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Jerusalem - Rabbi Tendler: Rabbis Against Ascending To Temple Mount Don't Know The Halacha

Published on: September 4, 2008 05:15 PM
By: The Jewish Press
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Rabbi Tendler (foreground left) and Temple Institute founder Rabbi Yisrael Ariel (right) atop the Temple Mount.Jerusalem - “The rabbanim are not talking halacha,” Rabbi Moshe Tendler told The Jewish Press. “They’re issuing a political statement.”

Last week two leading haredi rabbis, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, and former Sephardic chief rabbi Rav Ovadia Yosef, sent a letter to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich - who is in charge of the Western Wall area - asking him to reaffirm a 40-year-old ban on Jewish entry to the Temple Mount. The move came a month after Israel’s Haaretz newspaper published photographs of Rabbi Tendler atop the Temple Mount, which set off a storm in the haredi community. Rabbi Tendler, a Yeshiva University rosh yeshiva and biology professor, is the son-in-law of the late Rav Moshe Feinstein, the leading American halachic decisor of his time.

“As time passed,” the three rabbis wrote, “we have lost knowledge of the precise location of the Temple, and anyone entering the Temple Mount is liable to unwittingly enter the area of the Temple and the Holy of Holies.”


Rabbi Kanievsky added that “entrance to the Temple Mount, and the defilement of the Holy of Holies, is more severe than any of the violations in the Torah.”

Rabbi Tendler (foreground left) and Temple Institute founder Rabbi Yisrael Ariel (right) atop the Temple Mount.

However, Rabbi Tendler argues that “everybody, certainly every rosh yeshiva and every talmid chacham, knows exactly” where a Jew may walk on the Temple Mount thanks to the research of such rabbis as the late Rabbis Shlomo Goren (former Israeli chief rabbi) and Yechiel Michel Tikochinsky.

The letter’s expression, “We have lost knowledge,” Rabbi Tendler said, refers to the “99 percent of tourists” who walk in forbidden areas. “I wouldn’t accuse the rabbanim of talking halacha,” he said, “because then I’d have to accuse them of being am haratzim [ignoramuses]. The rabbanim, baruch Hashem, are talmidei chachamim and know exactly what I know I believe they’re just backing up a government position.”

In recent years an increasing number of rabbis have ascended the Temple Mount, including Kiryat Shmona Chief Rabbi Tzephania Drori, Ma’aleh Adumim rosh yeshiva Rabbi Nachum Rabinovich, and Rabbi Dov Kook, who is married to Rav Elyashiv’s granddaughter.

The Yesha Rabbinical Council, headed by Rav Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, published a ruling several years ago calling for Jewish ascension to the Temple Mount. “By refraining from ascending,” the ruling read, “we are thereby declaring to the world as if we, God forbid, have no part in the Mountain of God - and we thus strengthen the Arabs’ feeling that the Temple Mount is theirs.”

Rabbi Tendler said he has been ascending the Temple Mount for close to a decade. As per Jewish law, he immerses in a mikveh the day before his visit and does not carry a wallet or wear leather shoes while on the Mount.


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Read Comments (46)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:20 PM joseph Says:





 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Again, he has a right to his shita. And, again,chareidim reserved the right of trashing a rav to themselves.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:42 PM MAYER Says:

Jerusalem - Rabbi Tendler: Rabbis Against Ascending To Temple Mount Don’t Know The Halacha

This is the gemura hoiriyos daf bais re: "zokein mamra" who could be "chaiev misah" r"l not only for going on the "mokoim hamikdosh" as a "tomay mes" impure but also because he disagreed with the gdoilm of our generation.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:43 PM To Joseph Says:

Joseph, you are an unsophisticated moron.

Keep your idiotic comments to yourself, you stupid drone.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:45 PM a Traveler Says:

According to Rav Schlesinger you are not aloud to mention his name in a Makom Kodosh. That is reason enough not to let him go with other people.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:49 PM Chareidi Leumi Says:

I don't like those people who like to bash R. Tendler but i do think that he is setting himself up for a good bashing by making this statement. For the record, R. Tendler has a right to ascend the Temple Mound, he is a competent Rabbi and Posek and is not bound to R. Elyashiv's halachic ruling (and certainly not if its a political ruling). Regarding the masses; everyone should listen to their own Posek. Hence, if your rabbi tells you to follow R. Elyashiv's psak then you must do that. However, if your Rabbi follows R. Tendler's, R. Rabinovich's, and R. Ariel's etc psak, then you have a right to ascend provided that you are familiar with the proper halachos.

