In the times of the Sanhedrin (High Court in Temple times) there was a commandment to heed their words (Deut. 17:11).

According to the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you must do; you shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto you, to the right hand, nor to the left

Does this precept apply regarding the greatest Torah scholars of the generation?

  • dupe? judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/68208/…
    – Lee
    Mar 28, 2016 at 7:57
  • It is not clear for me if the question is about the verse or the diverse drashot in bavli, sifri and yerushalmi. "אפילו יגידו לך על ימין שהוא שמאל, זה הבבלי או יכול אפילו יגידו לך... זה הירושלמי""
    – kouty
    Mar 28, 2016 at 7:59
  • or if there is the lav of lo tassur
    – kouty
    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:02
  • @Lee might be a duplicate indeed although I saw this one more focused on individual Rabbanim, the other more focused on councils of gedolim. But maybe this is not relevant
    – mbloch
    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:05
  • 1
    @kouty I saw your edit changing the verse in the question to 17:10 but I think it is difficult to do so without asking the OP if this is what he meant. He wrote 17:11 so you can suggest he also looks at 17:10, but changing it goes a bit too far in my personal view. Let's see how others see it
    – mbloch
    Mar 28, 2016 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


In a related question, I cited a very interesting article by Dr Eli Turkel in Tradition (The nature and limitations of rabbinic authority). He writes there (pp. 83-84)

[…] community leaders only have religious authority if they are followed by a majority of the community […] In modern times, no single organization is accepted as authoritative by al Torah observant Jews and, as a result, no group has the right to impose its views on individuals who do not voluntarily accept them. […] Hence we conclude that a modern rabbi’s authority is limited to his immediate community or to those people who ask his opinion. No rabbi has the right to impose his views on anyone else. (see also bottom of p. 86)

In conclusion he writes (p. 95)

We have shown that in the absence of a Great Sanhedrin, a court […] or even a gadol hador can impose their halakhic opinions only if they are accepted by the majority of a community. Even in that case, the decisions affect only that specific community and not others.

  • 2
    thanks for the answer. so what community does Eli Turkel, a professor of mathematics represent?
    – ray
    Mar 28, 2016 at 20:03
  • @ray I do not know what community he represents. Modern Orthodox I would guess as he is a working talmid chacham. I am not sure if you are challenging the fact that we are citing a professor of mathematics (and not a rav). In any case the value of what he writes should be judged based on the content and as you might have seen he brings plenty of references from gemara, Rishonim and Achronim. But maybe I didn't fully understand your comment
    – mbloch
    Mar 29, 2016 at 4:17
  • see also here with comments bringing quotes from others incl. the Baal Hatanya !
    – mbloch
    Mar 29, 2016 at 4:19
  • I am not able to judge based on the contents as there may be other words from chazal who say the opposite. would feel alot better to seeing something from the likes of Rav Moshe Feinstein which is true daas torah
    – ray
    Mar 29, 2016 at 5:03
  • 1
    @ray and maybe in the future, if you want specific sources (e.g., haredi only, or R Moshe Feinstein only) you could specify that in your question
    – mbloch
    Mar 29, 2016 at 6:10

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