How To Prepare
A Comprehensive Guide To Temple Mount Ascension
The team at High On The Har looks forward to welcoming you home to Har HaBayit, the place where the Shekhinah, or Divine Presence, has chosen to dwell among us. By making Aliyah, or ascending to the Temple Mount, you are participating in an unbroken, centuries old bond of the Jewish tradition and practice of praying at the site of the most Holy of Holies. Mazal Tov! Here is what you need to know about your big day…
How To Prepare For Ascension
Being ritually pure is very important for you, and to G-d, when visiting the Temple Mount. And it will make your experience all the more meaningful.
On the morning of the day of ascent to the Temple Mount, all Jewish males, regardless of age should immerse in a kosher mikvah. A man who masturbated or had sex must immerse in a mikvah before ascending. The mikvah must be a valid one under Rabbinical supervision. Alternatively, one may immerse in a clear lake or ocean, but not in a river.
A woman within seven days of receiving her menstrual period (niddah), even if she is no longer bleeding, may not ascend to the Temple Mount. On day seven, before nightfall, she must check herself to make sure she has stopped menstrual bleeding, and then go to the mikvah after nightfall. A woman who has reached menopause, and has since been to the mikvah from her last period, is not required to immerse again. A woman who had sex must wash well with warm water, and then immerse in a mikvah before ascending. The mikvah must be a valid one under Rabbinical supervision. Alternatively, one may immerse in a clear lake or ocean, but not in a river. Children under nine years of age are not required to immerse in a mikvah.
Non-Jews, both men and women, are welcome to visit the permitted places on the Temple Mount - "for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations" - but are not required to immerse in a mikvah.
How To Mikvah
Those who must immerse in a mikvah should first prepare themselves by making sure that nothing is present on the body that would constitute a separation between the body and the water of the mikvah. It is customary to trim the fingernails and toenails before immersion. Since immersion is biblically mandated, it requires that there are no chatzitzot (i.e. separations) which would infringe on the immersion (like bandaids, bandages, sports tape, etc.). One should shower before immersing, comb out any knots in their hair, and look over their body to make sure there isn't anything external (paint or dirt, etc.) on him or herself.
A blessing should be made when immersing.
Enter into the water, fold your hands over your chest and recite:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קְדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל הַטְּבִילָה
Barukh ata adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvo-tav v’tzi-vanu al ha-tevilah
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the immersion
Immerse your entire body underwater immediately after reciting the bracha. Please take special care that all hair gets submerged. After immersing, one must refrain from having sex or from masturbating until after the ascension.
You can find a mikvah in your local community at mikvah.org/directory. Alternatively, one may immerse in a clear lake or ocean, but not in a river, and follow the same directions above. If you need further assistance finding a mikvah, if you would like to arrange a private mikvah, or for mikvah locations in Jerusalem, please click here.
At The Mount
Important Rules & Regulations
Israeli law requires all first-time visitors to the mount to present an ID. Please bring your TZ, Passport, or other form of personal identification in order to avoid any delays in your ascension.
Prayer books and other religious articles (including tallit or tefillin) are unfortunately not allowed, but you can wear a kippah, tzitzit, or inconspicuous jewelry featuring Jewish symbols (like a Jewish star). Although you cannot carry a siddur, tehillim or other prayer book, you can download relevant apps, pdfs, or other prayers that are important to you on your cell phone and access the content once on the Temple Mount. Nationalistic or patriotic items are not permitted, including the Israeli flag of any size or type (such as pins, stickers, or cloth flags).
Safe lockers for your personal belongings are available at the entrance to the Temple Mount, before you enter the waiting area. You will pass through a metal detector and encounter Israeli security guards, who are there to ensure your security at the one entrance non-Muslims are admitted to.
You are permitted to use your phone and take pictures on the Temple Mount. However, care should be taken to not lose focus on the primary reason for ascending - so please consider saving the texting, phone calls, and social media posting for once you have descended.
On The Mount
Do's & Don'ts
One who ascends the Temple Mount is entering God’s palace! Please dress appropriately and demonstrate the proper respect that such a holy site deserves. Please avoid skirts above your mid-calf, shorts, low-cut tops, or tight clothing. Women are not required to wear skirts or dresses, and can wear loosely fitting pants.
Leather shoes are strictly prohibited - so be sure to wear or bring your sneakers (or other comfortable non-leather footwear). Preference should be given to something classy, so avoid flip-flops. One may also walk barefoot or in socks (although this can be difficult for first time ascenders). Ladies are permitted to ascend with a respectable handbag or purse, but men and women should not carry a fanny pack or backpack.
When walking on the Temple Mount, one must be cognizant of where they are standing and act accordingly. One should walk slowly, with dignity and avoid running. Care should be taken not to turn your back to theDome of the Rock as that is the site of the Holy of Holies. Crass jokes or language should be avoided, especially when standing on the eastern flank of the Temple Mount, facing toward where the entrance to the Temple once stood.
Mindful On The Mount
Prayer & Practice
The Temple Mount was set aside since the creation of man as a site for prayer and service to God. The Talmud teaches us that this is the premier site for prayer. We won't have a lot of time to pray when we are on the Mount, so it is ideal to write down what you would like to pray for, so when the time comes, you can make the most of it!
When praying with a minyan on the Temple Mount, in place of the standard “amen” in its our practice to answer to the chazan’s prayer as follows:
בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד
Barukh shem kvod malchu-to le-olam va-ed
Blessed [is His] Name Whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever
Visiting the Temple Mount is a deeply moving experience and our hope is that you will be inspired by your ascension. This is the house of Hashem and the place where his divine presence resides! For as G-d tell us, "my eyes and my heart will always be here for all days” (II Kings 9).
There is a custom for those making their first ascension to drink wine and eat meat afterwards in order to celebrate the fulfillment of this great mitzvah, so we look forward to sharing a meal and a l’chaim with you in the Old City following you first Aliyah, or ascent, to the Temple Mount.
Safety & Security Matters
All Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount are accompanied by a contingent of Israel Police Officers, who will remain with you throughout your entire ascension. You do not need to be concerned about your personal safety and security while visiting Har HaBayit. Nonetheless, the Temple Mount remains a contested religious site and you will encounter or pass by Muslim worshippers during your tour. If not bothered by them, they are generally not bothered by you.
Arrival & Check In
The entrance to the Temple Mount is a narrow passageway located directly to the right of the entrance to the Kotel Complex, across from the Dung Gate (or Mughrabi Gate).
If you are driving, it is best to park in the Mamilla Parking Lot (located at Yitzchak Kariv Street 6) and walk to the Western Wall Complex from the Jaffa Gate. If you are being dropped off by car, it is best to enter from the Dung Gate (located directly across from the City of David). Please text us when you arrive so we can move you past any tourist lines and quickly through security.
We're Here To Help
High On The Har is here 24/6 to answer any of your questions, or respond to any of your concerns, before, during, and after ascension, so do not hesitate to reach out to us.
We are proud to welcome you to this special place, and thank you for being a part of our movement for equal rights and access for all people to the Temple Mount.