Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik
by R. Aharon Ziegler
Rav Soloveitchik stated that when we first entered Israel in the time of Yehoshua, Yerushalayim was conquered last. The movement of liberating the land was from the periphery to the center. Hundreds of years passed by between the conquest of Yericho by Yehoshua, and the building of the Beit HaMikdash by Shlomo. Precisely because the other parts of Eretz Yisrael were conquered prior to Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael remained holy for only as long as we were in control of the land. Once the land was conquered by the Babylonians, the kedusha departed.
But, when we re-entered in the days of Ezra, Yerushalayim was settled first. It follows therefore, that whatever parts of the land were liberated afterwards, were imbued with the spirit of Yerushalayim. Just as the kedusha of Yerushalayim is eternal, so too is the holiness of the entire land of Israel. No wonder that the Rambam believes that even after the Roman conquest of Israel, the land retained its holiness (Beit HaBechira 7:7).
The Temple Mount and Yerushalayim are the soul of the Jewish people and the soul of the Jewish land. It is above and beyond any boundary of time, and reminds us of our proud past and of our hope and faith in a promising future.