SHOCKING: Rabbi Tendler Says Poskei Hador Not Talking Halacha, But Issuing Political Statement

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tendler.jpgOn July 9th, YWN was the first to report (HERE) that Rabbi Moshe Tendler publicly ascended the Har Habyis – and published a set of photos. Haaretz and other media outlets followed. This week, Rabbi Tendler defended his visit in the Jewish Press, and claimed that Maran Hagon Rav Elyashiv’s letter following his vist was a “political statement” and not talking Halacha.

The following is the article which appears in this weeks Jewish Press:

“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.”

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.

(LINK to Jewish Press)


39 COMMENTS

  1. 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

  2. Rav Tendler may be a big Talmid Hacham, but those are our gedolim that he is talking out publicly against. His claims that their Halachic rulings are mere political statements are extremely volitile statements that hurt our gedolim’s holy words. People should really take a stand, this is absolutely terrible for the Jewish world to see, especially at tiems like these. Coming from a sephardic backround where talking about a rav is very much looked down upon, this makes me so angry to see the treatment of gedolim this why. Why are not more people coming out publicly against him?

  3. Yes, Eli, you need a Parah Adumah to remove Tumas Meis. And you need to remove Tumas Meis to enter the Beis Hamikdash. But to enter the Har Habayis, outside where the walls of the Beis Hamikdash were, i.e., the vast majority of the area of the Temple Mount, you don’t have to remove Tumas Meis, only other types of tumah, such as Keri, Niddah, and Ziva. The only one relevant to Rabbi Tendler is the first, and for that, tevilla in any mikva will suffice– although one will have to be much more serious about the tevilla than men normally are, and will have to do what women do when they go to the mikvah– nails, chafifa, scabs, etc.

  4. afra lepumei
    what a disgraceful chutzpa for tendler to call the gedolei yisroel political tools of the government. as far as his actual doing what he wants, going on to the har habayis. nar bleibt nar. unfortunately you cant stop him..

  5. cant somebody have an opinion that is different
    from the the other gedolim-
    DSIDNT RAV KOOK DIFFER FROM RAV YOOSEF CHAIM AND THEY STILL GOT ALONG
    what has changed?
    humbley from dass koton

  6. To #11,
    I basically agree with you even though I am right wing & not YU. What Rabbi Tendler should have said was that the gedolim’s psak was for the haamon am (regular people) but talmedi chachamim who are oisek in Hilchos of the bayis don’t have to abide by this Psak. He should not have brought the word politics or gov’t into this.

  7. with all due respect to everyone- y do people seem to miss the boat. here is a controversial person who seems to make statements then deny them and has all kinds of other baggage. y isnt he concerned about provoking controversy.does he consider hashem when he does his deeds or does he seek his own honr?

  8. Treifing kosher tuna with limited amount of scales, being mvattel the choshuvsteh mohel in America, and now this. To disagree is one thing, albeit he doesn’t come to their karsulayim, but to say they are tied to political priorities over halacha is improper. See Shaarei Tshuvoh who lists levels of aveiros and near the end he says that despising Talmidei Chachomim and cheapening them in the eyes of the public is more chomur than even chayvei misas beis din. If he really said this, as I have not heard it from his mouth, then he is out of the pale.
    May Hashem have mercy on the soul of one who is m’va’zeh our greatest Torah poskim. Others who have the boldness to enter the areas didn’t make such a statement. This type of statement is intentional outright bitul. Is a college education a maaleh in halachic expertise? See Igros Moshe about this. What is actually the importance of going into the mokome ho’azoroh and possibly even holier areas besides making a POLITICAL and not halachic statement?
    A shonoh Tovoh to all.

  9. Mr. k9hora, every talmid chacham is entitled to his opinion. Also, why do you insist on looking at the negative side of people. This is against daas torah and is loshon hora. Believe me, if any one of the other gedolim would have treifed up kosher tuna no one would have said a word but because Rabbi Tendler said it, lets gang up on him since the rest of the world is doing it. This is Total Shefichas Domim and all of you will one day have to give a major din vecheshbon on your comments!!! The fact that he said something regarding ther mohel does not take away the latters’ stature, however he was just trying to protect innocent people from being affected with disease.
    Now to you, Mr. iib001 what gives you a right to say loshon hora about the sons of Rabbi Tendler? Even according to your limited brains, a son is not responsile for the actions of his father!
    Mr. AMCHU, you said “Afruh L’pumai.”, sound like you are talking about yourself!
    All of you better do teshuva before it’s too late!

