13

This law is codified by Rambam in Hilchot Sanhedrin 2:6: כשם שבית דין מנוקין בצדק כך צריכין להיות מנוקין מכל מומי הגוף וצריך להשתדל ולבדוק ולחפש שיהיו כולן בעלי שיבה בעלי קומה בעלי מראה נבוני לחש ושידעו ברוב הלשונות כדי שלא תהא סנהדרין שומעת מפי התורגמן Just as the judges of a court must be on the highest level of righteousness; so, too, must they be ...


13

My understanding of the Mishnah is as follows: The court must contain at least 20 members because the court must be able to simultaneously contain an "assembly" of convicters and an "assembly" of pardoners. If it didn't need to have the potential for both simultaneously then we shouldn't need 20 to begin with – e.g. a court of 15 can ...


12

There are two problems, both are discussed (among others) in Sanhedrin 11a. The first is that you need a Sanhedrin with a Nasi to intercalate a year. The second is that there are certain reasons for intercalating a year (e.g. damaged roads and bridges to Jerusalem, ripening of the grain and fruits). Actually, one of the reasons for introducing a calculated ...


11

Rambam writes in Hilchot Sanhedrin 4:11 that he believes that semichah can be re-instituted if all the sages in Eretz Yisrael agree to bestow it on an individual. This was in fact attempted in the sixteenth century by Mahari Berab, who was appointed as a musmach by twenty-five Rabbis in Tzfat, and who then proceeded to give semichah to his own students, ...


10

The rabbis currently do not have the authority to declare a leap year because there is no Sanhedrin. The current calendar was set up by Hillel II and is completely fixed by calculation. Indeed, even though the current calendar does have an error of one day in 216 years, we cannot fix that until the Mashiach comes and a new Sanhedrin appointed. As we can ...


8

The Aruch Hashulchan (308:3-5) quotes Tosafos in Bava Kama who says that it was initially only a temporary enactment: בימי נחמיה בן חכליה שהיו פרוצים בחילול שבתות מהזמן שהיו בבבל, עמד הוא ועזרא וחגי זכריה ומלאכי ואנשי כנסת הגדולה וגזרו על דורם עוד חומרות, ולא התירו רק ג' כלים. ולא היתה גזירות קבועות לדורות, וכן כתבו מפורש רבותינו בעלי התוספות בבבא קמא (צ"ד: ...


7

If it is not possible to restart semicha like the Rambam says, as brought in the previous answer, we will need a musmach from the past. The Radvaz, in his commentary on the Rambam while stating his opposition to the semicha of the Marahi Beirav, says that Eliyahu Hanavi, who will come before Moshiach, can give semicha.


6

There are at least several specific functioning Sanhedrins mentioned in the Talmud: King David's Sanhedrin They at once took counsel with Ahithofel and consulted the Sanhedrin and questioned the Urim and Tummim. (Berachot 3b, Soncino translation) King Solomon's Sanhedrin He used to go round begging, saying wherever he went, I Koheleth was king over ...


6

1) Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai was almost certainly Nasi for some time after the destruction of the Second Temple. Per the Iggeret of Rav Shrira Gaon (written 987CE): "ולא מצאנו אדם שנקרא "רבן" חוץ מן הנשיאים רבן גמליאל, רבן שמעון, רבן יוחנן בן זכאי, רבנו הקדוש." My Translation: and we haven't found anyone who gets the honorific "rabban" outside of ...


6

The general rule, according to Maimonides (Laws of Rebels 2:2-3), is that the Sanhedrin would have to be greater in wisdom and number in order to reverse a previous decree: בֵּית דִּין שֶׁגָּזְרוּ גְּזֵרָה אוֹ תִּקְּנוּ תַּקָּנָה וְהִנְהִיגוּ מִנְהָג וּפָשַׁט הַדָּבָר בְּכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְעָמַד אַחֲרֵיהֶם בֵּית דִּין אַחֵר וּבִקֵּשׁ לְבַטֵּל דְּבָרִים ...


