Today, April 14, I ascended Har HaBayit with my two youngest children. As we approached the gate, we saw a large mixed crowd of American and European tourists waiting in line for their turn to tour the most famous piece of real estate in the world. The police noticed my children and I standing off to the side of the line, and quickly summoned us to the front. The police took our identification cards, conducted the usual search and we were allowed to begin our ascent. Slowly and pensively, we walked up the wooden Mughrabi Bridge to the Mughrabi Gate entrance to Har HaBayit. There seemed to be more police on duty than usual. My children were instructed by everyone (including myself) to stay by my side at all times. Our Druze police officer smiled and asked if we were ready. He was good and kind. I took a deep breath and entered the place that my soul loved, Har HaBayit. I felt this ascent was going to be different. I was about to find out why.
As we entered, I noticed the Wakf regulars and a few extras. They quickly surrounded us in a spirit of anxiety. As we neared Al Aqsa Mosque I felt as if I had run into a brick wall, not a physical wall, but a spiritual wall. The energy was extremely intense as we found ourselves surrounded by the Wakf and tourists. They were all crowding in towards us taking videos and pictures as if we were animals in the circus. However, this had nothing to do with the spiritual energy that I was sensing. What I was feeling was much deeper than the outward hostility that was being displayed. I felt pain; raw, deep pain that makes the soul scream in agony. The kind of pain that is ancient, trapped in a world of spiritual deceit, anger and violence. It was the cry from the collective soul of humanity. In a world that has gone insane, where everyone is tossed about like lost ships on a turbulent sea, souls are crying out for help and deliverance from spiritual darkness. A lump rose in my throat as I was suddenly overcome by this powerful emotion. I successfully fought back the tears. As I looked into the angry eyes of the Arabs, I caught the gaze of one young man. As our eyes locked, I thought, “We are here for you, too.” Har HaBayit is the heart of our nation and the world.
We continued our walk around Har HaBayit, and stopped to listen to the children answer questions about Har HaBayit and Beit HaMikdash. We were quickly ushered to our next stop at the eastern side of Har HaBayit. We were not given too much time, and again we were rushed along. One of the Wakf guards was especially aggravated and tried to make a scene, but the Druze officer told him to be quiet. As we neared the site where there was ancient cedar wood from the First Temple, two police officers approached me and asked me what we were all looking at. I explained about the cedar wood and how archaeologists determined the age of the beams. The officers proceeded to ask me how I felt about the different types of people on Har HaBayit and what does Har HaBayit really mean? I explained to them that Har HaBayit and Beit HaMikdash are for the entire world and are the key to bringing about world peace. I’m still not sure what all of that was about, but hopefully, they will have a different view of the Temple Mount.
My children found their ascent to be spiritually uplifting, and were not at all bothered by what was going on around them. The other children, as well, seemed to be very happy with their ascent to Har HaBayit.
As a nation, we Jews must wake up and realize the spiritual impact that Har HaBayit has on the world. We must understand how crucial the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash is for humanity. We have been given a Divine responsibility. What are we going to do with it?