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Friday, August 28, 2015

Parashat Ki Tetze 5775


Our parasha teaches us the rule of a rebellious and wayward child. The parents of the child bring him or her to the city gates to be stoned. But did such a child ever exist?
דברים פרשת כי תצא פרק כא
Deuteronomy Chapter 21
(18) If a man has a rebellious and wayward child - who does not listen to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother - and they discipline him and he does not listen to them.
(יח) כִּי־יִהְיֶה לְאִישׁ בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקוֹל אָבִיו וּבְקוֹל אִמּוֹ וְיִסְּרוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יִשְׁמַע אֲלֵיהֶם:
(19) They should grab hold of him - his father and mother - and bring him the elder of his city and to the gate of his place.
(יט) וְתָפְשׂוּ בוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ וְהוֹצִיאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְאֶל־שַׁעַר מְקֹמוֹ:
(20) Then they shall say to the elders of the city, “This son of ours is rebellious and wayward; he does not listen to our voices; he is a glutton and drunkard.”
(כ) וְאָמְרוּ אֶל־זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ בְּנֵנוּ זֶה סוֹרֵר וּמֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקֹלֵנוּ זוֹלֵל וְסֹבֵא:
(21) Then all the people of his city shall stone him and he will die; and you shall remove the evil from your midst; then all of Israel will hear and be afraid.
(כא) וּרְגָמֻהוּ כָּל־אַנְשֵׁי עִירוֹ בָאֲבָנִים וָמֵת וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ: ס

The Rabbinic tradition on the rebellious and wayward child severely limits the case to a child (and parents) who meet very specific criteria. It also tells us such a child is killed not for what he has done but is killed before he commits truly egregious crimes.

משנה מסכת סנהדרין פרק ח, משנה ה
Mishna, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishna 5
A stubborn and rebellious child is judged based on his end so that he will die innocent and will not die corrupt
בן סורר ומורה נדון על שם סופו ימות זכאי ואל ימות חייב


The Talmud finishes off our topic with three traditions of cases in the Torah that never have nor will happen: our case, the case of a wayward city (עור הנדחת) which is to be burnt to the ground, and the case of a house struck with some sort of disease (בית המנגע) which is supposed to be destroyed. In each case we are told the reason the Torah wrote about a situation that would never occur was for us to expound on it and receive reward. And in each case there is a dissenting opinion based on testimony of someone who saw proof of the existence of such an occurrence. Here I only bring our case.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת סנהדרין דף עא עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 71a
כמאן אזלא הא דתניא: בן סורר ומורה לא היה ולא עתיד להיות, ולמה נכתב - דרוש וקבל שכר, כמאן? כרבי יהודה, איבעית אימא: רבי שמעון היא, דתניא, אמר רבי שמעון: וכי מפני שאכל זה תרטימר בשר ושתה חצי לוג יין האיטלקי אביו ואמו מוציאין אותו לסקלו? אלא לא היה ולא עתיד להיות, ולמה נכתב - דרוש וקבל שכר. אמר רבי יונתן: אני ראיתיו, וישבתי על קברו.
Who does the following teaching follow: “A rebellious and wayward child never was and never will be. So why was it written? To expound and receive reward.” Like whom? Like Rebbi Yehuda. But if you want to say, it is Rebbi Shimon. As it was taught, Rebbi Shimon said, “For merely eating a tartimar of meat and drinking a half a log of Italian wine his father and mother take him out to stone him? Rather, he never was nor never will be. So why is it written? To expound on it and receive reward.” Said Rebbi Yonatan, “I saw him and I sat on his grave.”

So did such a child exist or not?

The Palestinian Talmud gives us a sense of what it means for something to never have been nor never be. It shares two opinions of Rebbi Shimon son of Lakish who says both that Job never existed and that he existed at the time of Abraham. It explains that he existed but the stories of his sufferings were not real. This might start to point us to the existence of a rebellious and wayward son but maybe not one who played out with all the details in the Torah.
תלמוד ירושלמי (וילנא) מסכת סוטה פרק ה, הלכה ו
Palestinian Talmud (Vilna Edition), Tractate Sotah, Chapter 5, Halakha 6
Rebbi Shimon son of Lakish said, “Job never was and never will be.”
רבי שמעון בן לקיש אמר איוב לא היה ולא עתיד להיות.
Switch the approach of Rebbi Shimon son of Lakish. There Rebbi Shimon son of Lakish said in the name of the son of Kafra, “He existed at the time of Abraham our father.” But here he says thus.
מחלפה שיטתיה דר' שמעון בן לקיש. תמן אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש בשם בר קפרא בימי אברהם אבינו היה והכא הוא אמר הכין
Rather, he existed but the tribulations did not happen. Then why were they written about regarding him. To tell you that if they had happened to him he could have withstood them.
אלא הוא היה וייסורין לא היו. ולמה נכתבו עליו אלא לומר שאילולי באו עליו היה יכול לעמוד בהן.

