In Mamrim 3:1 - Who is the Rebellious Elder that Rambam is referring to, and what passage in the Torah mentions this person as: "The Rebellious Elder"?

Mamrim 3:1 - A person who does not acknowledge validity of the Oral Law is not the rebellious elder [who is this??] mentioned in the Torah. Instead, he is one of the heretics and he should be put to death by any person.


1 Answer 1


dvarim 17

‏ (פ) {ח} כִּ֣י יִפָּלֵא֩ מִמְּךָ֙ דָבָ֜ר לַמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט בֵּין-דָּ֨ם | לְדָ֜ם בֵּין-דִּ֣ין לְדִ֗ין וּבֵ֥ין נֶ֨גַע֙ לָנֶ֔גַע דִּבְרֵ֥י רִיבֹ֖ת בִּשְׁעָרֶ֑יךָ וְקַמְתָּ֣ וְעָלִ֔יתָ אֶ֨ל-הַמָּק֔וֹם אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְחַ֛ר יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ בּֽוֹ: {ט} וּבָאתָ֗ אֶל-הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֙ הַֽלְוִיִּ֔ם וְאֶ֨ל-הַשֹּׁפֵ֔ט אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִֽהְיֶ֖ה בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֑ם וְדָֽרַשְׁתָּ֙ וְהִגִּ֣ידוּ לְךָ֔ אֵ֖ת דְּבַ֥ר הַמִּשְׁפָּֽט: {י} וְעָשִׂ֗יתָ עַל-פִּ֤י הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יַגִּ֣ידוּ לְךָ֔ מִן-הַמָּק֣וֹם הַה֔וּא אֲשֶׁ֖ר יִבְחַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֑ה וְשָֽׁמַרְתָּ֣ לַֽעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יוֹרֽוּךָ: {יא} עַל-פִּ֨י הַתּוֹרָ֜ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר יוֹר֗וּךָ וְעַל-הַמִּשְׁפָּ֛ט אֲשֶׁר-יֹֽאמְר֥וּ לְךָ֖ תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֑ה לֹ֣א תָס֗וּר מִן-הַדָּבָ֛ר אֲשֶׁר-יַגִּ֥ידוּ לְךָ֖ יָמִ֥ין וּשְׂמֹֽאל: {יב} וְהָאִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יַֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה בְזָד֗וֹן לְבִלְתִּ֨י שְׁמֹ֤עַֽ אֶל-הַכֹּהֵן֙ הָֽעֹמֵ֞ד לְשָׁ֤רֶת שָׁם֙ אֶת-יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ א֖וֹ אֶל-הַשֹּׁפֵ֑ט וּמֵת֙ הָאִ֣ישׁ הַה֔וּא וּבִֽעַרְתָּ֥ הָרָ֖ע מִיִּשְׂרָאֵֽל: {יג} וְכָל-הָעָ֖ם יִשְׁמְע֣וּ וְיִרָ֑אוּ וְלֹ֥א יְזִיד֖וּן עֽוֹד: ‏

The source is in Mishna and midrashim. Perek Elu hen Hanechenakim (11st in Mishna and 10st in Gemara):

Mishna 1:

אֵלּוּ הֵן הַנֶּחֱנָקִין, הַמַּכֶּה אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, וְגוֹנֵב נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, וְזָקֵן מַמְרֵא ‏ (an elder rebelling against the ruling of beth din) ‏ עַל פִּי בֵית דִּין ‏

Mishna 2:

