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Offline TorahZionist

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« on: May 25, 2007, 09:21:24 AM »

Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

9 Sivan 5767/25-26 May 2007


“The children of Israel did so; they sent them (the impure) to the
outside of the camp, as Hashem had spoken to Moses”. In this week’s parsha,
we are taught of the obligation to remove the spiritually unclean (tam’eh)
to the outside of the camp of Israel. In the desert, the children of Israel
were made up of three camps, each with a higher lever of holiness. In the
center of the Jewish people’s encampment was the Tabernacle - this was the
camp of the Divine Presence. Next came the Levite camp - this was the area
surrounding the Tabernacle, and finally the Israelite camp, which was made
up of the entire encampment of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Torah
obligates an impure person to leave one, two or all three of these camps
according to the severity of his tum’ah.

This division of the Jewish people, as the Jews wandered for 40 years in
the desert with the Tabernacle, was not just a one- time affair; rather, it
was a commandment for all generations. We find that this division of camps
also took place in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Corresponding to the
Divine Presence camp in the desert was the Temple, the Kohanim and Israelite
courtyards. The camp of the Levite constituted the remaining sections of the
Temple Mount, and the camp of the children of Israel corresponded to the
city of Jerusalem. These levels of holiness still envelop the Temple Mount
and Jerusalem today, even though the Temple is not standing.

What’s the problem?

As is well known, today we are all in the category of impurity through
contact with a dead body. This type of impurity was banned from entering the
Divine Presence camp under the punishment of Karet - being cut off, but a
person with such impurity would be able to remain in the Levite and
Israelite camps. That means that today, we are forbidden to go to the area
on the Temple Mount where the Temple and its courtyards stood, but we can go
the rest of the Temple Mount, which makes up some 85 percent of the Mount!
Now you might say that we don't know where this 15-percent (Temple and
courtyards) “off-limits” area is, and therefore, by going up to the Mount we
might accidentally be walking in the forbidden area. The truth is, that even
if we did not know where the Temple and its courtyards stood (which in truth
we do), the 15 forbidden percent cannot be just anywhere on the Mount, but
must be somewhere in the middle of it. In any case, when one goes up to the
Mount, he does not come close to any area where that 15% might have been.

Well, you might ask: What about the rest of the Temple Mount - that 85%?
Is a "tum’at met"- a person with impurity from a dead body - allowed to be
there? To answer this question, let's go back to the encampment of the
Jewish people in the desert. As we said, the Levite camp enclosed the
surrounding area of the Tabernacle that corresponds today to 85% of the
Temple Mount, and as we learned in the Torah (Exodus 13:19), Moses, who
lived in the Levite camp, took the bones of Joseph with him, meaning that
the bones of Joseph were with Moses in his camp! We see from here that not
only is someone who is impure because of a dead body - as we are today -
allowed to be in the Levite camp (85% of the Temple Mount), but you can
actually bring a dead body itself up to the Temple Mount!

If as "tam'eh met" –impure from a dead body, we are allowed to go up to
the permitted areas in the Mount, why, then, do many Rabbis come out
forbidding people from going to the Temple Mount today? I don’t know - As
of now, not one Rabbi has given over a serious halachic reason not to go up!
Maybe they are afraid that people who do not know where they are allowed to
go might wander to the forbidden 15%. But that certainly is not a justified
reason to stop people who do know, and certainly they could place markers
showing people which road to stay on.

More than all of this is the overriding factor of the horrible Chilul
Hashem that take place every day on the Temple Mount: Giving control of the
Mount to our Arab enemies. The least we can do is to have a Jewish presence
on the Mount and to show Hashem that we, the Jewish people, want to build
His house again!

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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