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10 Things I Learned at the Mikdash Conference

On Sunday, the 13th Annual Temple Conference was held in Jerusalem. It was sponsored by the Temple Institute and the Movement for the Establishment of the Temple. The day started with an ascent to the Temple Mount and a symposium at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem that covered a variety of topics from a whos-who of Jewish leaders (and revolutionaries).

The event marks 13 years since religious Jews began regularly visiting the Temple Mount in purity--and 11 years since my own first ascent in purity (which was followed by Ariel Sharon's ascent and the Oslo War).

I learned many things, but here are just ten:
Louis Gordon and Rav Hagai Yekutiel 
  1. It's always great to ascent to the Temple Mount. There's no escaping the feeling of holiness where you're up there and you always learn something new. This time, I learned that when the Arabs say "Allahu Akbar", you should answer "Amen." (Hat tip: Rav Hagai Yekutiel) 
  2. I feel especially grateful to the Holy One when I merit ascending with one of my children. It is such a blessing to be able to teach and be taught by the next generation. (Kudos to my wife for supporting our ascent).
  3. According to Noha Awad Hached, an Egyptian nuclear scientist, there is no Islamic claim to Jerusalem. Furthermore, she asked an Imam at Al Azhar University what should be done according to Islamic law if a mosque was built on stolen Christian property. He told her that the mosque should be destroyed. While she did not ask about a mosque on stolen Jewish property, she said that clearly the same verdict should be  reached.
    1. Gershon Solomon of the Temple Mount Faithful has no faith in our leaders who have done everything possible to distance themselves  from the Temple Mount. OTOH, Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud, has faith in the people who are growing in their desire for the Temple and authentic Jewish leadership. He also sees Noha's greetings to the conference as a taste of the future when Muslims will bring greetings to Jerusalem and worship at the Temple.
      If Hogwarts had a shul....
      1. Yehuda Etzion doesn't think that salvation--or the solution--will come from the current system of Israeli government. The people will need to rise up--peacefully--and exchange it for another system. [KLF: hopefully we'll have our own Tahrir Square and ditch the yoke of our unelected Supreme Court for a Jewish monarchy and Sanhedrin].
      2. There is an active group of women who ascend regularly to the Temple Mount. In the tradition of Miryam in the Bible, they broke out into spontaneous song on the Mount. This upset the police who must have been worried about kol isha. Despite police attempts to bar their ascent, the women continue to ascend.
      3. If Hogwarts had a shul, it would be the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem (see the photo and judge for yourself).
      4. MK Rav Uri Ariel requested an urgent meeting when a new person was appointed to a very senior security position. At the meeting MK Ariel revealed the urgent issue--Har HaBayit--and proceeded to explain its importance as Judaism's holiest site. The official expressed surprise and then gratitude as he had erroneously be taught that the Western Wall was Judaism's holiest site. Education is key. There is a lot of damage that needs to be undone.
      5. See BT Makkot 24B.
      6. Rav Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute and the author of the Temple machzorim, is not well and we should daven for his speedy recovery. He said that when the Temple Mount was liberated that people erred and used the Mount as a corridor to go to the Western Wall. [KLF: Using a shul as a short cut is forbidden by Jewish law and this would apply even more so to the Temple Mount].
      7. Burying the Oslo Accords? Hopefully. Did  the police check
        inside the box?.
      8. "Lo b'shamayim hee." The Temple is not in heaven... and it's not in Uman.  If only a fraction of those who go to Uman would ascend to Har HaBayit, we could literally move heaven and earth. Even better: we could chase away the foxes. How long can His House lie in ruin? How long will He wait? The choice is up to each and everyone of us... and it begins with a visit. This is a New Year's Resolution that everyone should make. Then tell your friends. As the the Hebrew expression goes: "chaver mevi chaver". A friend brings a friend.


      pinchas said…

      a few times I went up the temple mount believing that the temple was only on the place where the dome of the rock is.
      Recently I discovered there are a few opinions, including one that says that the temple is where now the "forest" is on the temple-mount and that the dome-of-the-rock is on a platform that was build for the pagan-Roman temple.

      I would like to encourage people to:
      -go up as much as possible (in Tahara of course);
      -walk only at the far edges of the mountain in order NOT to walk through the sacred area of the Beth-HaMikdash and the Kodesh-HaKodashim;
      -pray as much personal prayers as you can (as the do not allow you to bring up Sidurim/Tehilim/Tefilin or any other Jewish item.
      -ignore the foxes that are on the mountain. They know the power of prayer of a Jew and will try to stop you pray. Don't curse them or be angry with them as Hashem cursed the people cursing the Jews and anger is a part of the Sitra-Achra that will result in distancing you only from Hashem (so the opposite of what you wanted to achieve).

      BeHatslacha uBesimcha.
      There is also a theory that holds that the Temple was in the south, between the Dome of the Rock and the mosque, in the current place where the Yishmaelim wash their feet.

      Nevertheless, the most compelling evidence is for the Temple to have been where the Dome of the Rock is today:
      1. Alignment of eastern wall and ancient western wall (lowest step of the steps in the nw corner of the platform)
      2. Raised area on the ground in the "forest" that corresponds to the area of the Ezrat Nashim.
      3. Geography of the mount after discounting Herod's extensions (that can be observed from the bends/seams in the walls).

      There are other reasons that I don't recall.

      BTW, none of this precludes having a Roman temple there after the destruction of the Miqdash.
      BTW, several years ago I met Tuvia Sagiv on a trip up to the mount. He told me that one advantage of his theory is that the 3rd Temple could be built without destroying or moving either Islamic structure. I replied to him that both should be moved to do proper archeological excavations.

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