Why is capital punishment only adjudicated when the Temple is standing? If it is because the Sanhedrin needs to convene at the designated location described in Devarim 17:8, then wouldn't the rest of the judicial powers/abilities of the rabbis also be stripped with the destruction of the Temple? Why only capital punishment?

  • 1
    Who said it's only capital punishment?
    – Double AA
    Nov 30, 2021 at 16:42
  • @DoubleAA Question re-phrase: Why is capital punishment (and other things) abolished, and not all?
    – GGG
    Nov 30, 2021 at 17:17
  • Did you mean "corporal punishment"? Because lashes were also abolished.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 5, 2021 at 7:07
  • I remember someone else asking that, and I answered, that technically, under foreign rulership, Jewish communities were only allowed to decide on civil matters, while the criminal matters were the prerogative of the rulers. Eventually, the Talmud makes it look reasonable as if it relates to the dismission of the Sanhedrin.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 5, 2021 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


For the most part the judicial powers are no longer in practice in any area today. But that is not because Sanhedrin is no longer in the Beis Hamikdush but rather because we don't have Semicha anymore. The members of a Beis Din must have semicha to be empowered to administer most judicial punishments. We don't give lashes anymore either even though that only requires a Beis Din of three because even a Beis Din of three needs at least one member who has the original semicha for it to be a Beis Din with the power to give lashes.

In fact nowadays due to the lack of a Beis Din whose members have proper semicha, even on monetary cases, Beis Din only rules if they meet the following four criteria (1) there is a monetary loss, (2) it is a common scenario , (3) is not primarily about bodily injuries due to bodily damages (4) it is monetary compensation as opposed to a monetary penalty (Bava Kama 84B and shulchan Aruch CM 1:1) Reason being the lack of ordained judges. אל'ים בעינן וליכא is the way the Gemera explains it

The Sanhedrin voluntarily stopped sitting in the Lischas Hagozis forty years before the Beis HaMakdush was destroyed so that cases of capital punishments would no longer be judged (Avodah Zora 8B)

  • I don't quite see how this answers the question
    – Double AA
    Nov 30, 2021 at 18:39
  • @DoubleAA See here
    – Yehuda
    Dec 1, 2021 at 16:38
  • @Yehuda I don't see how that answers the question either?
    – Double AA
    Dec 1, 2021 at 17:04

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