Thursday, November 19, 2009


Every Morning

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

I walk away from the Kotel with the same two thoughts. When I get to the top of the steps that lead into the Old City, I look back and marvel, “How holy is this place.” Then I look up, over the Kotel and wonder, “How long will it be that we have to daven (pray) down here?”

Here we are, as close as we can come (for now) to the holiest place in the world. There is both great appreciation and great yearning. We see the holiness of the Kotel, and we are very thankful. But we also look up at the vast holiness of the Temple Mount and thirst for more.


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  2. WHen I go to the Kotel I also look up and wonder how long JEws will have to daven below like second class citizens in our own holy land.
    The times that I've gone to the Kotel it's been really crowded in the womens section, you have to push past a person to touch a piece of the wall. So I sit there and look at the women packed in like sardines then I look at the men's section with large swathes of wall space ....
    MAybe they could move the mechitza over during those times when the women are packed in like sardines and the men's section has enough room to do cartwheels. Perhaps if there is care and concern that no women should feel second class in the Holy Land this would result in a mideh kneged midah effect of no JEws being treated second class in the Holy Land.
    SHabbat SHalom

  3. Shalom R Guttman,

    I think I got here because my wife sent me this link. Beautiful picture of the kotel!

    I see that you are squarely in the d-not-go-up camp re Har Habayit, and I am not a strong enough spokesman to do anything besides just begin to talk about it.

    Tell me, are there any rabbis who forbid standing by one of the gates to Har Habayit and looking in?

    If this is permitted, wouldn't doing so be more of an action showing more yearning than "just" being at the Kotel?

    There is a monthly "sivuv shearim" that is based on or inspired by an ancient minhag. As its name (around the gates) says, participants do not go into Har Habayit's gates, only around it. Have you thought about participating in this manifestation of yearning?

    While it is said that there are differences of opinion as to where kodesh hakodashim etc are, there obviously are spots that are for sure not kodesh in the area bordered by the western, eastern, southern and northern walls, which were built by Herod, who added hundreds of square amot to the Har. For example, to walk up to the southern wall (the northern border of the southern wall excavations) is, I assume, permitted by all rabbis. If Herod had built that wall a few meters to the north or to the south, would that have made a halachic difference regarding where someone is allowed to go?

    Rabbis Rabinovich and Shilat, world class experts in Rambam (arguably the best if not only source for hilchot bet habechira) have established a path and areas for people to ascend the Har that is "lehargish im, lehiyot bli" (to feel like you are with but you are actually without). Halachically, no one has challenged those borders, and I expect no one can. Don't you think it is proper to look into their suggestion?

    Finally, in you other post, you talk about "the tiny minority... (go up because they) say that we will have lost a spiritual opportunity … the opportunity to experience more holiness now. "

    That is only one reason to go up. Frankly, it is not the reason I go up. That is a personal reason. I go up as an agent of the whole nation, to demonstrate to God and the world that the Har IS ours, and we will not allow the de facto residents to creep that de facto into even more de facto and de jure.


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