RCA Goes Against Leading Poskim And ‘Implores Israel to Accommodate Jewish Prayer On Har Habayis’


hhaThe following is a press release from the RCA:

Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) is Judaism’s holiest site and the focal point of Jewish worship, and has been so continuously for thousands of years. Given that Har HaBayit is presently under the control of the State of Israel, the membership of the Rabbinical Council of America – representing over 1000 Orthodox rabbis throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, and beyond – implores Israel “to accommodate Jews who wish to pray on the Temple Mount.”

Formally adopted by a direct vote of the RCA membership, the full text of “2014 Resolution: Jewish Prayer on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount)” states:

WHEREAS Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) is Judaism’s holiest site and the focal point of Jewish worship, and has been so continuously for thousands of year; and

WHEREAS The Jewish State of Israel presently controls the Temple Mount;

Therefore the Rabbinical Council of America implores the government of the State of Israel to accommodate Jews who wish to pray on the Temple Mount.

YWN notes that this view is not accepted by poskei hador, who remain opposed to Jews visiting Har Habayis. This is and remains the view of poskei hador. This is also the view of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Among the rabbonim who share this view are HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L, Maran Hagon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZT”l and many others.

Recently, HaRav Yitzchak Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Israel said in a speech about this: “One of the rabbis even dared to argue. I told him ‘with all due respect how can you disagree with Rav Elyashiv, with Maran my father, the Steipler, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and the Gedolei Hador? We are talking about kores!”

Sixyears ago on Sukkos, former Israeli President Shimon Peres paid a visit to the Sukka of Maran HaGaon Rav Elyashiv ZATZAL, where Rav Elyashiv called on the President to prevent Jews from visiting Har Habayis, stating it is an act that that is viewed as extremely provocative by the goyim. Maran stated everything possible must be done to avoid a religious war, and the provocateurs are playing with fire.

Maran is quoted as explaining to the president that Halacha forbids going onto Har Habayis but today, it is more than this, it is an act that may lead to a religious war and bloodshed.

(Press Release / YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. The RCA has always been, and remains, on the very left of the Orthodox spectrum.

    YCT (which isn’t Orthodox) leader Mr. Avi Weiss is an RCA member! Can you believe that? He could hardly even be called Orthodox. And the RCA gives Mr. Weiss “rabbinic” membership and adamantly and continually refuses to expel him.

  2. The reason why a Jew may not enter the Makom Hamikdash today is because we are Taameh, therefore, that is more of a reason to prohibit the ignorant and boorish RCA!

  3. YWN seems to have a case of split personality when it comes to Jewish access to the Har HaBayis. Some articles are like this one – stating that the “Poskei Hador” have said that it’s Assur to enter the Har, without citing any other views. Others are more balanced, and note that there are reputable Rabbonim, albeit mainly from the Dati Le’umi community, who pasken that one who has properly learned and followed the Halachos of Tum’a v’Tahara can (and some say should) enter those areas that are known to be Muttar to one whose only Tum’a is Tum’as Meis.

    Hmm – do we have a case of battling authors/editors? Inquiring minds want to know…

    an Israeli Yid

  4. Just about all yeshivas and roshei yeshiva, now and and in the past, have had talmidim who have gone off the derech. I never heard of reversing a s’micha.

  5. There are different shittos as to where on what is called the Har HaBayis is prohibited. There are clearly some areas there which are permitted and the RCA is merely asserting people’s right to go to the permitted spots.

  6. @Appleface if you immerse yourself properly in a mikve there is a large part of Har HaBayis that is permissible to go to since it is an addition by Herod and not the Makom Hamikdash.

    The Jews who go up to Har Habayis are a lot more knowledgeable on the subject then you or me, they study it and prepare for it ahead of time so that their entrance will be in accordance with Halacha.

    The current prohibition by most poskim was given with the following reasoning:
    1. Not to anger the Arabs.
    2. Not to cause non-religious people to also visis Har Habayis without the proper precautions.