Personally I believe that ascending the Temple mound is a good but potentially dangerous idea. Halachic considerations aside, it is a very important political stance to take that Har Habais is ours and not the Arabs. However, many people who will ascend will not be familiar with the proper halachos and will end up violating severe prohibitions. I suggest that the permitted areas be clearly marked. Additionally, the public should not be allowed ascend on their own, and must be with a halachic advisor (who could double as a tour guide - like a guided tour) that will supervise the group.

Just my two cents.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:51 PM To Mayer Says:

Do you want us to shower you with praise now that you have quoted a gemorah???

Do you think espousing this bit of knowledge establishes you as anything other than a moron???

You probably feel great. Rest assured, though, you are simply another Rabbinic moonie, without any identity of your own.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Tendler's words:“I wouldn’t accuse the rabbanim of talking halacha,” he said, “because then I’d have to accuse them of being am haratzim"
Der Gayveh und chutzpeh shtinked geferlich.
He needs to ask mechilah - then let him talk a little in learning with any of these gedolim and present his case (“everybody, certainly every rosh yeshiva and every talmid chacham, knows exactly ...”) and he'll quickly find out how
pitifully little he knows about anything.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:53 PM Nechamah Says:

and so , after 2000 years of being banished for sinat chinam...


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:58 PM Yochonon Dovid Says:

We had enough of him with the Metziza and how he wanted to the American government BAN METZIZA.

Now he wants to do away with another CHAYVEI KORES.

How embarrassing and what a chillul hasem.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:01 PM Yochonon Dovid Says:

To 5:38 pm:

A shita has to have backing in halocho.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:10 PM Anonymous Says:

R' Tendler did not say that the Rabbonim "dont know" Halacha. He said that they were not "talking" Halacha, but rather politics. You can believe what you want, but he has a right to defend his position.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:17 PM Chareidi Leumi Says:

Yochonon Dovid- You obviously don't know halacha. Not doing Metzitza is NOT a Chayvei Krisus and R. Tendler is backed up by Halacha, of which you are obviously unaware. A good start for you would be Maseches Midos and the Rambam where he talks about the halachos of the Beis Hamikdash. Come back when you're less ignorant.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:27 PM Should any one take sides? Says:

Zoken Mamrei - sorry, we have no Sanhedrin (especially on Har HaBayis) - just individual rabbonim asserting their halachic views.

Whilst uncertain about the koras (some parts are definitely mutar - if one steps b'shogeig into an area actually ossur - is it koras?) but there is still the issue of "eis la'asos . . .".

Although we no longer have nevi'im, did not Eliyahu HaNavi makriv bachutz - I realise there is a difference but the principle has, if you like, been established.

I am not a rav or posek - but in spite of other opinions about not going on Har HaBayis, one could certainly don l'chaf z'chus.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:33 PM Chaim Says:

I think Rabbi Tendler has the right to his shita, Rabbi Teitalbaums shita is that you should get stoned by going to the cosel hamarovi.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Not doing Metzitza (oral.....) is NOT chayev Kareis. It is nothing more then an archaic European minority tradition foisted upon the masses. Countless poiskim of previous generations laughed at the minhag. Because chassidim force thier Taliban style chumrus upon the masses does not make it halacha. True blooded Litvakim DO NOT perform MP, which in light of possible deadly infection is now perhaps nothing more than a minhag shtus.

Besides, if he knows where one may walk on har habayis, then why not go? If you disagree, eather bring your halachic sources from the rishonim and early Achronim (see next paragraph) or shut up.

Finaly, in the opinion of most of klal yisroel (Im lav neviim heim, Bnei Neviim Heim!) it is the idiots who ban everything but turn a blind eye to the suffering of hundreds of our children at the hands of in-house molesters, THAT ARE THE TRUE ZAKEIN MAMREIS! It is as if the politico-rabbis have decleared war against the very same victims they refuse to defend.

For shame. I forsee the coming of a day not far off, when these holy moly rabbis of kol korei fame and ban notoriety will hang thier collective heads in shame when they will be exposed by the true and rightiuos ones (Moshiach perhaps) for the fraudsters and Amei HaAretz that they are.