The Yad Ramah seems to think even though it is hard to have a technically rebellious and wayward child, it nonetheless happens. He seems to take the side of Rebbi Yonatan. The parents recognize what will happen to such a child if allowed to live.
יד רמ"ה מסכת סנהדרין דף עא עמוד א
Yad Ramah, Tractate Sanhedrin 71a
Meir Abulafia, 12th and 13th Centuries Spain
אבל לרבנן אע"ג דאינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה עד שיהו שניהם רוצים קסברי רבנן דלאו מילתא דלאו שכיחא היא דליתו ליה למרגמיה משום דמסקי אדעתייהו מאי סלקא ביה לבסוף:
But to our Rabbis, even though he does not become a rebellious and wayward child until both [of his parents] desire it, our Rabbis figure that it is not an uncommon event for them to bring him for stoning since it occurs to them what will happen to him at the end.

The Ravaz mentions a point that makes the entire testimony of Rebbi Yonatan difficult. Rebbi Yonatan was a kohen so how could he have sat upon the grave of the rebellious and wayward child? He suggests that there was a second Rebbi Yonatan who was not a kohen. However, this might tip the argument in favor of those who dismiss Rebbi Yonatan and believe there really never was a rebellious and wayward child.
שו"ת הרב"ז חלק ג (חושן משפט) סימן נה
Responsa of the Ravaz, Part 3 (Choshen Misphat), Siman 55
Betzalel Safran
What is obvious to me is that Rebbi Yonatan was a kohen. To me it is a good challenge from that in Sanhedrin, “Said Rebbi Yonantan, ‘I saw him and I sat on the grave of the rebellious and wayward child.’”
מה דפשיטא לי' דר' יונתן כהן היה, לדידי מיבעי לי טובא, דהא בסנהדרין (ע"א עמוד א') "אמר ר' יונתן אני ראיתיו וישבתי על קברו של בן סורר ומורה".
But if we say he was a kohen, what is a kohen doing in the graveyard of a rebellious and wayward child?
ואם נימא דכהן היה, מה לכהן בבית הקברות של בן סורר ומורה.
But I found in the book, Seder HaDorot, that he wrote that truly that, “There were to Rebbi Yonatans; one was a kohen and one was not a kohen,” see there.
ומצאתי בס' "סדר הדורות", שכתב באמת כי "שני ר' יונתן הוו, אחד היה כהן, ואחד לא היה כהן" ע"ש.

