Thursday, March 17, 2005

Who is eligible to be on the Sanhedrin?

Last night I saw an interesting sefer about issues relating to the Sanhedrin. Among other things he discusses what are the qualifications needed to be on the Sanhedrin. The gemara in Sanhedrin 17a has a whole list, among them are the need to know חכמה and teh need to know the 70 languages. The Rambam brings these להלכה that they need to some medicine and other wisdom. The Rambam implies that the 70 languages is just לכתחילה however, there needs to be at least 3 members who do speak them.

I find these 2 criteria fascinating, as these 2 disqualify almost all of the Eastern european gedolim from the last 200 years. Most of them only speak Yiddish, they did not even spoke Polish or Russian let alone 70 languages. In addition they had absolutely no secular knowledge to speak of.

It is an interesting question, when Moshiach comes will there be anyone qualified to sit on the Sanhedrin?

Note: according to many 70 languages does not mean 70 languages, it means that they know the languages that are in use in the world at that time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bluke poses an interesting question about the eligibility of current gedolim to be qualified to sit on the Sanhedrin. It may be a real problem in Israel, but in America many of the Roshei Yeshiva do have what they tell their talmidim to avoid--a secular education.

It is interesting that the last generation in America featured 3 gedolim who attended the same university (of Berlin)at the same time: The Lubavitcher Rebbi (more known for his degree from the Sorbonne), Rav Hutner of Chaim Berlin, and Rav J.B. Soloveichik of Yitzchok Elchonon.