Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rabbinic Decisions and Expiration Dates, Jews on The Temple Mount

Granted that I am far from being an expert in Jewish Law.  My studies in Biblical not in Talmud.  But I'm not a total ignoramus.  To make things very clear, this is my opinion, my personal opinion.  I have not yet discussed it with my rabbi or any other.  And I don't mind anyone adding their opinions in the comments or sharing this around to get more reactions.

Recently I heard a rabbi whom I respect, but will remain nameless because I didn't follow his arguments 100%, give a talk about the permissibility of Jews to enter Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount.  He surprised me by saying that it's forbidden.  He based his talk on a number of Rabbis who aren't alive.  That bothered me.

If I'm not mistaken there's a concept, principle in giving Torah based decisions that demands that the time be taken into serious consideration.  I remember once learning that if shofrot, the special horns used in certain religious ceremonies, especially during the Rosh Hashnnah Prayers, from Biblical Times were found, they might not be considered "kosher," suitable for use today, because the halachik (Jewish Law) requirements have changed.

The Judaism of today isn't the exact same one as a hundred years ago.  Rabbinic answers take modern reality into consideration.

Let's say that in 1956 or even in 1966, a Jew had gone to Rav Min-HaHar, who was a very well respected National Religious rabbi of that time, to ask a question about where to live.  He was the Rabbi of Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem when we lived there.  Let's say that the Jew had asked Rav Min-HaHar that if it was permissible to live in Shiloh, the resting place of the Mishkan, Holy Tabernacle. In 1956 or 1966, the Rabbi would have told the Jew that although his intentions are good, it's just impossible for a Jew to live in Shiloh.  Jordan, not Israel rules there, and Jordan doesn't allow Jews to live in that country. 

Shiloh today
And let's say that in 1976, a Jew had come to Rav Min-HaHar to ask the very same question about the permissibility of living in Shiloh, would the Rabbi give the same answer?   In 1976, the Jew would be instructed to contact Gush Emunim and find out if there was a garin, settlement group planning on moving there or if it could be planned.  Actually, at the time there already were plans for a Jewish community in Shiloh.

Temple Mount Institute
To put it simply, the 1967 Six Days War caused the first psak, rabbinic decision to "expire," become irrelevant. IMHO Israel's miraculous victory in the  Six Days War should force the rabbis to completely rethink their opinions concerning Jewish entry to Har HaBayit.

Food for thought....


Anonymous said...

You know, i've stumbled across this blog a few days ago and after a lot of reading i came to the following conclusion. I hope this comment gets through because i would really like a reply.

While you have many valid points, you fail to see how your way of thinking is exactly that of the people you call your enemies.

You believe that a higher power supports your people. You also believe that said higher power commands you to destroy your enemies. And you believe you have a god given right to your land.

Now, how is that different from how Muslims think? Mind you, i realize you're not off oppressing women and bombing people.

You don't have a right to the land of Israel because your ancestors lived there. You do have a claim to it because you won wars against the Arabs. You did invade the land of Palestine in a matter of speaking. Just like how Arabs invaded the land of Israel centuries ago, and how Jews invaded the land of the Canaanites.

If you want to believe that your God chose you as his favourite, that's your business. But what does that say about you and your God?

I apologize if my tone seems aggressive because that really wasn't my intent. By the way, i'm a Jordanian atheist.

Anonymous said...

