זקן ממרא

According to many opinions, the last time the Sanhedrin convened, was in the year 358 of the Common Era. At that time, there was a set calendar as no longer did witnesses come to the Sanhedrin to verify their seeing the new moon. The disbanding of the Sanhedrin was a tragedy as there no longer was one accepted legal authority in Israel. As the Jews went deeper into exile, there was more divisiveness among our people. This week's Parsha, speaks of the זקן ממרא, who was a judge himself but did not accept the authority of the Sanhedrin. He may have been a judge in a lower court and needed to consult the Sanhedrin on a legal issue. If he had the audacity to ask for a decision and he did not act according to that decision, he was to be put to death. His undermining of the accepted legislators in Israel was considered severe enough to warrant a death penalty. There needed to be unity and respect for the authority of the Sanhedrin. Otherwise, there is a breakdown when each person acts according to what is right in his own eyes.