Don't tell me I'm just an angry male......I'm an angry male victim of Dr. Mondrowitz SR"Y.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 06:52 PM Rav Shlomo Goren Says:

Since when does he have any knowledge all together... who proclaimed him as a posek ? to claim anything about halachic issues he might know "something" but as of now he's proven himself to be wrong on any issue...all he desires is ,yes, Attention!"
"This is not a personal attack ... it's a statement of fact – Tendler has never ‘paskened’anything. Nothing. Nada."

Now for the halachic.. Mayer, you are definitely wrong for 2 reasons. 1) a zoken mamrie has to be knowledgeable enough to fall into that category as per "zokein" which he's by far any...he's just an Am h'aratz with a little knowledge here and there. 2) on the other hand there is no such concept as 'zoken mamrie' nowadays as we don't have a sanhedrin or any one posek to fit into that category that binds you ...
now for the main issue there are definitely rishonim claiming to permit entering the Har Habayis , but the issue in question is: is it the p’sak that all of klal yisrael has taken upon itself of - not entering the har habayis befall the status-quo as per halachah nedarim /minhogim , which even as not being absolute halachic and only as a precaution binds him to a degree that it needs the same “minyan and binyon “ as of the declaration, to overturn its original ruling .


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Question to all the idiots out here:

Why did the holy RAMBAM go up to Har HaBayis? If it were truly OOOser why then is this puported ban only 40 years old? Soon you will tell me going to the Kossel is "chayev Kareis" 'cause R' Joel Teitelbaum (who left a great legacy we are all suffering from so much today) Assered (Banned) going to the Kossel. Guys, you are all sick and getting sicker, and I'm getting a good laugh at your expense. And I'm a chussid to boot. No fan of the Tendler progeny but right is right and ra-bonim is dead wrong.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:06 PM anti zionist Says:

If you look at the list of rabbis who support going on the temple mount, you see that they are all mizrachi/tzioni (yes, even R' Elyashiv's grandson), and they give the reason to go up to show to the world...
Last I checked, we don't pasken halacha to "show" anybody anything. Doesn't seem like the chareidim are the ones with political reasons for their halacha.
Let Rabbi Tendler stick to Biology (and the other rabbis to their zionistic pursuits), and let the chareidi rabbonim who spend all their lives immersed in nothing but torah decide what halacha is.
(PS- why would R' Tendler tempt his fate at all regarding a possible issur korais? Is worth it because he thinks he's right?)


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:09 PM Anonymous Says:

To the angry male victim of Dr. Mondrowitz SR"Y, after reading your comments I realize your pain and shame however as a social worker I feel that you need therapy to help you get through all your pain and anger. As you are making a blanket statement about our "holy" Rabbi's you have not dealt sufficiently with your pain and therefore you carry much heartache into your life and this will hamper your future associations with "Rabbis". Please get help, for your future peace of mind.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:11 PM Should any one take sides? Says:

Minhagim and chumros change over time. That there have been (recent) times when no one went on Har haBayis, it was more due the impossibility of going than a ban.

Look through geonim, rishonim and early achronim to see the many an varied customs practiced - that are, in some instances, not even known to the general public.

As such, if a sizeable number of poeple make the decision to disregard the ban (which as you say is perhaps quite weak in status) can one really force the issue?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Right you are, dear therapist. BUT, no amount of therapy will change the fact that the rabbis dropped the ball on that case AS WELL AS ON DOZENS of other molesters. And no amount of hypnotics will change the raw fact that these arrogant animals in sheeps clothing cover for molesters to this day and will never acknowledge the crimes they have commited. Mark my words, as outrageous as they may stand. Rabbi S Carlebach, former rosh yeshiva of Chaim Berlin said this upon his being robbed of his rightful position as rosh yeshiva there: Those who commit an act of chillul hashem in public (BTW chillul hashem is when one jew misbehaves towards his bretheren) and those who support that act will not leave this world before they are exposed by a equal severe act of chillul hashem. Ra-bonim, keep your fingers crossed. They are stoking up the flames for you and your cronny askonim of coverup fame upstairs.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:24 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't believe any of these chumras anymore.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:25 PM Anonymous Says:

I think the last few comments (7:09, 7:18) have nothing to do with this article. It might have gotten here by error.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:30 PM Anonymous Says:

not the first time statements are attributed to gedolim - but are in fact political posturing by fanatics

todays daf tells us the results of letting fanatics run wild - the storehouses of yerushalayim were burned by fanatics

time to stop being cattle – lets use our heads

(Rav Tendler may indeed be a daas yachid - but he is stil a gvrah rabbah - deserving of respect. Again - yesterdays daf admonishes those who would laugh at the apparent incomprehensible statements by elderly talmidei chachamim)

elul is here guys

be careful out there


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Today's daf tells us no such thing. You are a daf ahead of today.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 07:57 PM SA Says:

There is no question about the halacha here.
Everyone agrees that there is an issur kares to ascend to Har HaBayis.