this is from a gentile who believes in the 7 laws given to the nations of the world, in the holy torah. from Adam 6, and noah the 7th. and these 7 laws are inclusive for the jews in their 613 laws.
1) A higher power whom we call, G-d, the Creator of the unvierse, supports the whole universe and from His creations Israel was chosen to fulfill certain instructions HE gave. ofcourse israel has not yet scratched up to mark and thats also more than partly the faults of the non jewish nations who have never left them alone in peace. the other nations were given the same offer but rejected it. israel took it, and agreed to follow it even without knowing the laws first. Hashem (the Creator of the Universe) never destroys israel's enemies out of whim and fancy like us nations of the world. ONLY when their sins reach the heavens, i.e. to say, it reaches a limit when many innocents suffer and their cries reach Him, even if the victims do not believe in Him in the way they should, He still Hears their cries and destroys the enemies or agressors. it is in fact an act or mercy to the cruel. instead of them going on with their evil it ends, and if a second chance is given, their soul is reborn to rectify itself. you, nor i nor any other gentile would not show this mercy to our enemies. and israel is the only nation, i repeat, only nation in the world, that drops phamflets warning the enemies of an imminent attack so the other side women and children can hide though we gentiles tend to hide behind women and children. and use them as human shield.
and Yes, israel is the G-d given holy heritage to the jewish people. its whether you want to accept it or not.
its because one day man might turn round and tell what you wrote, G-d foresaw all this and thats why the holy scriptures starts with , at the beginning G-d created everything. as such He has the right to give it to whomesoever He pleases.
There has been ups and downs in the jewish people's history when other nations invaded them, and before it happened, sometimes many many years before it happened,G-d had forearned. and its not only israel's mistakes, its we gentiles who have been thorns on their sides from time eternal till today. why is the world only focussing on israel and jerusalem. did you ever stop to think about it? all the answers to your questions is answered only if, you believe in the holy tanach. and the oral law passed down thro all generations. if you dont, no matter who replies to you, you wont believe or accept the answers. so you are back to square one.
if you want the truth, the unadultrated truth, do a thorough study of history of nations.
its very difficult to reach out to an atheist on G-d's relationship with israel and the world.

Batya said...

a, I guess you in Jordan don't quite learn history the way it happened. There never was a "land of Palestine." The British were mandated by the League of Nations to establish a Jewish State in what is Israel and Jordan, but the British did their best to sabotage their job. They brought in the Hashemites from afar and gave them the eastern bank inventing Jordan.

There have always been Jews here, and history does show that G-d's on our side.

10, interesting approach, thanks

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

anon, every principle of justice would determine that the land belongs to the Jews and not the arabs. the land of Israel has *always* been the ancestral homeland of the Jews, for 3000 years.

there are three ways that a country is recognized as the property of a nation:
1) they lived there the longest,
2) they conquered it,
3) they bought it.

for example, #1 and #2 apply to most European nations; #2 and #3 apply to the US.

all three methods apply to the Jews in Israel - and we did it in both ancient and modern times.

for short I sometimes describe the arabs' ridiculous arguments as "the Goldilocks rule of arab conquest."

the arabs say: "the land is ours because we were there before the Jews."

the Jews reply: "but we were here long before you came. we were here for a continuous 1500 years (first independent and then under Roman and Byzantine rule)."

the arabs say: "oh, that's too long ago. and anyway, we then conquered it."

the Jews reply: "yes, but we conquered it from you after that."

the arabs say: "oh, that was too recent."

anything the Jews do is either too long ago or too recent. but when the arabs do it, it's "just right". i.e. "the Goldilocks rule of arab conquest."

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

if you want a more detailed description of the history of the land:

the Jews had an independent country in the Land of Israel for 1000 years, starting about 3000 years ago. (that 1000 years is longer than most modern countries have existed.) then around 2000 years ago, the land was conquered by a series of foreign invaders. these invaders did not establish a homeland in the land of Israel. the land of Israel was just part of this or that empire, always ruled from afar.

when the Jews lived in the land, it was the "Fertile Crescent". but under the foreign invaders, from Roman to Ottoman times, the land was neglected and abused, and it became desert and swamp. the population dwindled as a result. the foreign invaders kept bringing in non-Jews to populate the land, but they kept leaving because they didn't care about the land and didn't put in any effort to improve it. on the other hand, Jews kept trying to return to the land, but the foreign invaders prevented Jews from entering, and massacred and persecuted the Jews, to keep us from returning to our homeland. that is the only reason that the Jewish population was low.

at the beginning of the 19th century, the total population of the land of Israel was less than 300,000 - in a land that had several million Jewish residents in ancient times. during the 19th century, the Jews started to repair and rehabilitate the land. the Jews drained the malarial swamps and irrigated the desert, and cleared land that had become overgrown with thorny weeds. this took a lot of time and effort, but the Jews did it for love of our homeland.

after the Jews started to rehabilitate the land and make it livable, arab migrants came swarming in from neighboring countries, mostly in the 20th century, looking for work in Jewish farms and factories.

during the time that the land was controlled by foreign invaders, Europeans sometimes referred to the land of Israel as "Palestine". this was a name invented by the Romans after one of the unsuccessful Jewish revolts against Roman rule. the land was really called "Judea" after the Jews, but the Romans invented the name "Palestine" to try and erase the connection of the Jews to our homeland. (the Romans invented this name by borrowing the name of the Philistines, an Aegean - not arab - nation that had lived in the area near the land of Israel about 500 years previously. when the Romans invented this name, the Philistines had already ceased to exist for several centuries.)

