Har HaBayis Today

Question: May one ascend Har Habayis provided he immerses in a mikve, removes his shoes, and only walks in those areas that are accepted as non-azoroh?


It is forbidden to ascend Har Habayis as a tourist even if you immerse in a mikve, remove your shoes, and walk only in those areas that are accepted as non-azoroh.

There are two reasons for this:

The exact location of makom hamikdosh is not known today. Radvaz does describe the exact location of the even shesiyoh on which the Aron stood (under the Dome of the Rock),[1] and there is evidence of hewn stone to support his statement. Other talmidei chachomim and scholars have questioned the Radvaz’s assertion and indicated a spot further south. There is a lot of speculation on this issue and no clear proof. Therefore, one must be machmir and regard any area that could possibly be makom hamikdosh as kodesh. The Mishna Berura follows the Rambam in ruling that one who enters the mikdosh today is chayav kores[2] the Gra concurs.[3] Even the Raavad, who disagrees with the Rambam, seems to acknowledge that entering is assurchiyuv kores.[4]

  1. Even if we knew the exact locations of the azoroh and Har Habayis, it would be assur to go there just to see the place.[5] The Rambam indicates that the mitzvoh of morah mikdosh applies min ha-Torah not only in the azoroh but on all of Har Habayis.[6] He adds that one can only enter for the purpose of a mitzvoh.[7] Tourists would be classified as metaylin, who are forbidden to be there. Also, one must be careful to comply with all the dinim that apply to a beis haknesses: no eating, drinking, sleeping or sichoh beteila. According to the Aruch Hashulchan Ha'asid, one cannot say divrei reshus.[8]

Although one must regard all questionable areas as azoroh and cannot rely on conjecture or theory, should a person be certain that a specific area is definitely not azoroh, he may ascend Har Habayis ledvar mitzvoh provided the following conditions are met:

Should he go lidvar mitzvoh into an area that is definitely not azoroh, he must not wear shoes. According to the Minchas Chinuch, shoes that are permitted on Yom Kippur are acceptable on Har Habayis.[9] However, there is some lack of clarity on this point, since the Rambam omits this halochoh.[10]

  1. Even though the Rambam says one cannot enter with money,[11] this prohibition seems, based on Tosfos Pesachim 7a, to be referring only to money carried in full public view, since it would look as if the holder were going shopping. Thus, a purse might be prohibited, whereas a wallet in one's pocket would be permitted.
  2. Eiruvin 104b discusses the prohibition of taking anything tomei to the mikdosh.[12] This prohibition would cover any item that can potentially become tomei, such as a watch, pen or handkerchief. However, the Avnei Nezer proves that this prohibition applies only in the azoroh and not on Har Habayis as a whole.[13]
  3. Even if a person can meet the above requirements, he must go to the mikve before entering the area.[14] A zov, a niddoh and certain others cannot enter. Pesachim 67b extends the category of zov to include a baal keri. From the Ramo[15] and Mishna Berura[16] it seems that we do not have to suspect that a person is a zov.[17] According to Tosfos (Pesochim 92a), a tvul yom cannot enter the ezras noshim but may enter Har Habayis after tevilloh before sundown. The Rambam seems to say the same thing in Chapter 7 of Beis Habechira 17.[18]
  4. The tevilloh must be of the highest level; a simple trip to the mikve as on erev Shabbos is not sufficient. One would need to prepare as a niddoh does before going to the mikve.[19] 

Some people know the area on and around Har Habayis very well and might be certain that a particular area is not Har Habayis. Such a person may enter this area. I have not addressed this issue, as I do not know these details. I have only addressed the halachic status of the area that is defined as Har Habayis and the azoroh, not the exact boundaries of this area.

May we all merit greeting Moshiach soon, building the Beis Hamikdosh, and entering bikdushoh uvetaharoh.

BookID: 1 Chapter: 561


Radvaz, vol. 2, siman 691.


Mishna Berura 561:5.

Y.D. 331:2

מביה''ב הט''ו-ט''ז פליג הראב''ד אולם בפי''ט ממעשה הקרבנות הט''ו ופ''ז
מביה''ב ה''ז
נמנע מלהשיג וע''ע משפט כהן סימן צ''ו.

Regarding the mitzva of mora mikdash bizman
, see Yevamos 10a.

Beis Habechira, Chapter 7, Halachos 1 and 2.

See Kesef
e for the source in
Megilla 28b.

Kodshim 14:5

Minchas Chinuch 254:2.

See Mishne Lamelech, chapter 7 of Beis Habechira,
Halacha 2.

See Berachos 62b.

[12] עיין רמב''ם פ''ג מביאת מקדש הט''ז.

Y.D. 452:3.

See Mishna Kelim 1:8.

O.C. 457:2

Mishna Berura 20.

The Mishna Berura says that a kohen who
immersed in the mikve because of keri can eat challas chutz
Apparently, the kohen does not have to worry that
he might be a zov;
otherwise, he would need zayin neki'im.

וע''ע גר''א פ''א ממסכת תמיד מ''א ד''ה בא וישב דכ''כ.

[19] יש ליזהר בכל דיני מקוה שיוכשר ע''י השקה או זריעה ועיין ש''ך
מקואות סימן ר''א ס''ק קי''ב
דיוציא הפקק וישיק המים בשעת טבילה, ויזהר בכל דיני חפיפה וחציצה ויטול צפרני ידיו
ורגליו ונראה דגם צריך לברך על טבילה זו, ויברך לאחר הטבילה ערמ''א סימן ר' ס''א ויזהר
להפסיק בין לבו לערוה כמבואר באו''ח סימן ע''ד ע''ש.

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