spirit in the Nation. Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook ztz"l taught us that any time that we are not suitable and connected to this level, the path of jumping ahead, digging and even halachic research, will not bring the Redemption closer (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah ztz"l, choveret 8, Talmud Torah 1, addition #3).
Rather it is incumbent upon us to understand what the Temple Mount is, and what is the greatness of this place, and with this knowledge, we will be drawn closer more than by action which we perform on account of our pettiness. We are not suitable for this level, the Master of the Universe therefore delivered this place into the hands of the Arabs in order to prevent us from approaching (Shut Tzitz Eliezer vol. 15, pg. 84). We need to work for the sake of the repentance of the generation, so that we will be called by the Name of Hashem, and then the issue of the Temple Mount will be automatically settled. Our spiritual independence is overcoming all of the nations. It is correct that this spot belongs to us, but we recognize the worth of the place based on how much we distance ourselves from it. As much as we distance ourselves, we thereby come that much closer, just as in relation to prophecy, or the Master of the Universe. Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah ztz"l expressed these words with amazing forcefulness.
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.
Once they brought him a book of research and measurements of the Temple Mount. He disassociated himself from it and hid the book. The Mishnah (end of Massechet Berachot) forbids spitting on the Temple Mount all the more so (than wearing shoes - since if wearing shoes, which is not disrespectful, is forbidden than spitting, which is disrespectful, is forbidden all the more so). He added that scientific research and halachic clarifications are included in "spitting all the more so." In matters such as these, closeness is attained by means of distancing. For example, if I know that the Rambam is an angel of God and I am nothing - then I bring myself close to him. Not by my treading on the Temple Mount do I reveal that it belongs to me. On the contrary, it is revealed that the Temple Mount belongs to us and not to the non-Jews by the fact that they tread on it and I do not. Every entering there arouses [Divine] accusations and does not remove them. It is similar to a desire to bring the Messiah not at His time and to force the End [of Days]. Only the entire Nation of Israel can enter there like one wall and not individual Rabbis, when the entirety of Israel will be united, without dispute between Rabbis.

[To be continued next week, B"H]