only European Christians used the name "Palestine"; the arabs never did. the arabs considered the area to be "southern Syria". the arab migrants who came into the land of Israel in the 20th century to benefit from the economic development that the Jews had brought, as well as the few arabs who were living in the land of Israel before the Jews rehabilitated the land, were from many different countries - Syria, Egypt, etc. the arabs living in the land of Israel never considered themselves to be "one palestinian nation". they did consider themselves to be part of the "one arab nation" which has over 20 different countries from Iraq to Morocco.

from around 1250 to 1917, the land of Israel was ruled by NON-ARAB muslim invaders: first the Mamelukes, then the Ottoman Turks, both hailing from central Asia. but when the Ottoman empire crumbled at the end of World War One, the League of Nations split the former empire into many arab countries and one Jewish one. the Jewish country was to be *re-established* in the Jews' ancestral homeland, the land of Israel, that had never really been the homeland of any other nation. but since there was no infrastructure or preparation for independent government, the League of Nations assigned the British the job of preparing the land of Israel (which the European Christians referred to as "Palestine") to become independent, as the *re-established* homeland of the Jews.

(to be continued)

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

(comment continued)

immediately after taking control, the British split off most of the land that had been alloted to the Jews, about 3/4 of it - the whole part east of the Jordan River - and established a new country (that had never existed before) and which eventually would be called "Jordan". the British did this for their own political reasons: they had promised to give a kingdom to the son of an arabian sheik named Hussein of Mecca. Hussein's son Abdullah was crowned by the British as "King of Transjordan"; he was the great-grandfather of the present Abdullah. the British excused this treachery (i.e. taking away 3/4 of the land that was supposed to belong to the Jews) by saying that "Transjordan would be the arab part of Palestine and the land west of the Jordan River would be the Jewish Palestine."

but arab migrants continued to swarm into the Jewish part, because that is where they could find employment. they weren't interested in putting any effort into developing the large piece of land that the British had gifted them. and in 1947, the UN suggested to divide the Jewish homeland *again* and give about half of the remaining (Jewish) part to the arabs (besides the 3/4 that they already had), and only a small sliver to the Jews. the Jews reluctantly agreed that half a loaf was better than none; the arabs refused, since they wanted to take *all* of the Jews' land after the Jews had made it livable. the arabs swore that they would "drive the Jews into the sea". the Jews were tremendously outnumbered by arab armies from all the surrounding countries; not only that, the arabs had plenty of weapons but the Jews had almost none (because the British prevented the Jews from owning weapons while the British were in control). still, the Jews fought valiantly to keep our homeland, and miraculously the Jewish state survived. in 1948 the State of Israel became independent.

during Israel's war of independence, the arab leaders told their people to temporarily "get out of the way" to make it easier for the "conquering arab armies" to annihilate the Jews; the arab leaders promised that arabs who would cooperate in this way would receive the property of the murdered Jews after the war. but surprise! the Jews survived. the arabs who had remained neutral became full citizens in the State of Israel. the arabs who had left (and who had lived in the land of Israel aka "Palestine" for only a short time anyway, and had left because of greed) are the ancestors of today's so-called "Palestinian refugees". the land did not belong to them then and it does not belong to them now.

when archaeologists dig down into the land of Israel, they find Jewish artifacts going back continuously for 3000 years, with Hebrew writing and Biblical names. the land itself will tell you who it belongs to.

the land became desolate while the Jews were away, and began to flourish only when the Jews returned. the invaders didn't care about the land, and trashed it. the Jews - the native sons of the land - lovingly brought it back to life.

Anonymous said...

Quite a lot to read :)


I really don't want to go into a religious debate here. However, you have to understand that people's interpretation of their true religion (see No true Scotsman) differs greatly from how they actually use it. And from what i can see, many Jews use their religious history to back their elitism. And while the Zionist movement started as a secular movement, it quickly started to use religion to gather support, especially from other Jews.

To conclude, if you believe you are entitled to the land of Israel because of religious reasons, then there really isn't anything to debate about. I bluntly refuse your position. On the other hand, if you don't believe that, i'll gladly discuss the matter with you.


Notice i said land of Palestine and not Palestine (as in country). Yes, most Arabs don't know their history, but that doesn't mean others do.