Rabbenu Bachya explains that the portion on the rebellious and wayward child is to teach us that our love for God should overcome all other loves including that for a child. Further, he suggests that Rebbi Yonatan did not actually see the grave of a child who truly fell into this category, but rather one similar to it like Avshalom the son of David who rebelled against his father in adulthood. This somewhat reconciles Rebbi Yonatan with the idea that such a child never existed.
רבינו בחיי דברים פרשת כי תצא פרק כא
Rabbenu Bachya, Deuteronomy Chapter 21
Bachya ben Asher, 13th and 14th Centuries Spain
Said our Rabbis, of blessed memory, that this law of the rebellious and wayward child never occurred. And that is what we find in the chapter Ben Sorer u’Moreh: “It was taught, the rebellious and wayward child and the wayward city never were and never will be. And why are they written? Expound and receive reward.”
אמרו רז"ל (סנהדרין עא א) כי דין זה של סורר ומורה לא אירע מעולם, והוא שתמצא בפרק בן סורר ומורה: תניא בן סורר ומורה ועיר הנדחת לא היו ולא עתידין להיות, ולמה נכתבו, דרוש וקבל שכר.
And if so, one must ask: why did the Torah need to inform us and write about what never was, and that our matter never happens in the way of the world? But this is the wisdom of the Torah to teach the thinking of the nation in the great obligation of the love of Hashem, may He be exalted. For there is no strong love in the world like the love of a father and mother for a child. So when the child transgresses on a commandment of Hashem, may He be exalted, and it is the path of foolishness for him, they are obligated to make the love for Hashem, may He be exalted, stronger for them than the love of the child such that they themselves need to bring him to the court for stoning.
וא"כ יש לשאול: מפני מה הוצרכה תורה להודיע ולכתוב מה שלא היה, ומה שאין ענינו נוהג בדרך העולם, אבל זה היה מחכמת התורה ללמד דעת את העם בגודל חיוב אהבת הש"י, שהרי אין לך אהבה חזקה בעולם כאהבת האב והאם לבן, וכיון שהבן עובר על מצות השם יתעלה, וזה דרכו כסל לו, חייבין הם שתגבר עליהם אהבת הש"י על אהבת הבן עד שיצטרכו להביא אותו הם בעצמן לב"ד לסקילה.
And long ago this matter occurred - in the great obligation of love for Hashem, may He be exalted -  explicitly in the Torah in the matter of the binding [of Isaac]. For Abraham, had his love for Isaac been steadfast and strong as a child who came to him after old age and despair, nonetheless when He commanded him [Abraham] to sacrifice him [Isaac] as an olah [completely burned sacrifice], he worked assiduously at the matter immediately. And his love for Hashem, may He be exalted, triumphed over his love for Isaac. And on the completion of this step he was called, “Abraham My love,” (Isaiah 41:8). Then it was advertised to the entire world the great obligation of love for Hashem, may He be exalted, that it is fit to overcome all types of love, and for this they said, “Expound on it and receive reward.” Such I heard from my Rav, Rav Shimon, my teacher, that he shall remain alive.
וכבר בא הענין הזה בחיוב גודל אהבה להש"י מפורש בתורה בענין העקדה, כי אברהם עם היות אהבתו של יצחק עזה וחזקה כבן שבא אליו אחר הזקנה והיאוש, אעפ"כ כשצוהו להקריבו עולה טרח בדבר מיד, והגביר אהבת הש"י על אהבתו של יצחק, ועל שלמות המעלה הזאת קראו: "אברהם אוהבי" (ישעיה מא, ח), ואז נתפרסם לכל העולם גודל חיוב האהבה לשם יתעלה שהיא ראויה לעבור כל מיני אהבה, ומזה אמרו: דרוש וקבל שכר. כך שמעתי מפי הרב ר"ש מורי שיחיה.
And what is found there, “Said Rebbi Yochanan, ‘I sat on the grave of the rebellious and wayward son and on the heap of the wayward city,” it is possible to say that he argues with the braitta. Or, perhaps that according to Rebbi Yochanan there was never a complete rebellious and wayward child, but rather like the matter of Avshalom. But there was never a complete wayward and rebellious child like the strict law in the Torah whose end is stoning.
ומה שנמצא שם: אמר ר' יוחנן אני ישבתי על קברו של בן סורר ומורה ועל תלה של עיר הנדחת, אפשר לומר דפליג אברייתא, או שמא הא דר' יוחנן לא היה בן סורר ומורה גמור אלא כענין אבשלום, אבל לא היה בן סורר ומורה גמור כדין תורה שנגמר לסקילה.

The Daf al HaDaf presents a piece from the Chatam Sofer that what Rebbi Yonatan actually saw was the grave of someone who should have been judged as a rebellious and wayward child but was not and later in life was killed for committing more serious crimes. Further, there are many such children, but their parents just are not willing to bring such children for judgement. This seems in conflict with the Yad Ramah who thinks that it is common for parents to bring their children to court.
דף על הדף סנהדרין דף עא עמוד א
Daf al HaDaf, Sanhedrin 71a
David Mendelbaum, et al, 20th Century Israel
However, the Chatam Sofer explains in an amazing way, that which Rebbi Shimon thinks that he never was and never will be cannot be.
אולם החת"ס מבאר באופן נפלא, דמה שס"ל לר"ש שלא היה ולא עתיד להיות אי"ז
For it is not possible in reality that parents would bring their child for stoning. Rather, expound and receive reward that a even though his punishment is just and the Sages knew that in the end he would become a violent robber of others, nonetheless they had impossible conditions in concluding the judgement of one as a rebellious and wayward child such that in actuality he remains alive even though it was fit to kill him. And his end proves his beginning such that all who see him will say, “It is too bad they did not bring him to kill him already in his youth.”
כי לא יתכן מציאות שהורים יביאו את בנם לסקילה, אלא דרוש וקבל שכר שבן כזה אף כי עונשו מוצדק וידעו חכמים כי בסופו ילסטם הבריות מ"מ ישנם תנאים בלתי אפשריים לקביעת דינו כבן סורר ומורה כדי שלמעשה ישאר בחיים אף שהיה מן הראוי להורגו, וסופו יוכיח על תחילתו עד שכל רואיו יאמרו חבל שלא הוציאוהו להורג כבר בצעירותו.
And this is also what Rebbi Yonatan said, that he saw with his eyes the rebellious and wayward child who in his youth merely stole and was a glutton, but after many years “I sat on his grave.” That after he violently robbed people and was brought to be killed, I [Rebbi Yonaton] was able to testify that the judgements of Hashem are true. And this is the truth that it would have been better had he died innocent and not died corrupt.
וזה מה שאמר גם ר' יונתן, שהוא ראה בעיניו את הבן סורר שבצעירותו רק גנב וזלל וברבות השנים "ישבתי על קברו" - לאחר שלסטם את הבריות והוצא להורג, יכולני להעיד כי משפטי ה' אמת, וזו האמת שהיה מוטב שימות זכאי ואל ימות חייב.