    The Rabbis who disagree say:
    1. Is a moot point and Israeli/Jewish sovereignty over the location is more important
    2. Is also moot since the non religious visit regardless of what the religious may or may not do.

    If you do believe it is absolutely forbidden I suggest you go ask R’ Akiva (there is no way you can see a fox from mount Scopus on Har Habayit), the Rambam and other people from his period and even from as late as 500 years ago (Radbaz) how they dared to go up.

  7. cherrybim: Mr. Weiss is still an active card carrying “rabbinic” member of the RCA. It isn’t about revoking smicha. It is simply about revoking his membership in the organization. The RCA refuses to do so. Thus they legitimize Weiss.

  8. RCA is asking for safety & security for those who ascend tonHar Habayis. They are not playing role of poskim….so let’s lower the temperature level.

  9. Why do we have to go there I guess to upset the Arabs again like Sharon did ? These Israelis always manage to light a fire what ends up costing jewish blood hashem yerachem

  10. #5- Thank you for posting the exact question that went through my mind after reading the article.

    Regarding not wanting to upset the arabs, suppose they decided that they will riot every time a Jew goes to the Kotel? Should Israel then ban this practice as well?

  11. The RCA is going by different leading poskim. It is entitled to do that. To imply that the other poskim can’t be followed is to imply that they are not rabbis. Of course, that is done on a regular basis here. 🙁

    “Not to anger the Arabs.”

    I think that we should all understand today that it is fruitless to attempt to avoid angering the Arabs. The terrorists are angered by our very existence.

  12. “YCT (which isn’t Orthodox)”

    On at least one issue YCT is more machmir than the RCA. It publicly disassociated itself (or, more precisely, Rabbis Weiss and Linzer publicly disassociated themselves) with a musmach who had participated in a conversion with heterodox rabbis. The RCA did nothing when a prominent member led the joint conversion authority in Denver, and that member remained one of its “featured rabbis” on its web site for decades, up to the time of his death.

  13. #11- Re Rambam see: Sefer Haredim, mitzvah 83. There are more than a few sources that relate that Jews ascended the temple mount throughout the ages.

  14. When Snow-White did not know which part of apple was poison, she would have done well to avoid entire apple:- When we don’t have clarity which part of HarhaBayis is Issur Koreiss, we would do well to avoid entire Har haBayis and not jeopardize our lives being Chayov korreis.

  15. It is a clear Halacha that it is allowed. You are even allowed to have a dead person on har habayis. Moshe Rabbeinu even brought Yosef’s bones to his camp which was machane leviya which is the equivalent of har habayis. Look up the RMB”M.

  16. “The Jews who go up to Har Habayis are a lot more knowledgeable on the subject then you or me, they study it and prepare for it ahead of time so that their entrance will be in accordance with Halacha.”

    And the poskim who have prohibited in the past and continue to prohibit now are a lot more knowledgeable in the subject than anyone posting here. And even if their only reason is not to anger the Arabs, that is enough of a reason. The baryonim also knew better and destroyed Yerushalayim because of their knowledge.

  17. Without getting into the halachic issues of davening on Har Habayis…If the problem is that we’re upsetting the Arabs, then we’d better leave all of Eretz Yisrael, chas ve’shalom. When rockets are exploding over Netivot and Tel Aviv, does it really matter whether we upset the Arabs? On 9/11, did any Yid have a hava amina to leave Manhattan because we upset the al-Qaeda Arab terrorists, yemach shemam?

  18. JoelK get your head out of the sand face it the Yismoeylim just want an excuse. Why make an issue of who is a member of the RCA. Do you scream about the neturai Shmatta that marches with the Iranians ?
    Our enemy are the Arabs ! Until the day WE learn to love and respect our fellow Jews WE WILL ALWAYS LOSE !!!!

  19. yesh makomot, v’yesh makomot.

    there are places it is permitted to walk, and places it is forbidden to go. we need a clarification as to where is what and a reduction of the control that the Arabs have on Har haBayait.

