Yated Ne’eman Finally Weighs In On Sanhedrin
Another landmark development in the Sanhedrin saga. Yated Ne’eman, a key charedi paper, has finally weighed in with their opinion. In what doesn’t seem like very much of a surprise to anyone they are clearly not fans of the Sanhedrin. Nevertheless, it was still a front page (below the fold) story – and a very lengthy piece by Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff. This indicates the charedi world finally felt there was a need to publicly address this issue. Previously they seemed to be taking the approach of "don’t dignify it with a response."
That said, the fascinating, well written piece, explores the Sanhedrin from a halachic and historical perspective. While Rabbi Kaganoff presents the opinion that a Sanhedrin can not be established until moshiach comes as correct, and that the Rambam’s ruling on reinstating semicha is not final, there are opinions on both sides of these issues. Not least of which is Rav Yosef Karo, who "in his commentary, the Beis Yosef (Choshen mishpat 295) he records as definitive halacha the Rambam's opinion that semicha can be renewed." Rav Yosef Karo was also part of the Mahari Beirav's attempt to reinstate the Sanhedrin in his time – an attempt that failed due to objections from other prominent halachic authorities, most notably the Mahralbach, as the article explains in detail.
Those objections are used as the first objection to today’s Sanhedrin.
Another objection was that even given that the Mahari Beirav position is the accepted opinion, the procedure used last October was unacceptable.
Another objection was that the members of today’s Sanhedrin are unqualified.
Another objection was that if it could be done the "gedolei Yisroel" would do it.
What remains to be seen however is whether or not Rav Elyashiv, shlita, or Rav Yosef, shlita will ever weigh in and raise objections... and another question that remains unanswered is why haven't any gedolim anywhere raised any formal objections in writing or otherwise, to the current developments? As we see from the fact that the Yated felt it was necessary to publish this article "don’t dignify it with a response" is not an acceptable position. This is a very serious issue and if there are halachic problems with it, it is incumbent upon the "gedolei Yisroel" to speak up and object just as the Mahralbach did.
I have some further thoughts on this subject that I'll b"n try to share in a later blog. I'll also try b"n to see if I could get the whole Yated article up – but as Yated.com is still under construction it is not a simple matter of linking or cut-and-pasting.
In the meantime here are the last few paragraphs of the article:
Based on what I have seen about this “Sanhedrin,” I pose the following questions to the reader:
Are the members of this “Sanhedrin” qualified to make decisions that affect Klal Yisroel? Are they qualified to make any halachic decisions at all? Is this not an attempt to replace the halachic decisions of gedolei Yisroel and the gedolei haposkim? Are these the people who should be determining Klal Yisroel’s agenda? Doesn’t this organization cheapen the kedusha that the word Sanhedrin implies? Isn’t this organization and insult to anyone with Torah sensitivities?
The gedolei Yisroel could organize a Sanhedrin today if they considered it halachically acceptable. Clearly they are of the opinion that the halachic foundation for such a move does not exist or, alternatively that Klal Yisroel will not benefit from its creation.
We should all daven with more kavanah when reciting the bracha Hoshiva shofteinu k’varishonah, “Return our judges like the ones we had originally,” as a result of T’ka b’shofar gadol licheiruseinu, “Blow the Great Shofar that will free us.”