Psak 5765 Shevat 30
Informal translation from Hebrew of the 30 Shevat, 5765 (9 February, 2005) statement:
Decision of the Sanhedrin concerning the exact location of the Temple on the Temple Mount
The re-established "Sanhedrin" convened to hold its monthly meeting this week, with the question of the Holy Temple's precise location the main topic on the agenda.
The Sanhedrin heard expert testimony on the various opinions as to the exact part of the Temple Mount upon which the Holy Temple stood. The fact that there has never been an archaeological expedition or dig on the Temple Mount, coupled with continuous Muslim efforts to destroy historical evidence of the Holy Temple at the site, have made determining the exact location difficult.
Identifying the spot on which the Temple stood is a matter of controversy among scholars, and has serious ramifications for those wishing to visit the Temple Mount. It is also critical for the renewal of the Passover sacrifice, and ultimately for the building of the third and final Holy Temple. While numerous opinions have been expressed throughout the years, and while several of them were expressed at the Sanhedrin gathering this week, the two main opinions state that the Temple stood either on the spot currently occupied by the gold-topped Dome of the Rock, or just to the north of that spot. An opinion that the Temple stood south of that spot, approximately behind the present-day Western Wall, was also presented - though most scholars basically discount it.
The opinion that it is impossible to determine the site of the Temple without prophecy was also presented.
The opinions were delivered by rabbis, professors and archaeologists, all experts in the matter of the Temple Mount. A final presentation on the matter will be given to the Sanhedrin by a subcommittee now in formation. The subcommittee will thoroughly examine the various opinions, and present its findings to the Sanhedrin, which is then to make a decision on whether the site can be determined.
The idea about the site at the north is belonging to one respected individual - Prof Kaufman, several are supporting the idea that it is to the south of the Dome of the rock. The majority of the committee support the idea that the site is where the Dome of the rock. The steering committee of the Sanhedrin sat as a subcourt [earlier this year] and the majority vote [of the judges based on a detailed presentation of evidence by the architects, archaeologists and historians ruled that the current evidence most convincingly indicates] that the exact place is the where Dome of the Rock currently stands. [The subcourt has not issued further explanation as to halachic implications of this ruling, if any]
This ruling in the news
- Can Third Temple be built without destroying Dome of the Rock?, JPost, Jun 21, 2009