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In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's decisions and to whom does it apply?

On Wikipedia, the questions are discussed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Sanhedrin#Assembly_of_Notables

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    @Matt I don't think so. – Scimonster Nov 17 '14 at 16:25
  • In my extremely handy book "Critical Documents of Jewish History" by R. Isaacs/K.Olitzky, it has the questions and responses, but only one sentence in their intro saying "Two years later the Sanhedrin was convened to enact these decisions." Obviously, it must've been applicable to the Jews in Napoleon's domain that were now French Citizens...but for how long? Until his death? Until sometime in 1808, when he rescinded some of the Jews' rights anyhow? Until later French law changed the situation? Good question. – Gary Nov 18 '14 at 3:24
  • It would be helpful to answer if your question elaborated on the synod's decisions. – C. Ben Yosef Jan 14 '15 at 15:57
  • @C.BenYosef, I would, but the only sources I have for the synod's decisions are non-Jewish sources like Wikipedia; as a result, I'd rather not rely on them. Despite my reservations, I edited in the link' – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 14 '15 at 16:52
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According to Rabbi Noson Auerbach, Napoleon's Sanhedrin had no halakhic importance whatsoever. The greatest scholar to be part of the Sanhedrin was R' David Zinsheim, whose works on Shas are edited by R' Noson Auerbach (a descendant of R' Avraham Auerbach, R' Zinsheim's in-law), and in the introduction to one of those works, "Michas Ani" (pg 21-24) he writes that the Sanhedrin was created with the intent of establishing laws that would be favorable to Napoleon, and thus the decisions of the "Sanhedrin" were very much dependent on his acceptance, and Napoleon made sure that the 71 "sages" who made up the synod were both scholars such as R' David but also "Enlightened" Jewish thinkers who would be able to outvote him. R' Noson Auerbach also published this in Yeshurun (2007, pg 995-996).

In the excellent four-volume work, "HaTakkanos B'Yisrael", published by Mossad Harav Kook, there is a small blurb in volume 4 (pg 248) about Napoleon's Sanhedrin, and he likewise states that it served only Napoleon's purpose and shouldn't be considered to have any halakhic importance.

  • Could you qualify this with information about R' Nosson Auerbach and R' David Sinzheim (proper spelling according to legal documents)? – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 17 '15 at 23:42
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt I'm not sure what you mean. Could you please specify? (And I'm happy to fix the spelling) – הנער הזה Jan 18 '15 at 6:12
  • Who was this particular R' Auerbach. While I am aware of the families (Yekkisch and Eastern European), I would rather some information about the source. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 18 '15 at 6:21
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt both R. Avraham Auerbach and R. Sinzheim have Wikipedia pages. R. Nosson Auerbach is a descendent of the former and has connections with R. Buchsbaum, that's all I can tell you sorry – הנער הזה Jan 18 '15 at 14:51
  • When you refer to "Yeshurun (2007, pg 995-996)" do you mean this: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46425&pgnum=751 ? – Tamir Evan May 9 at 15:03

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