Now let's leave aside the argument over the permissibility of going up the Har HaBayis. As this Rav noted, and I agree, we seem to have forgotten that the Kosel isn't the centre of Jewish world but a poor substitute because of the current occupants beyond. We shouldn't see praying at the Kosel as an end unto itself but as an expression of the desire to one day prostate ourselves before the Shechinah in a rebuilt Temple (may it occur speedily in our day).
Yet habit and time seem to have robbed us of this awareness. Consciously or not, we don't see Har HaBayis as the place prayers need to be offered from. That belongs to "them" while we have the Kosel. That's good enough. Or is it?
This is what makes all the kerfuffle caused by the Women of the Wall so absurd. They show up at the Kosel plaza dressed to instigate. They succeed in getting the attention they want and then they shout that the Kosel isn't a Chareidi synagogue, that they too have the right to worship as they see fit, and so on. And no one points out that while the Kosel isn't a Chareidi synagogue it's also not a synagogue in any sense of the word. It's the one remnant of the outer wall of the Second Temple. When that Temple was standing no one stood at its base tearfully offering prayers.
What's even more ironic is that, were the Temple to be rebuilt tomorrow, it would reinstitute worship that would be extremely class and gender segregated. Women would be restricted to a small part of the Har HaBayis. Non-Kohanim would also be limited in their movements and imagine the guards checking for one's tumah status. For all their screaming about an inclusive Judaism that respects everyone, we would finally know that Torah worship is, in fact, very formal and rigid on what it allows.
Why is all this important to mention now? As the Israeli election campaign careens to a close the story has broken that a candidate for Bayit Yehudi has been caught on video saying that he thinks it would be great if the Dome of the Rock were to be blown up.
The Tzipi Livni Party announced Saturday that it planned to request from the Central Elections Committee that a Bayit Yehudi candidate, who spoke of the Dome of the Rock being “blown up” in a video clip, be disqualified from running in Tuesday’s election.
The clip, which was first revealed by Channel 2, shows the 14th candidate on the Bayit Yehudi list, Atlantanative Jeremy Gimpel, addressing a group of Christian Zionists in Florida in November 2011. Gimpel states in the clip, “Imagine today if the golden dome, I’m being recorded so I can’t say blown up, but let’s say it was blown up, right, and we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine what would be? None of you would be here. You would be going to Israel. It would be incredible.”Well you know what? I also think it would be great. I have no plans to make it happen. I would oppose anyone who said they intended to make it come about. I am sure we as a people are not ready for it and the needless bloodshed that would follow such an event would be incredibly tragic. Having said that, yes I don't think the Dome belongs there. I don't like that it's a non-Jewish place of worship. I would much rather have a Temple there run by the right people acting as a central source of identity and unity to our nation. I don't think that's anything to be ashamed about. It's certainly not racist because the identity of the occupants of Har HaBayis is irrelevant. It is our property, our spiritual centre and we belong there. Frankly, what frum Jew wouldn't think that?
We need to remember the bigger picture, we need to remember the goal of history and we need to be as possessive of our property as other people pretend to be of it.