    Remember the famous cry during the Six Day War? “Har HaBayit B’yadim Shelany!”

  20. I guess the RCA is going to take responsibility for the kares of every person up there who isn’t tahor k’halocha or those who step in the wrong places.

  21. Terms like poskei hador, gedolei hador, haGaon should not be greatly taken seriously. They are simply terms of respect that are used by a particular group. Others include “our lord and master”, “the elder of the mystics, the wise, the righteous, rabbi doctor. Sometimes they are accurate descriptions of the bearer. Concerning the Temple there is a serious difference of opinion between the different camps in orthodox Judaism often extending from the leaders to the flock.

  22. ujm – your hatred of anything left of your own personal opinion knows no bounds.

    Yes, I’m certain that anybody to the right of you is a chanyuk and anybody to the left, an apikores.

    RABBI Weiss obtained his Semicha at YU, an Orthodox institution. If you’re going to now claim that YU isn’t Orthodox or ‘doesn’t count’ to you, that is your prerogative, however, look in the mirror and realize that you are no better than those who castigate you kind.

    Something tells me that if I was to call your Rov (whomever he may be, and he probably should give you some mussar) “Mr,” you wouldn’t take it sitting down

    You don’t have to support the RCA, but Agudas Yisroel or whatever organization you deem infallible, probably also has skeletons in the closet.

  23. @11, There is an anecdote about the Rambam going up…but I ask if he went up, and was actually in Yerushalayim..why did he leave Eretz HaKodesh?…and since when do we rely on stories to posek halacha?

    @8, Your reasons for the prohibition are not inclusive but even so they are valid reasons to prohibit, avoiding violence (if not in self-defense) is always a good idea.
    Those rabbis who disagree with the current prohibition, I wonder from whom they got smicha…if they are Dati_Leumi then their basic source should be HaRav HaGaon HaCohen Avraham Yitzchak Kook, and his son, HaRav Zvi Yehuda Kook, both who forbade such and both who truly understood the concept of “Israeli/Jewish sovereignty.”HaRav Kook, it is told, would not even let his fingers enter the cracks in the Kotel for fear of transgressing such an important prohibition.
    Zeal in performing mitzvot and desiring closeness to H’ is a good thing but not if it leads one to forget one’s rav’s teaching or to approach or cause other’s(chas v’sholem) to even come close to doing a serious averah.

    I’m saddened that RCA, which is a very legitimate organization, has decided to enter this controversy. I do believe that when it came to questions about conversion they said that the Chief Rabbinate should be the guide, it is unfortunate that they did not leave this issue in their hands, as well.

  24. Ywn is quoting only chareidi leaders while rca clearly does not follow them. Aren’t there mizrachi leaders who agree with the gedolim you quoted. That would put more perspective to this

  25. @ #18,
    “Re Rambam see: Sefer Haredim, mitzvah 83. There are more than a few sources that relate that Jews ascended the temple mount throughout the ages”.

    I am an exception to the saying in Pichei Avos that a am ha’aretz cannot be yiras shamayim…I may not have much learning but I try and I try to act with fear of heaven, so I asked my husband what about this Sefer Haredim,mitzvah 83? He said,
    “There is no Mitzvah 83 in Sefer Haredim.”

    So I’m sorry if you got the wrong source, maybe someone gave it to you by mistake.
    What I read previously, in support of ascending the Temple Mt. was a story about how Rambam went up, not written by Rambam himself.
    As I said before, despite my limited knowledge, I would not rely on that. story.
    It seems that we are all somewhat limited on this and even these rabbis that support it should defer to the sages of old, including HaRav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism.
    Besides, there is the extra security risk for all those policemen whose security threat is increased by making, even more clashes with the Arabs likely. We should concern ourselves with their safety.
    May it be soon in our time that we all will together joyfully ascend to the Third and Everlasting Bayit. Amen.