These are the rules that Jews must abide by when visiting the Temple Mount, the site where the First and Second Holy Temples once stood, located above and behind the Western Wall in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Although the area is under Israeli sovereignty, the mount — known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif — is controlled by the Islamic Wakf, a joint Palestinian-Jordanian religious body. As the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whose golden dome overlooks the city, the Temple Mount attracts daily crowds of Muslim worshipers.
Under Wakf regulations, Jews may only access the mount for 4 1/2 hours per day and are forbidden from praying there.
But when Rabbi Chaim Richman stands only feet from the Dome of the Rock, surrounded by Muslim visitors, he whispers a chapter of Psalms.
“God will answer you on your day of trouble,” he mutters on a recent visit. “The name of the God of Jacob will protect you.”
On previous visits to the mount, Richman says he’s sung the entire Hallel prayer under his breath.
A frequent presence on the mount who knows the guards by name, Richman is the international director of the Temple Institute, an organization based in the Old City with a singular goal: to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Ahead of Tisha b’Av, the fast day next week that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the institute released a video showing Jewish children donning tool belts and leading their fathers out of synagogue to begin construction of the Holy Temple.
“Our goal is to fulfill the commandment of ‘They shall make a Temple for me and I will dwell among them,’ ” Richman says, quoting Exodus. “The basis of a Torah life is action.”
Following the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E., most rabbis adopted the position that Jewish law prohibits reconstructing the Holy Temple prior to the age of messianic redemption, or that the law is too ambiguous and that the messiah must come first.
The Temple Institute takes a different position.
“There are no Jewish legal barriers” to rebuilding the temple, Richman says, only political ones.
Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/07/09/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/holy-work-or-troublemaking-laying-the-groundwork-for-a-third-temple-in-jerusalem#ixzz2ZBNMp7Ca