What is the difference between Sanhedrin and Kenesset Hagedola?

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    – Double AA
    Feb 2, 2019 at 23:18

1 Answer 1


Factually, Knesset Hagdola was the Supreme counsel during the Babylonian exile and sometime after, during the beginning of the second Temple. Slowly the number dropped from 120 to 71, which equals the 70 of the Elders mentioned everywhere in the Torah.

Since the mid-second Temple, the era of Zugot, the Supreme Court of 71 was given the Greek name of Sanhedrin. This court is Biblically mandated (Sanhedrin 2a, from Bamidbar 11:31), but it was not called the “Sanhedrin” until the second Temple era.

  • The concept of Sanhedrin, even if it didn’t go by that name, goes back to the times of Moshe. Btw, where’s that Gemara that says they had 86 instead of 120?
    – DonielF
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:35
  • @DonielF Just for fun, it doesn't. That's the Greek invention - democracy, as long as we had prominent king-like leaders we never had a real Sanhedrin. It's a common psychological bias, projecting one's reality onto the past and thinking the previous generations had exactly the same way of life. And the Shtreiml! Look at the Amsterdam Haggada (around 1700s) - all Egyptians wore Shtreimls!
    – Al Berko
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:49
  • ...Did you just compare having the Sanhedrin in the days of Moshe, which was Biblically mandated (Sanhedrin 2a, from Bamidbar 11:16, which spells it out pretty clearly - no exposition needed) to a cute picture in a Haggadah drawing streimels on previous generations?
    – DonielF
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:51
  • Also, if the Gemara doesn’t actually mention 86, surely you wouldn’t mind taking that misinformation out of your post, right?
    – DonielF
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:52
  • @DonielF "The number eighty-five is taken from Neh. 10:2–29; but the origin of the entire number (120) is not known. " from WIKI en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Assembly#Number
    – Al Berko
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:56

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