Sanhedrin

Parshat בהעלותך introduces us to the idea of the סנהדרין. Moshe Rabbeinu is frustrated with the rebelliousness of עם ישראל. He tells Hashem that the burden of leading the people is very difficult.

Hashem’s solution is that Moshe gather seventy of the holiest men of Israel.

The סנהדרין existed from the time of Moshe Rabbeinu until 358 of the Common Era. They were a legislative body that decided crucial matters of Jewish law and enforced the Torah as the law of the land.

They helped keep the Jewish people united. It was beneficial to have one body that were accepted by all. Their authority was never questioned.

Each tribe had its own סנהדרין קטן of twenty-three members. They were allowed to exercise capital punishment if severe Torah law was violated.

After 358, when the סנהדרין disbanded, a set calendar was made for the Jewish people. The tragic part of the story was that once there was no longer a סנהדרין, Judaism lost its single authority. The Jews in the Galut, followed their leaders in their respective communities. Jewish unity was never the same when there was no longer a סנהדרין. We look forward to its re-establishment.