Psak 5765 Tishrei 28
Informal translation from Hebrew of the 28 Tishrei, 5765 (13 Oct 2003) statement:
and the Sanhedrin in Israel
In the name of the L-rd, Eternal G-d, on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday), on the twenty eighth day of the month of HaEitanim (Tishrei), in the year five thousand seven hundred and sixty-five from the Creation of the universe, seventy-one of the wise men of Israel gathered together in Tiberias, the crowner, that sits on the navel of the land of Israel to fulfill the word of the prophet Isaiah: "And I will return your judges as at the first and your advisors as at the beginning, afterward you will be called the city of justice, a faithful town." (Isaiah 1:26)
They were gathered together today in the city of Tiberias to fulfill the commandment of G-d in His Torah, as it is written: "You shall place judges and officers in all of your gates" (Deuteronomy 16:18)
This is in accordance with the words of Maimonides in Book of The Commandments (Positive commandment 176) who states: "We are commanded to appoint judges and officers that will enforce the observance of the commandments of the Torah and bring back those who deviate from the true path [even] against their will and they will command to do good and will warn against wickedness? and there will be appointed in Jerusalem the Great Court of seventy judges and there will be appointed one over these seventy and he will be the head of the council and he is the one that the wise men will call President (Nassi)."
It is an ancient, received teaching (Kabbalah), and a tradition (Messoret) handed down by our wise men of blessed memory that in the future, the Sanhedrin will be renewed in Tiberias. Thus it is brought down in Tractate Rosh Hashanah 31b. There the Babylonian Talmud counts ten exiles through which the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was ultimately exiled to Tiberias. And our rabbis of blessed memory add: "And from there they will be redeemed in the future." Maimonides also writes in The Laws of the Sanhedrin 14, 12: "In the beginning when the temple was built, The Great Court resided in the Chamber of the Hewn Stone? ***and when the line was ruined they were exiled from place to place, and they were exiled to ten places and their end was in Tiberias? And it is a received tradition that in the future they will first return to Tiberias and from there they will be removed to the Holy Temple."
Through the kindness of G-d on His nation and His inheritance, the People of Israel has gathered together in its masses in the land of Israel after two thousand years of exile. And we see the honor of the Torah being renewed before our very eyes, as it was in the past, with the sound of the Torah that is heard in the yeshivot and in the many classes taking place in the synagogues and houses of study. After the destruction of the communities of Israel in the countries of the world A generation of people dedicated to the Torah has come to life in the land of Israel causing Torah scholars and Torah giants to flourish and the Torah has returned to its original place of lodging as in the days of the First and Second Temples.
Great is the joy over the flowering of the Torah in the land of Israel, yet great is the rupture and great is the pain at the moral breakdown and the stumbling blocks in the lives of the public. A noted segment of the nation has not yet returned to the forge of its quarry and many of the commandments from the 613 Commandments have been abandoned. The nation of Israel, that was a light unto the nations with its integrity and its morality, is given over to the influence of the nations of the world. The life of abandon that is overtaking the nations of the earth places the uniqueness of the People of Israel as the People of the Torah in grave danger. The laws that are legislated by the elected officials of the nation in its land and by judges in Israel are in a process of blurring the Jewish character of the Jewish state. The assimilation and the acts of licentiousness by portions of the public endanger, G-d forbid, the very existence of the People of Israel in its land.
In the wake of all this is the call for a return of the crown [of Torah] to its former glory, by the establishment of the Great Court - The Great Sanhedrin the highest authority in the nation of Israel. This, for the fulfillment of a complete life of Torah and morality as it is written: "And you shall be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:6) In light of what has been said above, the Sanhedrin that is being renewed today Is not only a great and precious Torah Commandment, but it is the dire necessity of the times.
With this announcement of the establishment of the Sanhedrin being renewed today, the questions that affect the lives of the people in their land will be dealt with in the presence of seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin will deal with current, pressing issues: Matters of the Sabbath and holidays, Kashrut and the purity of the family in Israel, Lawful marriage and divorce, and monetary matters between man and his fellow.
Likewise, the Sanhedrin will deal with Commandments that are particular to the Land of Israel. And in the renewal of all Commandments that ceased to be fulfilled throughout the duration of the exile. The Sanhedrin will determine its stance on questions regarding the nation of Israel as a whole, regarding the laws of war and conquest in the Land of Israel, regarding the question of relations with non-Jews in the Land, and likewise the question of the renewal of the Kingdom and the establishment of a Holy Temple in Israel. The enquiries will be put in writing and be deliberated in the presence of the seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin. There, the issues will be brought forth for legal discussion and the decisions will be made according to a vote, as it is written "?and you shall incline according to the majority." (Exodus 23:2)
The Great Court will call upon the public to return to keeping the Commandments and to be particular about keeping them as they are written. Likewise, the Court will establish regulations and legal barriers for the prevention of licentiousness in the behavior of the public and the individual. The Great Court will work for the integration of all the great Torah Sages into the framework of the Sanhedrin. Accordingly, in addition to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, Sanhedrins will be established in every city and community in Israel. With this formula, the Sanhedrin will work to raise the glory of the Torah of Israel in the Land of Israel and the diaspora.
The central task that is incumbent upon the sages of the Sanhedrin is to draw the masses close to the Torah of Israel and its Commandments, to love of Torah and fear of Heaven, beginning with young school children and ending with men and women in every dwelling place and corner of the Land of Israel. This is to be done in pleasant ways, and with a kind countenance. Nonetheless, the Sanhedrin will stand in the breach against those who scheme against the Torah of Israel and will bring to trial those who break down the borders [of proper conduct] in Israel. Likewise, it will adopt the means of punishment that are given over to the Cnourt according to the Torah for the preservation of the Torah and its Commandments and for its laws in every city and small town in Israel.
The Sanhedrin is the eyes of the congregation and the leadership of the nation and it is to eventually assume its place as the legal and political leadership of the state of the Jews. The founding of the Assembly of Israel (Knesset Yisrael [the Sanhedrin]) in our generation is the continuation of the leadership of Moses and his Court in the wilderness and it is a link in the chain of leadership of the nation as in the days of David and Solomon and their Courts and as in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah and the other Presidents of the Sanhedrin throughout the generations.
The establishment of the Sanhedrin in our generation is the beginning of a process of repentance and repair of the Jewish nation in its land and with its founding, we hereby lay, with G-d's help, a solid foundation for the building of the Third Temple as an everlasting structure. In this, G-d's promise in His Torah will be fulfilled (Deuteronomy 16:2): "Justice, justice you shall pursue - in order that you may live and inherit the Land."
And in this the vision of the Prophet Isaiah will be realized (Isaiah 2:2): "And it will be in the end of days, the mount of the House of the L-rd will be established as the head of the mountains and raised up above hills and all the peoples will stream unto it and many nations will go and say 'Let us go and ascend to the mountain of G-d, to the house of the G-d of Jacob And He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall come forth Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem." Out of faith in the Creator of the universe who returns His Presence to Zion We hereby affirm our signatures in silent prayer.
(Out of concern for the security and privacy of the original 71 rabbis through whom the Sanhedrin was reinstated on 28 Tishrei 5765, their names will not be disclosed at present).