If most rabbanim today FORBID going onto the Har Habayit, why are those who advocate this practice not put in Herem?


As you write, most rabbanim maintain that one may not ascend to the Har Habayis area. However, the fact that other rabbis disagree is not (necessarily) a reason to place them in herem. If every halachic dispute would end with a discommunication, as in the tale of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua (Bava Metziah 59), there would be nobody left out of herem!

The concept of herem is a last resort, a tool of great power that must be reserved for people whose actions or words present a great danger to the public. Aside from such instances, we should recall that Chazal see certain forms of machlokes in a positive light (“these and these are the words of the Living God”), and even in today’s highly polarized society, it would be wrong to crush halachic pluralism, provided it does not cross red lines. The question of ascending to Har Habayis does not, in my opinion, cross any ‘danger lines’ that demand so severe a measure as herem.

[In addition, there is something of a cleavage in the political orientation of the rabbis who permit and those who prohibit, so that a herem would in any case not be very effective.]

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One Response to “Putting Rabbis in Herem”

  1. You answered very well, except for establishing a clear danger to the public. Perhaps their actions ARE rndangering all of us in the global arena?
    Coincidentally, it is DAFKA this group of rabbanim today who are lenient in a ספק ספיקה דאורייתה, by teachhing that under certain circumstances it is permitted to go on the Har Habayit, whose followers were “punished” by the Gush Katif exile, and who have been suffering being sort of “excommunicated” from the main אוהבי ציון and are still נרדפים. In additon, they are מבייש ת”ח by going against רוב רבנים בזמן הזה הידוע ברבים and if not put in herem, they should be publicly admonished through public notices and advertisements in the various Halacha media.
    Shabbat Shalom

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