An explanation of the various halachic underpinnings of the Sanhedrin, including:
What are the roles and responsibilities of the Sanhedrin?
What exactly is semicha, and why is it such a central factor in the creation of the Sanhedrin?
What attempts have been made in the last hundreds of years to reconvene a Sanhedrin and reestablish semicha?
The famous first pasuk of the parasha, commanding to appoint judges, is followed by the goal: “and they shall judge the nation a just judgment.” The idea of a just judgment seems a little obvious – did we think that we would want an unjust judgment?
As is our practice each year on Parashat Shoftim, we will deal with a matter that is connected to our network of batei din, “Eretz Hemdah-Gazit.” Our parasha opens: “Judges and officers you shall appoint in all of your gateways … and they shall judge the nation a judgment of justice” (Devarim 16:18). Consequently, the Torah commands us to have a set court apparatus, with a cadre of dayanim ready to serve, and from them three judges will be chosen for each case.