5

To answer the second question (Nic answered the first question in depth so see his great answer) Raban Yochanan Ben Zakai was the Nasi - head of the Sanhedrin according to Tosfos Avoda Zara 13a: רבן יוחנן בן זכאי שהיה נשיא קודם ר"ג משכה נשיאותו עד לאחר חורבן כדתנן (ר"ה דף כט:) משחרב בית המקדש התקין רבן יוחנן בן זכאי Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakai was the ...


5

From what I've read, there are a lot of disagreements among both rabbis and academics about what the exact role of the Knesset Hagedolah was, particularly in light of the Sanhedrin/Beit Din Hagadol (Great Court) (for example, both the Torah says that there need to be 71 sages (Moshe and seventy elders) and we know that that's how the Sanhedrin was structured,...


5

The Mishna in Sanhedrin 5/4 writes (copied from Sefaria) אָמַר אֶחָד מִן הַתַּלְמִידִים יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו זְכוּת, מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ וּמוֹשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ בֵינֵיהֶן, וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹרֵד מִשָּׁם כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ. אִם יֵשׁ מַמָּשׁ בִּדְבָרָיו, שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. If one of the disciples (sitting in front of Sanhedrin) said, “I have something to argue in ...


4

Depends who you ask. The Gemara, Sanhedrin 12a, says: אין מעברין את השנה לא משנה לחברתה ולא שלש שנים זו אחר זו אמר רבי שמעון מעשה ברבי עקיבא שהיה חבוש בבית האסורים ועיבר שלש שנים זו אחר זו אמרו לו משם ראיה ב"ד ישבו וקבעו אחת אחת בזמנה The court may not intercalate the year from one year to another, and it does not intercalate three successive years, ...


3

Sefer HaChinuch §496 cites the Ramban’s understanding and explicitly connects it with the story at hand: ועל דרך ענין זה שעוררתיך, בני, עליו אפרש לך אגדה אחת שהיא בבבא מציעא בסוף פרק הזהב (בבא מציעא נט, ב) גבי ההוא מעשה דרבי אליעזר הגדול בתנורו של עכנאי, המתמהת כל שומעה. אמרו שם אשכחה רבי נתן לאליהו וכו' אמר לה מאי עביד קדשא בריך הוא בההיא שעתא? אמר לה ...


3

The 2nd Mishna in the 2nd Perek of Chagiga gives a list of the last 5 sets of Av Bet Din and Nasi of the Sanhedrin before the second Churban - for a total of 11 Tanaim; members of the Sanhedrin whose names we know. יוֹסֵי בֶּן יוֹעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר שֶׁלֹּא לִסְמוֹךְ, יוֹסֵי בֶּן יוֹחָנָן אוֹמֵר לִסְמוֹךְ. יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן פְּרַחְיָה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלֹּא לִסְמוֹךְ, ...


3

What I have been told, by people who have seen this many times, is that every Rosh Chodesh, Rav Ariel of Machon Hamikdash, who is on the "Sanhedrin", goes up to Har Habayis with a couple of others and says some sort of Kiddush Hachosesh. They do this on Rosh Chodesh according to the fixed calendar, which is often before the new moon can be seen. (This is ...


3

Another reference in the Rambam (Hilchos Avoda Zara 3:2) עבודות הרבה קבעו עובדי כוכבים לכל צלם וצלם, ולכל צורה וצורה, ועבודת זה אינה כעבודת זה, כגון פעור שעבודתו שפוער אדם עצמו לו, ומרקוליס שעבודתו שיזרוק לו אבנים או יסקל מלפניו אבנים, והרבה עבודות כגון אלו תקנו לשאר צלמים. לפיכך הפוער עצמו למרקוליס, או שזרק אבן לפעור, פטור, עד שיעבוד אותו דרך ...


3

As Mordechai pointed out, the Rambam Sanhedrin (2:1) writes אֵין מַעֲמִידִין בְּסַנְהֶדְרִין בֵּין בִּגְדוֹלָה בֵּין בִּקְטַנָּה אֶלָּא אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבוֹנִים. מֻפְלָגִין בְּחָכְמַת הַתּוֹרָה בַּעֲלֵי דֵּעָה מְרֻבָּה. יוֹדְעִים קְצָת מִשְּׁאָר חָכְמוֹת כְּגוֹן רְפוּאוֹת וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן וּתְקוּפוֹת וּמַזָּלוֹת וְאִצְטַגְנִינוּת וְדַרְכֵי ...