The difference between the two sides is that one side relies upon the archaeological and historical evidence that shows that certain areas were definitely added at a later point in history, and is therefore not part of Har HaBayis, while the other side chooses to not accept this evidence.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 08:08 PM Anonymous Says:

yes.. you are correct - i am one day ahead - tomorrow’s daf

the point though is stil valid

tomorow - when you learn about fanatics - think of a zillion kol kores that are frauds, concert bans, attacks on all that differ in thought, dress and background - that’s where we are now

that is where yerushalayim was just before the churban

what a mess


 Sep 04, 2008 at 08:09 PM Frum in my heart Says:

SA, this is not atypical. I cannot understand why today's gedolim have a problem with facts.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 08:22 PM abc Says:

At least Rabbi Tendler is showing his true colors. His fighting against metzitza was based not on his understanding of halocha, but rather on his gayva, and view that he understands better than everyone else -- including gedolim of the current and previous generations.

Unfortunately, this is typical of Yeshiva University rabbis.

Rav Moshe is surely rolling is his grave.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 09:01 PM "KOKOSH CAKE" Says:

Rav M Feinstein (his late father-in-law) didn't drink milk at the Tendler residence, was he also an Am-Haoretz ???


 Sep 04, 2008 at 10:21 PM Avrohom Abba Says:

Rabbis and rabbis!
We have enough, yes ENOUGH of these chumros and issurim and no nos!
Leave us alone already! Go do your new thing! Your new thing is telling people not to go to concerts you don't like. You are telling the youth not to listen to music you don't like. You are telling us not to listen to this one or follow that one. Just who are you?! Just what gives you the presumptive chutzpah to be our leaders? We have city of Jerusalem but you don't approve. We have a country called Israel but you have doubts about it. We have rabbis who hold differently than you so you put them down. Is there anything that makes you think that we all got together and elected you? To Moshe Rabbeinu they said, "Miy sumcha lehish?" Those two Jews who killed the mitzri were wise guys to say that. I am not. Do you rabbis really think you are wearing Moshe's neshama? Who are you?
Sit down and learn Torah like you should and when you teach Torah, teach it, don't dictate it and yell at us and lecture us.
This rabbi this and that rabbi that. Oh forget it, if I have a question, i'll ask someone I trust even if he does not have a "rabbi" title.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 10:53 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't really care much for R Tendler's position. However, i do agree that he is correct concerning the "Gedolim". Instead of getting the facts straight, they tend to ignore it because it is easier to assur something, than to actually LEARN and find the heter.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 12:07 AM Anonymous Says:

listen rav tendler has a point, no one should bash him or other rabbonim. different rabbonim have different points, let us follow according to our rabbonim that we look up to ect. with all due respect to all, rav elyashiv is not the possuk of all, hes the possuk of the litvish crowd, not the chasidish crowd ect. the same is for the others lets just respect all, the beauty of torah is shivim ponim l'torah, 70 facets to torah.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 05:29 AM Natha Says:

To SA:

There is no issur kares to ascend Har HaBayis being "tameh met".
The issur is to enter the azarot.
The whole question is where is the exact location of the azarot.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 07:49 AM Anonymous Says:

10.53 If you think that the Gedolim who disapproved of Tendler's visit to the Har Habayishave not learnt the "heter" then you obviously do not knpow whom you are talking about.