Also, you keep using the word invent. As if there is any other way for a country to start. This is what prompted me to comment in the first place. Somehow i'm getting the feeling that you think Israel has more legitimacy than Jordan. Why is that? It doesn't matter who drew the borders and what they called them. Before Jordan became an official country, people lived there didn't they?

@Leah, Maaleh Adumim

I agree completely with your three conditions. I don't question Israel's right to exist as a country. It won that right. Just like Muslims won the right to rule Jerusalem centuries ago. Do you agree with that?

My real objection is with people trying to rationalize Israel's position by stating that the land belongs to them. I'm sorry, it doesn't. That's like saying if the Canaanites still exist, they can just claim Israel's land as theirs and move in. Or if the indigenous american indians still exist, they can just move into the United States.

As for the history lesson, i find it in the same league as the history lessons taught by Arabs: they're both very biased. The actual truth lies in the middle. The whole Israeli-Arab conflict is both side's fault. Do you agree with this proposition?

Batya said...

Leah, you're doing a great job in your comments, thanks.

a (from Jordan?)
Israel as a Jewish State has a very long distinguished, documented history connected to the Jewish People, sharing religion, culture, history, language etc.
You don't have anything comparable.

Shy Guy said...

Jordanian Anon, your religion is atheism and you believe that yours is the only real truth.

You don't have a claim to your imaginary reality. You are more false than the religions you grumble against.

Shy Guy said...

Back on topic: Har Habayit and entering it.

Our disgrace is that it is not Beyadeinu - not in our hands.

There is a Mitzvah of Kibush, of returning the land to our possession. Once that is done, you can go to your local posek and ask if the Har Habayit should remain barren of visitors or whether we should go up to Har Habayit within this or that boundary ("Le'Shichno Tidreshu).

Moshe Feiglin has said that it is vital in this time to go up in masses to Har Habayit for the Mitzvah of Kibbush. Because the more we leave it in the hands of the Waqf and their assistants, Netanyahu and the Israeli government, the further away we get from that eventual goal and the greater the Chilul Hashem.

Har Habayit Beyadeinu means it's in our hands, i.e., it's our responsibility and it is up to us.

I say this as someone whose Rav has told me NOT to go up to any section of Har Habayit. I have counter-argued about certain southern areas and have not yet received a response. But that has nothing to do with the Mitzvah of Kibbush.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

anon, regarding my first reply (the short one about the 3 conditions):

whether the arabs base their claim on condition (1) (claiming to have been there longer) or (2) (conquest), either way the Jews win.

a) if it depends on "who was there longer", then Israel belongs to the Jews. the Jews were there before the arabs both in ancient times (1500 years of continuously living in the land of Israel before the islamic conquest, as well as a continuous presence from then till now) and in modern times (19th-20th century, when the land was mostly desolate, and the Jews rehabilitated it and made it *livable*, and then arabs who today call themselves "palestinians" swarmed in from various other countries).

also in between the "ancient times" and "modern times", Jews didn't stop living in Israel. there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel from ancient times till the present. it is backed up by a "paper trail" of books written during those centuries by and about Jews in Israel, as well as archaeological remains from each and every century.

b) if the arab conquest in the 7th century was valid, then the Jewish conquest in 1948 and 1967 is valid. if they say that our conquest was not valid, then neither was theirs.

i.e. we got the land the same way that they claim to - but in a stronger way (earlier residence than theirs, and later conquest than theirs). they cannot discount the Jewish claim on the land, without invalidating their own.

regarding my longer reply - the difference between what I wrote, and what arab propagandists claim, is that what I wrote is based on *fact* and there is an enormous amount of historical and archaeological evidence proving it. whereas the arab claims are based on... because they say so.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

also about "both sides' fault" - no, absolutely not.

there are over 20 muslim/arab countries, and most arabs who call themselves "palestinian" actually trace their ancestry to one of them. they came into the land of Israel in the 20th century after the Jews rehabilitated the land.

there is only one Jewish country, Israel, and it is located in the ancestral Jewish homeland that is full of of archaeological artifacts proving that it is.

if that isn't enough, we took it from being desolate and made it into a blooming garden.

the arabs who live in Israel are full citizens with civil rights completely equal to the Jewish citizens. (in some ways, actually, the Israeli arabs have more rights than the Jewish citizens.) and not only the Israeli arabs, but even the arabs under Israeli rule in Judea and Samaria have more rights and a higher standard of living than arabs in any arab country.