2

The Men of the Great Assembly included Neviem (prophets) They were the last group that included prophets Generally speaking, each generation is smaller than the previous generation. It is taken for granted that no greater group could have arisen. When the Talmud talks about a greater Beis Din it means within the same time period. Rashi on the Gemorah says ...


2

Eduyos 5:6 tells us about four issues on which Akavya ben Mahalalel disagreed with the other Sages. In Sanhedrin 88a there's an argument between Rav Kahana and Rabbi Elazar as to why the rules of zakein mamrei weren't applied to him (Rav Kahana: because he was quoting statements he had heard from his teachers. Rabbi Elazar: because he didn't give practical ...


2

סנהדרין עא א אמר ר' יונתן אני ראיתיו וישבתי על קברו...אמר רבי יונתן אני ראיתיה וישבתי על תילה Sanhedrin 71a R' Yonatan said, I saw him (Ben Sorer U-Moree) and sat on his grave...I saw it and sat on it's ruins (Iyr Hnidachat) Obviously, if the beis din was invalid because it didn't consist 23 sages (or 71 sages for Iyr Hnidachat!!!), R' Yonatan ...


2

Avraham Büchler in his book "Hasanhedrin" ("The Sanhedrin" or "Das Grosse Synedrion in Jerusalem und das Beth-Din in der Quaderkammer des Jerusalemischen Tempels" in the original German) brings some sources about the appointment of new dayanim: "ומשם שולחין ובודקין כל מי שהוא חכם ועניו ושפל וירא חטא ופרקו טוב ורוח הבריות ...


2

Doros Harishonim (vol. 1 p. 200) traces it to the appointment of the Hellenist Yosef ben Toviah as chief tax collector of Eretz Yisrael (Josephus, Antiquities 12:4:2ff), and the resulting growth of the Hellenists as a force. Up to that point the Kohen Gadol had been responsible for internal and external governmental affairs, including collecting taxes on ...


1

According to Yalkhut Meam Loez on Pirkei Avot 1:1, Rabban Gamliel did not want to teach students whose motives for learning Torah were not entirely Le Shem Shamayim. In his own words, he stated (David N. Barocas, Ladino _English translator for this volume of Meam Loez quoting Rabbi Yitzchak Magriso), "Any student whose mouth and heart are not equally ...


1

According to the explanation of Doros Harishonim quoted in this answer, it was the position of Nasi that was invented. And (as @interested pointed out in a comment) it was well before the Hasmoneans (it took place while the Ptolemies ruled over Eretz Yisrael, and they were ousted about forty years before the Hasmonean revolt). The Nasi, then, was the ...


1

Following @Danny's answer, More sages that held the titles, therefore been in the great sanhedrin: Nasi: It could be that Shimon Ben Shetach was a Nasi, and not Av Beis Din. Shimon Ben Hilel Raban Gamliel hazaken (the elder) Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel hazaken (the elder) Raban Yochanan Ben Zakai Raban Gamliel of Yavne*, part time in rotation with Rabbi Elazar ...


1

The commentators point out that younger representatives had to be sent in order to be able to travel and examine the land. It was like a congressional delegation sending the appropriate staffers to report back what they found. Rav Hirsch explains: These were not the tribal princes, the נשיאי מטות אבותם, who are called ראשי אלפי ישראל, ראש לבית אבותיו ...


1

The premise behind this question seems to be that whatever Sanhedrin decides ipso facto becomes the Halacha and the reality because Lo B'Shmoyim Hi. However, Lo B'Shmoyim Hi isn't really such a broad concept. If something is unclear and there are legitimate ways to rule either way then yes Lo B'Shmoyim Hi, we will go with whatever the understanding of ...


1

Imagine a scenario where a king orders his subjects to sort unlabeled boxes of two types of objects into each of two rooms. The subjects are forbidden to open the boxes but instructed instead to seek the guidance of the king's appointed elders as to which boxes contain which objects. The elders use various sophisticated, best efforts means to guess at the ...


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