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The source of listening to the high court typically comes from Devarim 17:8-10:

If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee.

So after the Sanhedrin left Jerusalem and moved to Yavne (i.e not in the place which Hashem had chosen), what is the source that this commandment was still in effect?

Note: I saw in this pdf (top of page 5) that the Sifri (Devarim - Shoftim 153) brings part of the above posukim and says that the mitzvah includes when they are in Yavne (in so many words). The author then relays that there are other places where Chazal explain that the mizvah is in effect outside of Jerusalem, including in the Yerushalmi. This question ideally is mostly looking for those sources.

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Effectively, this was the question of R' Yehoshua in Rosh Hashanah 2:9. There, he was forced to follow the ruling of Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh at such a time as there was no Jerusalem-based authority. He was an older sage, and a student of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai - surely his view was equally valid? According to R' Dosa ben Harkinas, the source for his obligation is Exodus 24:1. The reason that passuk does not mention the seventy elders by name is because every group of seventy sages (ie: every Sanhedrin) - indeed, even every bet din of three - is equal in stature to Moses' bet din.

  • Interesting. Do you happen to have any mefarshim that speak this out, or are you mainly just drawing from the implications of the context itself? Thanks – Fei23 May 22 '16 at 22:24
  • I don't, sorry - I haven't checked. But I think it could be a fruitful source, given that it seems to suit the circumstances of your question: the Sanhedrin moved from Jerusalem, and a question concerning its authority as regards one of the last powers left to it. – Shimon bM May 22 '16 at 23:12
  • if the pdf i linked to in the OP didn't specifically have mareh mkomos to seemingly mefaresh sources in the Yerushalmi, I'd accept, but I'm waiting for that/those – Fei23 May 23 '16 at 0:44
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Rav Hirsch says that the source is the phrase in Devorim 17:9

וְאֶל הַשֹּׁפֵט אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם
and to the judge who will be in those days

Rav Hirsch explains the phrase as showing

the principle that at all times one has to obey and follow the contemporary ecclesiastical authorities who are qualified by their conscientiousness and their knowledge to be teachers of the Law, even if they do not attain the greatness of mind and spirit of the authorities of the past.

It is designed to include wherever Hashem puts his name to include his days when the gedolim were not in Eretz Yisrael. In our days, while we do not have the bais Hamikdash we still have gedolim all over the worl including Eretz Yisrael.

  • perhaps he meant it as an asmachta? The posuk is clearly referencing Jerusalem ('in those days'). – Fei23 May 22 '16 at 19:33
  • @Fei23 But it is designed to include wherever Hashem puts his name to include his days when the gedolim were not in Eretz Yisrael. In our days, while we do not have the bais Hamikdash we still have gedolim all over the worl including Eretz Yisrael. – sabbahillel May 22 '16 at 20:43

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