  10. I don’t know much about Rabbi Tendler, but I don’t understand something. Is he or isn’t he considered “B’amecha” (as in “Lo selech rachil”…)? If he is, then there’s a lot of Lashon Hara being said during elul. If not, why are his words quoted on YW?
    YW, don’t you think this article may border on Hilchos avak lashon hara?

  11. What happened to Rabannam looking for koolas. Where ever one steps past The Wall is a sofic. Why don’t the Rabbis assume one is standing in a mutter land?

  12. I have convened a beis din in Jerusalem. Anyone who says anything negative about Rav Tendler will be put into cherem.

    They will also be subject to the pulsa dinura, a kabbalistic curse as per Sefer HaRazin and Harba DeMoshe.

    See also Chagigah 15a, Zohar Rayah Mehemna 3:263c.

    Do not mess with a Tzaddik.

  13. here is aman who does everything in his power throughout his career together with his son to undermine the status of all the gedolim & insists on doing & saying things merely to garner attention.
    he is a cancer & i have rachmonus on his mishpacha for all the bizyonos he has brought upon them.

  14. to #4 (iib001). What do his children have to do with it?

    I have no idea who they are or what they do.

    But by adding them to this conversation in order deprecate Rabbi Tendler, then you are obviously forgetting that great people sometimes have less than great children/grandchildren.

    Moshe Rabbeinu’s grandson was a priest of idol worship. DOes that make Moshe Rebeinu any less great?

    Rav Shach’s granddaughter served in the israeli army.

    Another godol in der alter heime’s sons went of the derech.

    So what?

    My dear, people decide how they are to live, not parents or grandparents.

  15. I don’t know much about R’ Tendler but I will assume he is a talmid chachum even though he may lack tact. But I feel I need to say one thing. Th article lists R’ Nachum Rabinovitch of Maale Adumim as one of the rabbonim that supports going up to Har Habayis. I have a cousin in E”Y who learned in his yeshiva several years ago. When i was there for a shabbos, I had the chance to meet the Rosh Yeshiva and I was very impressed even though he is in the tziyoni world and i am from the yeshivish velt. When I got home I asked several talmidei chachamim/rabbonim and roshei yeshiva if they were familiar with Rav Rabinovitch. To a man, I had described to me a person who is nothing less than a gadol b’torah and a gaon. I heard words to describe this man that I haven’t heard too often. Two separate rabbonim, both well known names in our world, said the same thing: if this man was still in the yeshiva world (he is a musmach of Ner Yisroel), simply based on his knowledge of torah and a halacha he would for sure be counted among the gedolei yisroel if not THE gadol hador. so my point is this: without being familiar with the issues of har habayis and admitting that it is probably more complicated than most of us know, if this man is counted among those who support going up, we should all be very careful in ellul of being motzay laaz on rabbonim that allow it.

  16. WHAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND IS WHERE ANY ONE OF US HAS A PLACE IN THIS MACHLOKIS. R’ ELIYASHIV AND R’ CHAIM ARE NO DOUBT TODAYS GEDOLAI HADOR. R’ TENDLER WAS OBVIOUSLY BIG ENOUGH FOR R’ MOSHE TO TAKE AS A SON IN LAW AND THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR ANYONE.
    LET’S STOP GETTING INVOLVED IN WHAT IS OBVIOUSLY AN ISSUE FAR BIGGER THAN ANYONE LOGGED ONTO THE INTERNET!

  17. ymk123 you wrote: “Believe me, if any one of the other gedolim would have treifed up kosher tuna no one would have said a word…”

    the point is that a gadol would not treif up kosher tuna!

  18. To # 26, you wrote:
    “R’ TENDLER WAS OBVIOUSLY BIG ENOUGH FOR R’ MOSHE TO TAKE AS A SON IN LAW AND THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR ANYONE.”

    Anybody that knows the history of this shidduch, knows that R’ Moshe ZT”L, did not have any say in this Shidduch, V’hameiven Yavin.

