A big number of Jewish settlers entered the holy Aqsa mosque on Monday morning under heavy police escort. Eyewitnesses inside the holy site told the PIC reporter that special police units protected the settlers during their stroll in the mosque. They said that the settlers toured the mosque’s various plazas, utilities, and historical wall near the Marwani mosque.
Chanukah, of course, is the most appropriate holiday to visit the Temple Mount.
The whole essence of the holiday – the oil miracle - is not only connected in a ritual fashion to the Temple Mount but there is also Israel’s sovereignty in its land that is a crucial factor of the holiday.
In [the era of] the Second Temple, the Greek kingdom issued decrees against the Jewish people, [attempting to] nullify their faith and refusing to allow them to observe the Torah and its commandments. They extended their hands against their property and their daughters; they entered the Sanctuary, wrought havoc within, and made the sacraments impure. The Jews suffered great difficulties from them, for they oppressed them greatly until the God of our ancestors had mercy upon them, delivered them from their hand, and saved them. The sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priests, overcame [them], slew them, and saved the Jews from their hand.
They appointed a king from the priests, and sovereignty returned to Israel for more than 200 years, until the destruction of the Second Temple. When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them, they entered the Sanctuary; this was on the twenty-fifth of Kislev. They could not find any pure oil in the Sanctuary, with the exception of a single cruse. It contained enough oil to burn for merely one day. They lit the arrangement of candles from it for eight days2 until they could crush olives and produce pure oil.
As we see, both the religious and the political elements of our national ethos are bound up in this holiday and they are intrinsically connected to the Temple Mount.
Visiting the Temple Mount would be an appropriate holiday outing. There are many groups (here
; and here
; and also here
) that can be contacted if you wish to be strictly observant about the Halachic issues of where one can and cannot enter while in the Temple Mount compound, which currently is much larger than the original 500 cubit square precinct, leaving much room for presence.
If you still feel a bit unsure, at this point, why not join the around-the-Temple-Mount-gates walk? Get to know the outside, before entering inside.
This Thursday, congregating at 6:30 PM and starting from the Western Wall Plaza at 7 PM, at the tunnel leading to the Muslim Quarter (at the bottom of the steps leading into the Plaza).
Remember, to be Jewish is to always ascend.
And Happy Chanukah! Light up!!