web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Columns »

The Sanhedrin Reestablished (Part I)



I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a meeting of the “Lishka” of the renewed Sanhedrin in Israel. I was introduced to the existence of this weekly meeting by my son’s father-in-law, Rabbi Dr. Elihu Schatz, who is a member of the Sanhedrin, and I received permission to attend from the main initiator of the process, who has worked tirelessly on this project, the secretary of the Sanhedrin executive – Rabbi Dov Stein. I was very curious to understand how, why and who had the authority to set up a Sanhedrin in our day.

 

I had always understood that the Sanhedrin would be made up of the greatest Torah scholars of the generation and I was surprised that I was not familiar with most of the names mentioned. I learned that like every “innovation” in Jewish life, there were many aspects and complications in creating the reconstituted Sanhedrin in our time. Ours is a time when every suggestion of “change” draws aggressive militant criticism to such a degree that many rabbis, even the most pious, recognized and revered rabbis of our generation, seem afraid to solve, within the framework of Torah, some very serious problems facing Judaism today.

The Torah foundation upon which the Sanhedrin of today is based is the command that every Jewish (and non-Jewish) community must set up a legal system. To set up a Sanhedrin requires a very special rabbinical ordination of its members. This ordination, ideally, should have been the ordination passed down from Moshe Rabbenu. Unfortunately, this direct line of ordination was lost some 1,500 years ago, when Roman pogroms and persecutions led to the demise of the last Sanhedrin.


In Hilchot Sanhedrin Rambam (Maimonides) set out the principles of how to reestablish this special ordination. The rabbis of Israel must agree to grant ordination to one person. Once this person is ordained, he can ordain others. The recent three Orthodox attempts to reestablish this special ordination (1830, 1901, 1949) were met with very stiff rabbinical opposition; the ordination chains were quickly broken and no Sanhedrin was formed. What the fate of the current Sanhedrin, still in its infancy, will be, is open to question.


The attempt in 1538, for example, began in Safed, when 25 rabbis met and ordained Rabbi Yaakov Beirav. Rabbi Beirav ordained the chief rabbi of Jerusalem (The Maharalback), Rabbi Yosef Caro (author of the Shulchan Aruch), Rabbi Moshe Trani and Rabbi Yosef Sagis. Rabbi Caro later ordained Rabbi Moshe Alschech, and Rabbi Alschech ordained Rabbi Chaim Vital. Strife with the rabbi of Jerusalem and opposition soon hampered the project. It lasted four generations, but the persecutions of the Turkish Empire doomed the project. Those who received ordination were taken hostage and the community was forced to pay ransom. Eventually, the rabbis were forced to flee Israel, and the chain was broken.


The need for a Sanhedrin to unify halacha and the Jewish people is not questioned. What is questioned is who has the fortitude to start the process and how vocal the Orthodox rabbinical opposition will be.


To avoid claims that not all the rabbis of Israel were aware of the latest attempt to set up the Sanhedrin, 50,000 copies of a detailed flyer were distributed to 4,500 communities in Israel. Seven hundred leading rabbis were contacted personally or by mail. Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, who just recently passed away, was chosen to be ordained after he received approval from Israel’s leading rabbis and when no objections were received from the hundreds of rabbis consulted via the mails. He was a senior dayan in the Eida Haredit court, the president of Hatzala Israel, and the rosh kolel of the Galicia Kolel in Jerusalem,


Leading rabbis, including Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and many others gave their blessing but did not join the Sanhedrin. The son of Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu is one of the rabbis ordained. Rabbi Avraham Shapiro abstained on the issue but also refused to discourage it. Rabbi Tzvi Eidan, the author of Asot Mishpat (which describes how it is possible to reestablish the Sanhedrin) was appointed as the interim president until an election is held. The elected nasi, or president, of the Sanhedrin is Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, a noted Talmudic scholar and a well-known Jewish philosopher.


(To be continued)


Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com


About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Sanhedrin Reestablished (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations
Latest Indepth Stories

As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.

What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

Front-Page-052915

The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.

The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.

Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.

Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

More Articles from Dov Gilor
Gilor-Dov

There are also many fringe parties such as Ale Yarok (Green Leaf – supports legalizing marijuana), Bezchutan – Haredi women, We Are All Friends Party, Green’s Party, Pirate Party, Ohr Party, Protecting Our Children Party, Finance Party, Hatikva LeShinui, Democratura, Perach, etc., etc., etc.

Gilor-Dov

We created an organization of former Bnei Akiva of North America members who have fulfilled the dream of living in Eretz Yisrael.

An example of our own self-imposed weakness is the Israeli attitude towards the Holy Temple Mount.

Spies who caused American deaths and worked for enemy states received lighter sentences than Pollard.

The cleansing of Europe of its non-Muslim population will be accomplished in another two or three generations.

The Drama Mamas are not an ordinary theater troupe. “When we audition actresses,” says Elisheva, who also serves as the show’s director, “we like to explain to them that the main qualification is that you can honestly say, I have never been on a stage before, but I have always wanted to be an actress!”

It really is time for painful sacrifices for peace. No one wants his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to suffer the pangs of war and strife. It is time to end the strife and make peace in the Middle East.

Israel is a country that understands security concerns. Many civil rights have been sacrificed in the name of security and Israelis are used to being checked every time they enter a shopping center, a large store or any public building. Americans recently learned that they, too, are subject to many checks on their most private activities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-sanhedrin-reestablished-part-i/2006/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: