Maimonides on the Sanctity of the Temple Mount

From Memorandum on the Western Wall, submitted to the League of Nations by the Jewish community in Palestine in 1930, in the aftermath of the Western Wall controversy:

Moses Maimonides, who came to Jerusalem in 1165,23 wrote, “And on the third day of the week, the fourth day of the month of Heshvan, the 26th year of creation (i.e. 4926 = Oct. 12, 1165) we went out from Acco to go up to Jerusalem. I entered the great and holy house and prayed there on the fifth day, the sixth of Heshvan.” From which it would appear that he was actually permitted to pray on the Temple site. This great man–philosopher, legalist, physician to the Sultan Saladin, fixed the law on this subject: In the Hilkhoth Bet ha-Behira, Chap. 7, Hal. 7, he says: “Although because of our sins the Temple is desolate to-day, everyone is in duty bound to reverence it even as though it were established, for it is said: (Lev. 19,30) ‘Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My Sanctuary.’ Just as the keeping of the Sabbath is eternal, so also the reverencing of the sanctuary is eternal. Even though it is desolate it retains its sanctity.” This may be taken as the final and authoritative statement with regard to the Jewish attitude and belief toward the sanctity of the place, since all succeeding generations have recognized the authority of Maimonides, who ranked as one of the greatest minds of the Middle Ages.

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