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In the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos, he makes clear to us that the mitzvah of guarding the Beis Hamikdash is still applicable today: enter image description here Why don’t we have a Temple Guard nowadays?

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    IINM the brisker rav (a levi) didn't go visit the kotel lest he be obligated to remain as a gaurd – Double AA Dec 6 '20 at 15:59
  • @DoubleAA If there is a mitsva and there is no one else doing it, what difference does it make if he already goes there or not. – interested Dec 7 '20 at 11:23
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R. Hillel Moshe Meshil Gelbstein was the major proponent of the view that the mitzvah of guarding the Temple is still in effect today, and who campaigned to reinstate it.

In his Mishkenot LeAvir Ya'akov (Part I, p. 6) he makes the same inference as you do from Rambam's use of the word tamid:

שלשון תמיד שכתוב כאן אינו מובן בפשוטו ... א"ו [=אלא ודאי] שכוונתו גם בזה"ז [=בזמן הזה]‏

However, it must be noted that this position of R. Gelbstein was not accepted by the major rabbis of his day, including Aderet and R. Avraham Bornsztain (later the Sochatchover Rebbe), who partially or wholly opposed his suggested innovations. Their letters to R. Gelbstein can be found towards the beginning of Mishkenot LeAvir Ya'akov Part II.

A nice summary of the many reasons suggested to oppose R. Gelbstein's opinion can be found in R. Yechiel Michel Tucazinsky's Ir HaKodesh vehaMikdash (Vol. 4, Ch. 4).

Notably, he also quotes Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 388:

ונוהגת בכהנים ולוים בזכרים בזמן הבית

And it [the mitzvah of guarding the Temple] applies during Temple times.

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    Did Aderet really oppose it entirely? I heard he thought it was a good idea lechumra – Double AA Dec 7 '20 at 19:56
  • @DoubleAA You’re right that Aderet is more ambivalent about whether the mitzvah is still in effect, although in practice he does seem to believe that guards are not necessary. I’ve edited to soften the language – Joel K Dec 7 '20 at 20:33
  • Also worth noting the Minchas Elazar's short sefer devoted to arguing against the idea that this mitzvah applies today: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14890&st=&pgnum=3 – wfb Dec 7 '20 at 20:48
  • and R. Yehoshua Kutner's anti-haskamah, printed on the title page of משכנות לאביר יעקב: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=22469&st=&pgnum=10 – wfb Dec 7 '20 at 20:49
  • Do you know exactly where the Aderet's letter is? – wfb Dec 7 '20 at 20:49
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"Tamid" means constantly, not for all eternity. As long as the mitzva was relevant there has to be a constant honor guard, but with no Temple, the mitzva cannot be observed.

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    Do you have a source for this? (This is the third answer now posted here of what appears to be people making things up.) – Double AA Dec 7 '20 at 13:31
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Two reasons (there may be more)

(1) I don't see where the Rambam makes clear to us that the mitzvah of guarding the Beis Hamikdash is still applicable today. The Rambam seems to be saying the opposite.

The Rambam (Beis Habechirah 8:1) says the guards were not security guards. They were honor guards. In the absence of the Beis Hamikdash what function would they have? Even when the Beis Hamikdash was standing there were no guards during daytime hours (Rambam Hilchos Beis Hacheira 18:2) Some suggest that was because the Avoda gave enough kovod that honor guards would have been superfluous.

Most of the locations the guards stood at like the gates and outside corners of the Beis Hamikdash don't even exist anymore.

(2)The guards mentioned in the Misna were standing on the Har HaBayis. Due to issues of Tumah we are not allowed to go on it today. In fact Rashi Bamidbar 18:2 says the reason the Levim stood guards to begin with was to prevent those who shouldn't be entering the area from doing so.

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    The Rambam says it is a mitzvah "tamid" - meaning, it is applicable at all times, even nowadays. – Shalom Meisels Dec 6 '20 at 16:41
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    The places the leviim stood gaurd by definition can be accessed today, though I'm not sure why you think those locations are leikuva. – Double AA Dec 6 '20 at 16:48
  • @ShalomMeisels Maybe it is a mitzvah applicable at all times that there is a beit hamikdash there to guard – Joel K Dec 6 '20 at 17:06
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    @JoelK same logic would apply for Mora Mikdash. You only have to act with fear in the place when there is a Mikdash there – Double AA Dec 6 '20 at 17:07
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    The guarding is for honor, but that honor is that no tamei person should enter, and today those people and foxes are entering freely, so there should be a requirement for the guards to stand there even in the daytime. – Mordechai Dec 6 '20 at 19:44
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In the old translation of Perush ha-Mishnah at the beginning of Tamid, it said that this mitzvah was fulfilled in the midbar, in time of Shlomo, ועד לעולמי עד. In this translation it sounds like the mitzvah does apply at all times. However, in the Machon ha-Maor edition of the Perush ha-Mishnah, it reads: ובמהלך הדורות. This gives no indication that the mitzvah applies today.

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    Anyone want to check the Arabic? – Double AA Dec 7 '20 at 21:27
  • @DoubleAA I don't know what the Arabic is but R. Kapach translates it as ועד סוף הדורות – wfb Dec 7 '20 at 22:51
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Politics.

As long as the Israeli government and people are not trying to build the Beis Hamikdash, and are complaisant with the site remaining a holy site for the Muslims and effectively not for the Jews, how can we be expected to stop the wrong people from approaching? That goes against the entire idea of modern religious tolerance. And that would require a theocracy. We sold our city and religion to democracy.

Any Maccabies reading this?

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  • I must admit though that the question is weak, as the Rambam is not clear about the mitzvah being applicable when there is no standing mikdash. – Mordechai Dec 6 '20 at 19:57
  • Someone needs to review Gittin 56a it sounds like – Double AA Dec 6 '20 at 20:01
  • If you mean סבור רבנן לקרוביה משום שלום מלכות, אמר רבי יוחנן ענוותנותו של רבי זכריה בן אבקולס החריבה את ביתנו, then you agree that it is a political decision, just you feel that ignoring this mitzvah is a proper decision. – Mordechai Dec 7 '20 at 22:36

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