Last year someone sent me this video. It shows an IDF "misdar", a kind of military formation/inspection/ceremony (not really sure how to translate it) on the Temple Mount after it was freed from the Jordanians.

It's incredible, but my second thought was: What did the religious soldiers do? I believe there's a heter to free the Mount, which is holy, from enemy hands, but was there some sort of heter for them to remain there? I have no evidence that any of those hundreds of soldiers were religious, though, but knowing what the then-Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Goren, was like, I'm sure that if it constituted any problem, he wouldn't have stayed silent.

Does anyone know whether there was a heter, and if so, what was it?

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    R' Goren was a controversial figure, and it seems to me that he didn't have any problems with Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, as most Religious Zionists do. However, the vast majority of Charedim reject this view due to concerns of ritual purity. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlomo_Goren#Temple_Mount Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 6:50
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    @Kazibácsi It is not exact to write "as most Religious Zionists do" - some of them do allow presence on the Temple Mount, many don't and the official position of the Chief Rabbinate is not to go. See for instance jpost.com/jewish-world/jewish-news/… and en.idi.org.il/articles/3951
    – mbloch
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 7:15
  • @Kazibácsi you make a good point about Rav Goren's views about the Mount, which I forgot about, however, while I'm not very knowledgeable about where precisely Jews can be on the Mount, I see that they were spread out all over. I'm certain that at least some of the people there were standing in places that Jews aren't allowed to be.
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 7:25
  • @mbloch Obviously, I haven't asked all of them, but I have a feeling that it's somewhat similar to the case of Lubavitcher Messianism. Those are in position try to avoid controversy, while in person most of them are quite outspoken, as my Religious Zionist friends are. For sure, it was a historical moment, and I myself don't know what I would have done (it's not mean that I'm in any sense comparable to R' Goren), but most Charedim remained cautious, and they had a good reason to do so. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 8:10
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    [Almost?] everyone agrees there are known places up on the mountain complex where Jews can go nowadays after going to the mikvah. The main debate is if opening it up to Jewish presence will lead to visitors who don't care/understand going to prohibited parts (plus the political debate if going to those places is a good idea). Most of the talk about uncertainties in the archaeology is just talk to keep people out (a little bit of it is valid and a little bit of it is anti-science fanatics who don't know what they're talking about).
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


R Shlomo Goren and his autobiography (With might and strength) explains that he was at the Dome of the Rock the day it became liberated and saw it as a special one-time opportunity. He writes he went back up to the Temple Mount and went to the Dome of the Rock with sappers. He took a Sefer Torah and shofar with him.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because under normal circumstances, Jews are not allowed in there. For one thing, this is where the Temple stood, and we are impure from touching the dead. During wartime, however, when we have to go in to check for explosives, that is considered conquering the area and entry is permitted. During a military conquest, even entering the Holy of Holies is permitted.

R Goren, unlike the Chief Rabbinate, believed it was actually permitted to be on the Temple Mount. As Shifra Mescheloff notes in a very relevant and interest paper

Rabbi Goren was of the opinion that the location of the Temple area can be determined with certainty, by measurements, by relying on sources, mainly the writings of the Sages in the Mishna of Tractate Middot, and from Josephus' descriptions. This would enable people who are impure from contact with the dead, ,i.e., everyone, to enter the places on the Temple Mount which are outside of the Temple area [...]

After Israeli Defense Forces entered the Temple Mount during the Six Day War, Rabbi Goren ordered the IDF Engineering Corps to measure the area of the Mount. The task lasted two weeks, after which accurate maps of the Temple Mount were edited and drawn. In his words – "on the basis of these maps it is possible to delimit the areas in which entrance is prohibited according to Maimonides and his stringent faction, and the areas which people impure from contact with dead bodies are permitted to enter"

The Chief Rabbinate rejected this view (see e.g., here and here) to the sorrow of R Goren.

The video you are referring notes it was taken "moments after the Temple Mount was liberated". I believe it is referred to on p. 12 of Shifra Mescheloff's paper. It is likely the soldiers were acting under the instructions of R Goren, the Chief Rabbi of the Army, and the incredible emotions of the day. The full debate on the permissibility of their actions only came to light later (see p. 13).

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    Thanks, this was enlightening.
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 11:16

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