The Kil Yakar seems to accept that such a case never actually existed. Based on the verses, he thinks this never occurred because people will read this parasha and be afraid enough to check their actions and children will therefore never become so bad. He does not clarify why this parsha might be better at preventing sin than others. I might suggest that maybe since there is already a fear of children to upset their parents too much they are more amenable to being affected by this set of verses than people are by other, though I do not know that I am fully convinced.
כלי יקר דברים פרשת  כי תצא פרק כא
Kli Yakar, Deuteronomy Chapter 21
Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, 16th and 17th Centuries Poland
Nonetheless, the obligation to explain this matter falls upon us: why did the Torah write about a matter that never occurs? It is also [necessary] to consider what is written here, “Then all of Israel will hear and be afraid,” more so than other detailed commandments. Further, why is it not stated here, “Then they will not willfully sin anymore,” as is written in parashat Shof’tim (Deuteronomy 17:13).
ומכל מקום חל עלינו חובת ביאור דבר זה למה כתבה תורה דבר שאינו בנמצא כלל. גם יש להתבונן במה שנאמר כאן וכל ישראל ישמעו ויראו יותר מבשאר מצוות פרטיות. ועוד למה לא נאמר כאן ולא יזידון עוד כמו שנאמר בפרשת שופטים (דברים יז יג).
And perhaps the reason for the matter that a rebellious and wayward child never was and never will be is that this portion was only written such that children will hear and be afraid and not act in such a manner. And that which it said, “Then all of Israel will hear,” is that they will hear this portion and the written rule in it. Then the children will fear to mar the honor  of the father and mother.
ואולי טעמו של דבר לפי שבן סורר ומורה לא היה ולא יהיה ולא נכתבה הפרשה כי אם כדי שישמעו הבנים ויראו ולא יעשו כדבר הזה, ומה שאמר וכל ישראל ישמעו היינו שישמעו פרשה זו ומשפט הכתוב בה ויראו הבנים מלמרות עיני כבודם של אב ואם.
Therefore it was not stated, “Then they will not willfully sin anymore,” for the language of “anymore,” instructs about a matter that has happened in the past such that it will no longer happen. But this is not the case [here], for the rebellious and wayward child never happened ever. And this portion was only written to cast dread and fear on children.
ולכך לא נאמר ולא יזידון עוד, כי לשון עוד מורה על דבר הנעשה כבר שלא יהיה נעשה עוד וזה אינו שהרי בן סורר ומורה לא היה דברים מעולם ולא נכתבה פרשה זו כי אם להפיל אימתה ופחד על הבנים:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Parashat Shoftim 5775

In our parasha, we are commanded to follow the instructions of the judges in our times, straying neither right or left. But how strictly should we hold to this? What if the judges are obviously wrong?

דברים פרשת שופטים פרק יז
Deuteronomy Chapter 17
(8) If some judicial matter will be too confusing to you between blood and blood , or between civil matter and civil matter, or between injury and injury - issues of dispute in your gate; you shall get up and go up to the place that Hashem your God shall choose.
(ח) כִּי יִפָּלֵא מִמְּךָ דָבָר לַמִּשְׁפָּט בֵּין־דָּם לְדָם בֵּין־דִּין לְדִין וּבֵין נֶגַע לָנֶגַע דִּבְרֵי רִיבֹת בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְקַמְתָּ וְעָלִיתָ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ:
(9) And you shall come to the cohanim [of?] the levites, and to the judge that will be in those days, and your will present and they will tell you the matter of judgement.
(ט) וּבָאתָ אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם וְאֶל־הַשֹּׁפֵט אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְדָרַשְׁתָּ וְהִגִּידוּ לְךָ אֵת דְּבַר הַמִּשְׁפָּט:
(10) And you will act according to the matter that they will tell you from that place that Hashem will choose; and you shall be watchful to do according to that which they instruct you.
(י) וְעָשִׂיתָ עַל־פִּי הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יַגִּידוּ לְךָ מִן־הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְקֹוָק וְשָׁמַרְתָּ לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ:
(11) According to the teaching that they will instruct you and the judgement they will say to you, you shall do; do not stray from the matter they will tell you to the right or left.
(יא) עַל־פִּי הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ וְעַל־הַמִּשְׁפָּט אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְרוּ לְךָ תַּעֲשֶׂה לֹא תָסוּר מִן־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־יַגִּידוּ לְךָ יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאל:

