Too precious!!! Avi Safran thinks we owe ad hoc Jewish "leaders" the same deference and respect afforded to Raban Gamliel who both led a correctly constituted Sanhedrin and held an office invested with temporal powers.
To clinch his case, Avi cites Rosh Hashana 25a where we learn that all the leading Rabbis once agreed to respect one of Rabban Gamliel's ruling though they all knew he was wrong. The only problem is this: Raban Gamliel's high-handed behavior during that episode cost him the respect of his peers who forced him to resign.
So Avi errs not only in the equivalency he creates between Rabban Gamliel and the Rabbis of our day who hold no national office, and in many cases have inherited their stature or married into it. He also forgets that Rabban Gamliel was rejected specifically for demonstrating the sort of peremptory behavior he thinks we're obligated to obey.
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