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Exclusive: Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Helped Renew Ordination For Sanhedrin
11:30 Jan 10, '06 / 10 Tevet 5766

(IsraelNN.com) In a dramatic speech at a special session of the developing Sanhedrin to appoint a B'nai Noah Council, Rabbi Dov Levanoni publicly revealed the steps leading up to reinstitution of Semikha – Biblical ordination, renewed through a consensus among the rabbis of a generation living in the Land of Israel.

Levanoni explained that Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, a senior rabbi on Jerusalem's Eda Hareidis, became the first samukh [ordained one] after none of the hundreds of rabbis consulted via written letters expressed objections and after receiving approval by the leading rabbis followed by most of Israel's religious Jews. These rabbis, Levanoni said, included Hareidi-Religious Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv and former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

"Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg gave his blessing as well, along with many others," Rabbi Levanoni said, "and we pray that all of Israel will join in this effort in our days."

In the past, Sanhedrin secretary Rabbi Dov Stein, has written that Former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu endorsed the project indirectly - his son was ordained by Sanhedrin - and that former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav Kook Rabbi Avraham Shapira chose to abstain on the issue, but refused to discourage it.

Rabbi Levanoni's statement marked the first time Rabbis Yosef and Elyashiv have been publicly tied to the Sanhedrin project and is expected to further increase the influence of the nascent body, which was recently bolstered by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz's agreement to act as its Nassi [president].

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Published: 09:35 January 10, 2006
Last Update: 11:30 January 10, 2006

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