It is a known fact that Harav Elyashiv, Harav Kanievsky and Harav Yoseph are the most knowledgeable rabonim of our dor. They do not stop learning Torah and to say that each of them know kol haTorah kuloh would not be an understatement


 Sep 05, 2008 at 09:29 AM Anonymous Says:

The Halacha does not belong to the current,
political correct,concept of Daas Torah.
In todays Torah Market,whomever the Frum media declares,the Godol,is suddenly imbued with power,
and sanctity,to issue Pesokim.as if they come from Mt,Sinai.
Rav Tendler,is not meshubed to Rabbis,Elyashiv,Kanievski,and other kol koreh signatories.
Obviously,he has a basis in the Halaca,that in certain places,you are allowed to ascend.
The halacha of kovod talmidei chachomim,applies to
all ,including the ones,that have a different
opinion,then a Rabbi,that is more accepted,by
a certain media,or community,


 Sep 05, 2008 at 09:58 AM Anonymous Says:

It has to be clarified,that this is a Minhag,
According to Halacha it can be done with a sponge.
The Mishnah Berurah in Hilchos Shabbos,succinctly,
lists both minhogim,i.e, b'peh/sponge.
Rav Tendler,is of the opinion,that in todays
modern,scientific era,the sponge method should
be practised.
He makes sense.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 10:20 AM Oh! Says:

I am amazed at what's going on.

Up to the time of the geonim, decisions were taken by a beis din equivalent to the sanhedrin (see Rav Shrira Gaon) - this meant that this vast number of experts consisted of the most knowledgeable to those having lesser knowledge.

Decisions were then reached based on a majority vote (loosely speaking) without any weighting for perceived "greatness". Numbers - only numbers - in a beis din - arguing/discussing the issue until a vote could be taken.

That there are several great personalities having this or that opinion, does not necessarily outway all others.

In addition, the fact that someone is learning Torah non-stop, does not necessarily make them the most expert. Without mentioning any names, as this will no doubt lead to all sorts of loshen horah, some of our "greatest gedolim" in the current and previous generations have been found to have erred (for those of you who object to this expression - have had an opinion differing from everyone else with possibly greater information and knowledge).

Unfortunately, in some instances, when challenged, no justification for their views were forthcoming - nor was there a retraction. This has lead to some real issues creating yet more machlokes.

There are several greatly respected seforim I have studies, clearly with "issues". What gets me in some cases, is the sources quoted often are themselves at odds with the maskona of the mechaber! In one instance a hava mina was brought as a proof (itself refuted in the original teshuva).

Great care has to be taken when hearing a p'suk or chiddush or, today's kol korahs (that's yet another subject) - accept blindly or otherwise. Unless it is your own Rov/Dayan, should you necessarilly follow?

Coming back to the R Tendler question - because he, as a Rov in his own right, has a different opinion to a number of rabbonim followed by the yeshivisha world (not necessarily by the general run-of-the-mill kehillos), what right has anyone to criticize him?


 Sep 05, 2008 at 10:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Every Kol Koreh,has to be looked upon,as the work of Askanim,who were able to schnorr together
Chasimos,on a certain subject,that they have
an interest in.
Kol Koreh,means it is NOT the halacha,nor is it a
it is a convenient position,for some of the askanim,and they succeeded.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 10:59 AM Barzilai Says:

Commentor Kokosh Cake (9:01 am) said that Reb Moshe didn't drink milk at the Tendler residence. This comment is a total and malicious fabrication, and is a classic example of the "Big Lie" technique of propaganda, as George Orwell said-- “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed...”


 Sep 05, 2008 at 11:08 AM Choizik Says:

What is there to gain from going up there? Is there something interesting to do up there? Any concerts?!


 Sep 05, 2008 at 11:44 AM Anonymous Says:

A lot to gain, better then concerts; and that is recognition "az ich bin oich ah mentch" I', also a Gavrah. I have an opinion, a shitah and consider myself equal with the greatest of the generation, because after all I'm a son-in-law of Reb Moshe. This is one of the problems of this generation that some family members of Reb Moshe want to go on the coatails of Reb Moshe (not talking about his choshiva two sons). Sam is with Satmar, they want to rule Yidishkeit bacause they had a great Rebbe. So what ever they want to imopose on you they say that Reb Yoel said so. It's time to respect the current gedolei Yisroel, and by that I mean those who are accepted on the street as gedolei hador; not the wannabees.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 01:08 PM Anonymous Says:

chodesh Ellul gentlemen,remember????


 Sep 05, 2008 at 06:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Who decides who is Godol,hamodia,or yated?

It is tome,to admit,that there others around.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 06:19 PM Anonymous Says:

stop fighting ITS ELUL


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