but when the arabs talk about a "two-state solution", they don't mean one Jewish and one arab; they mean two arab/muslim states. in their plan, Judea and Samaria will be an arab/muslim state where all Jews must leave; and then the remainder of Israel will be flooded by millions of foreign-born arabs descended from those who claim to be "palestinian refugees" (i.e. who lived in Israel for a short time prior to 1948, left because of greed, and now want to finish the job of "throwing the Jews into the sea" and steal our country and property). in this second arab state (the one replacing Israel), maybe a few Jews will be allowed to remain, but they will be dhimmis.

so I reject the "two-state solution". instead I recommend the "22 state solution". they already have 21 arab/muslim states. we have one Jewish one, that will include all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. the arabs who already have Israeli citizenship can keep it, on condition that they abide by the same requirements as the Jewish citizens (army service, paying income tax, etc). the arabs who do not have Israeli citizenship can choose between resident status (full civil rights, including the right to vote in local elections, but not national ones) or relocation (and for the first year I would even offer them a relocation bonus that will enable them to go to any arab country of their choice and purchase a home there).

my "22 state solution" will actually guarantee the maximum rights to both Jews and arabs. whereas the "two-arab-state solution" will annihilate the Jews and reduce the civil rights and standard of living of the arabs.

one is a win-win, and the other is a lose-lose.

Batya said...

Shy, Leah, thanks

Anonymous said...

Again, i agree that Israel won the land fair and square. But do you honestly expect the non-jews who lived there not to fight back? I obviously find their use of terrorism regrettable, but let's not forget that Israel does its fair share of breaking international laws. Assassinations, use of illegal weapons in civilian areas, heck even destroying Iraq's nuclear reactor in the past. King David Hotel anyone?

As for the two state solution, i agree that it will never work. One because it is not in Israel's interest as a country. Two because Arabs and Israelis just hate each other...

@Shy Guy: Me not believing in a deity has nothing to do with this.

@Batya: I'll take that as a yes. Your feeling of superiority is disturbing. Do you think you're better than others because of your religion/nationality?

Batya said...

a, I left the USA, because it was/is primarily a Christian country. I knew it wasn't for me. Now I'm in my Land.

I like your opinion about the "two state solution." Simple common sense. People shouldn't let ideology blind them.

Shy Guy said...

Hey, AnonJordan, tell us about Jordan's love for its Jewish citizens.

Oh, that's right....

And you atheism is simply another false belief and it has EVERYTHING to do with your comments here - EVERYTHING.

Batya said...

Shy, thanks, excellent point!

Anonymous said...

It is halachically forbidden to go to where the temple once stood whilst one is defiled with death impurity (teumas meis). One can only remove death impurity via the ashes of the red cow and the ashes of the red cow will only become available with the arrival of the messiah.
This as far as I know is held by every torah observant halachic authority of the past and present,no matter of particular outlook they may hold of.
Most rabbonim hold that since we do not know the exact and precise location of where the temple stood we must refrain from going to the temple mount. The chazon ish even held one must refrain about a foot from the western wall as he was of the opinion that this area was once where the temple was.
However some rabbonim believe that they know where one may or may not halachically enter whilst in a state of death impurity and thus permit going to certain areas of the temple mount. How they know I do not know. You must ask them.

Batya said...

MS, we do know "tosefet Hordus," where Herod added. There are places that are definitely not Temple holy.

Shy Guy said...

Ignorance from MS. Try going to a Beit Medrash or a library to find out which Rabbanim know what and how.

Also, have a seance with the Rambam and ask him how he dared go up to the the southern end of Har Habayit. There even used to be a Beit Knesset there, in the area of where this Al Aqsa mosque is now built. Or perhaps you think it was a reform temple?

Anonymous said...

Well actually i am interested in knowing what the Israeli population has to say about the two-state solution. What is the general opinion? And do they prefer other solutions to the problem?

@Shy Guy: First of all, i never said Arabs were tolerant. Heck in a recent poll by PEW, 81% of Jordanians favour Sharia law, which says that all apostates (i.e. me) should be killed.

I think it is unfortunate that many Arabs are extremely intolerant of Jews. I can understand why Palestinians hate Israel though. People who are (technically) at war with each other tend to do that.

As for my atheism, the only thing that it affects is my opinion on whether you have a God given right to your land. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know your opinion on the settlements.

Batya said...

a, I live here in Shiloh. Or did you ask Shy?