זָקֵן מַמְרֵא עַל פִּי בֵית דִּין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם יז) כִּי יִפָּלֵא מִמְּךָ דָבָר לַמִּשְׁפָּט וְגוֹ'. שְׁלֹשָׁה בָתֵּי דִינִין הָיוּ שָׁם, אֶחָד יוֹשֵׁב עַל פֶּתַח הַר הַבַּיִת, וְאֶחָד יוֹשֵׁב עַל פֶּתַח הָעֲזָרָה, וְאֶחָד יוֹשֵׁב בְּלִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית. בָּאִים לָזֶה שֶׁעַל פֶּתַח הַר הַבַּיִת, וְאוֹמֵר, כָּךְ דָּרַשְׁתִּי וְכָךְ דָּרְשׁוּ חֲבֵרָי, כָּךְ לִמַּדְתִּי וְכָךְ לִמְּדוּ חֲבֵרָי. אִם שָׁמְעוּ, אוֹמְרִים לָהֶם. וְאִם לָאו, בָּאִין לָהֶם לְאוֹתָן שֶׁעַל פֶּתַח הָעֲזָרָה, וְאוֹמֵר, כָּךְ דָּרַשְׁתִּי וְכָךְ דָּרְשׁוּ חֲבֵרָי, כָּךְ לִמַּדְתִּי וְכָךְ לִמְּדוּ חֲבֵרָי. אִם שָׁמְעוּ, אוֹמְרִים לָהֶם. וְאִם לָאו, אֵלּוּ וָאֵלּוּ בָּאִים לְבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבְּלִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית, שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ יוֹצֵאת תּוֹרָה לְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה'. חָזַר לְעִירוֹ וְשָׁנָה וְלִמֵּד כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה לָמֵד, פָּטוּר. וְאִם הוֹרָה לַעֲשׂוֹת, חַיָּב , שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) וְהָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה בְזָדוֹן, אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיּוֹרֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת. תַּלְמִיד שֶׁהוֹרָה לַעֲשׂוֹת, פָּטוּר, נִמְצָא חֻמְרוֹ קֻלּוֹ:

'an elder rebelling against the ruling of beth din' [is strangled], for it is written if there arise a matter too hard for thee for judgement [etc.]. three courts of law were there, one situate at the entrance to the temple mount, another at the door of the [temple] court, and the third in the hall of hewn stones. they [first] went to the beth din which is at the entrance to the temple mount, and he [the rebellious elder] stated, thus have I expounded and thus have my colleagues expounded; thus have I taught, and thus have my colleagues taught. if [this first beth din] had heard [a ruling on the matter], they state it. if not, they go to the [second beth din] which is at the entrance of the temple court, and he declares, thus have I expounded and thus have my colleagues expounded; thus have I taught and thus have my colleagues taught. if [this second beth din] had heard [a ruling on the matter]. they state it; if not, they all proceed to the great beth din of the hall of hewn stones whence instruction issued to all israel, for it is written, [which they] of that place which the lord shall choose [shall shew thee]. if he returned to his town and taught again as heretofore, he is not liable. but if he gave a practical decision, he is guilty, for it is written, and the > man that will do presumptuously, [shewing] that he is liable only for a practical ruling. but if a disciple gave a practical decision [opposed to the beth din], he is exempt: thus the very stringency of his [ordination] is [a source of] leniency for him.

You see that our verses are cited. English translation, from dTorah for mishna (mishna from Soncino's Talmud translation)

The Gemara shows corresponding between false prophet and rebellious elder.

Elder is a name for who know a lot and has a great experience in Tora. "Ze Kana Chochma" said Chazal. The seriousness of the problem comes from the fact that this man is a member of a Bet din. Zadon is not arrogance. The drashot in Gemara are to limit the topic of the discussion to a thing which is not a question of Massoret from the Zaken point of view, nor an error or based on the theoretical study point of view.

  • A.) Thanks for the help! B.) Does Maimonides ever state that this is the passage he is citing? Is he indirectly citing a known passage in the Mishneh / Talmud which makes it obvious? Or, is this an inference? C.) The reason I ask is - this context begins addressing serving other gods, or worshiping any of the host of heaven, (v.3). But then - another distinct class of accusations is addressed, "one that is too difficult, (v.8)"; D.) So, what is the basis to connect: "The man whose work is Arrogant(?), (וְהָאִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֣ה בְזָדֹ֗ון)" with "Elder" and "Rebellious"? Aug 29, 2016 at 5:39
  • A.) Thank you - indeed, the cited verses in the Mishneh make the connection, and establish: "who Rambam thought the rebellious elder was." B.) Though, I am not sure how "Elder" can be inferred from the Hebrew text in the Torah. But regardless, it is clear that the passage came to be understood that way. Thank you again! Aug 29, 2016 at 7:25

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