  19. #24

    You are probably right his children have nothing to do with it other then that they have followed in the foot steps of their father in creating unpleasant controversies like the ones in Monsey and CA!

    Maybe it was not worth mentioning!

  20. To Eric, Daas, and some others: Perhaps we should think twice before we decide to belittle any Gadol and decide who is a Gadol. Also, be aware of believing your own Guzmot.

    We are standing less than 30 days before Rosh Hashanah, let us worry about the Aveiros of Lashon Hara and other Aveiros bein Adam va Chavero as these are not even open to Hashem to forgive us.

    As per me, I heard a Talmid Chacahm who was very close to Rav Hutner (zichronom lvrachah) tell him that he knew that part of the area of the current Temple Mount was not Mekudash and that he was certain which parts were Mekudash but mutar to tmaey mesim and of which parts he was mesupak. If so, then there are areas that don’t even require Tevilah and other areas that do require Tevilah but Tmeey Mes are mutar to enter.

  21. to #30.

    You’re right – it isn’t worth mentioning.

    Come up with an intelligent line of conversation, instead of changing the topic by talking about his family, then we can have a conversation. Unless of course you’re about to start a tirade of mother jokes about him now…

  22. This arguing is pointless. We have the two biggest Gedolim today saying something and someone responding in a non respectful way. End of story. We go with the psak of our Gedolim and don’t have to try and be mefalpel on our own. And if Tendler wants to argue then let him as he has done on many Halachic issues in the past and no one pays attention to him (at least in the Yeshina World). However, the fact that he speaks disrepctfully about the two Gedolei Hador for this there is no good answer and shoes his true colors.

  23. The issue is not if Rabbi Tendler is a gadol. I have my opinions on that matter as well, but that’s not what the topic is about here. The problem is that he accused unquestioned gedolim of saying a political decision, and calling it halachic. THIS IS BEYOND THE PALE!!!
    All you commenters who say that “we have no business criticizing Rabbi Tendler, he’s such a great man” or whatever, are missing the point. He said far worse, about men that all should agree are at least as great (if not far greater) as he is. By saying a psak from the gedolim is just a political statement, and not halacha, he is undermining the very system (kavod and subservience to Da’as Torah) that all of you are using to defend him.

  24. FEIF UN:

    You just don’t learn, do you… Rosh Hashanah is just a few weeks away. I hope Hashem judges you less harshly than you judge others. Remember, that for something bein adam l’chavaroh, you need to ask for forgiveness before you can get any leniency in your judgment. I suggest you get in touch with the Vaad Hatznius and beg for their forgiveness while you still have time. They are nice people, I’m sure they’ll be willing to forgive you. If you don’t, watch out, you already know a story that happened to you about someone insulting a gadol, and what happened to him.

    Or does all this not apply to Fief Un, and only to those tzadikim Feif Un does not like and attacks and falsely maligns?

  25. To yehuda613
    you have performed a valuable service in extolling Rav Rabinovitch’s mailos to a population who is unfamiliar with him. Rest assured, he is not the only one who is a godol b’torah and who has gone up to har habayis or who is part of the “tziyoni world”. And for a large group of people in Israel and out of Israel, he absolutely is one of the gedolei yisroel. It is sad that these gedolim are never recognized for who they are, they need the haskamah of those in other circles in order to gain approval. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change, and it is indeed tragic. But you did your part, and good for you.

  26. Rabbosai, I really do not see any way that this thread does not transgress many prohibitions of Lashon Hara, Rechilus, Sinas Chinam….Please stop. The Editor who usually edits this blog must be on vacation. The only reason many people come HERE for their news is because u don’t have to transgress any issurim D’oraiso to get it. Um….that is not the case today. Let’s do us all a favor & STOP this now….Gut Shabbos

  27. YW Editor:

    We all know that this board is moderated and for a good reason. That said, I can’t believe some of the comments i.e. personal attacks against R’ Tendler and his sons (who are irrelevant to this discussion) you’ve posted here. Maybe you think the kavod of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Chaim is being challenged but they would NEVER approve of these comments being posted in a public forum. Beware of the yetzer harah, it’s ELUL!

  28. This is not a new position by Rav Tendler, as noted in the article. He is of stature to disagree with the contrary opinions cited here. And his comments are mild compared to the lashan hara and motzi shem ra coming from some other rabbis today.