'Sanhedrin' Counts 2nd year of new Jubilee cycle

Jewish population figures and developments indicate the onset of the Jubilee commandments, fringe group believes.

Hillel Fendel ,

A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Flash 90

The rabbis of the nascent "Sanhedrin" convened on the eve of the New Year (Rosh HaShanah) to fulfill the Biblical commandment to count the years of the Jubilee.

The rabbis, including members of the both the Haredi and Religious Zionist streams, counted the 2nd year of the Jubilee as they stood on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the site of the Holy Temple.

The rabbis of the self-proclaimed Sanhedrin have ruled that last year, 5776, was the year in which the Torah commandments having to do with the Jubilee became applicable once again. This, because of what they call "a series of changes that the Nation of Israel has undergone, including especially the fact that all countries of the world allow their Jews to leave, and the Land of Israel has become the largest Jewish population center in the world." This, the Sanhedrin has ruled, renders the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel the final, Divinely-promised return of the Jews to their home.

Most authorities, however, rule that what is required is a majority of world Jewry in the Land of Israel, or possibly even all of world Jewry (See Maimonides, Laws of Shemittah 12:16). In fact, the nascent Sanhedrin has not garnered support among recognized Rabbinic circles.

Rabbi Dov Shtein, Secretary of the Sanhedrin, recited the blessing "…Who has commanded us to count Shemitta years and Jubilees" – and then counted aloud the 2nd year of the Jubilee. Rabbi Yishai Ba'bad then blew the shofar, and Rabbi Prof. Hillel Weiss expressed the wish that the Jewish People merit to complete their inheritance of the Land, establish the Holy Temple, and properly fulfill all the commandments that are dependent upon the Land.

The Sanhedrin is a ten-year-old initiative to recreate the traditional supreme legal tribunal in Judaism. The original Sanhedrin was a council of 71 sages who constituted the supreme court and legislative body in Judea during the Roman period. It continued to function for more than 400 years after the destruction of the Temple in 68 C.E. Those active in the current initiative to re-establish the Sanhedrin generally refer to it as the "developing Sanhedrin."



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