Compare our verses to those below. What if the court’s teachings stray from the Torah itself. The verse below, while maybe only discussing idolatry, might be making a more general statement that straying from God’s instructions is idolatry.
דברים פרשת כי תבוא פרק כח
Deuteronomy Chapter 28
(יד) וְלֹא תָסוּר מִכָּל־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול לָלֶכֶת אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לְעָבְדָם: ס
(14) Do not stray from all the matters that I command you today right or left to go after other gods to worship them.

The midrash in the Sifrei takes our first verses to mean even if the court makes a claim that right is really left one should listen to them.
ספרי דברים פרשת שופטים פיסקא קנד
Sifrei D’varim, Parashat Shof’tim, Piska 154
ימין ושמאל, אפילו מראים בעיניך על ימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהוא ימין שמע להם
“Left or right,” even if they show in your eyes about the right that it is left and about the left that it is right, listen to them.

The Palestinian Talmud, however, quoting what I think is our verse from Deuteronomy 28 (it is not clear) disagrees. It says one could have understood our verses to even mean if the court instructs that right is left, but that cannot be. It can only mean to follow the court when they instruct something correct.
תלמוד ירושלמי (וילנא) מסכת הוריות פרק א, הלכה א
Palestinian Talmud (Vilna Edition), Tractate Horayot, Chapter 1, Halakha 1
יכול אם יאמרו לך על ימין שהיא שמאל ועל שמאל שהיא ימין תשמע להם ת"ל ללכת ימין ושמאל שיאמרו לך על ימין שהוא ימין ועל שמאל שהיא שמאל.
It is possible that if they say to you about the right that it is left and about the left that it is right, listen to them: the Torah says, “To walk right or left.” That if one says to you about the right that it is right and about the left that it is left.

Rashi, however, comments based on the Sifrei that one should follow the court no matter how incorrect their instruction.
רש"י דברים פרשת שופטים פרק יז
Rashi on Deuteronomy Chapter 17
(יא) ימין ושמאל - אפילו אומר לך על ימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהוא ימין, וכל שכן שאומר לך על ימין ימין ועל שמאל שמאל:
(11) Right or left - even if he says to you about the right that it is left and about the left that it is right. And all the more so if he says to you about the right that it is right and the left that it is left.

The Siftei Chakhamim give a value to Rashi’s comments. Obviously God protects His appointed human court from making errors. Therefore, even if it seems what they say is wrong, it just cannot be. You must actually be wrong.
שפתי חכמים דברים פרשת שופטים פרק יז
Siftei Chakhamim on Deuteronomy Chapter 17
Shabbetai Bass, 17th and 18th Centuries Poland
דהכי פירושו אפילו אם אומר לך על ימין שאתה סבור שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שאתה סבור שהוא ימין שתשמע לו ולא תתלה את הטעות בו אלא בך
That this is its explanation: even if he says to you about the right that you figure is the left and on the left that you figure is right, listen to him and do not blame the mistake on him but on yourself.
כי השם יתברך נותן רוחו על משרתי מקדשו תמיד וישמרם מכל טעות שלא יצא מפיהם כי אם אמת
For Hashem, may He be blessed, always gives His spirit on those who serve His sanctuary and guards them from any mistake that nothing shall come from their mouths but the truth.


The Ramban seems to agree with Rashi, but he gives a different value (we will see this in our Talmud at the end). He thinks that since the written Torah may be interpreted in many ways, listening to the assigned court guarantees only one Torah and not many. A background piece is that our verses are the basis for Rabbinic law.

Ramban alludes to a disagreement between Rebbi Yehoshua and Rabban Gamliel about when Yom Kippur occurs. Rabban Gamliel makes Rebbi Yehoshua show up to court on the day Rebbi Yehoshua thinks is Yom Kippur, bringing his wallet and walking stick.

At the end, the Ramban also suggests that God will not permit the court to err. I think his suggestion of this shows even he is uneasy with following obviously incorrect law just for the sake of limiting disagreement.
רמב"ן דברים פרשת שופטים פרק יז
Ramban on Deuteronomy Chapter 17
(יא) ימין ושמאל - אפילו אם אומר לך על ימין שהוא שמאל או על שמאל שהוא ימין, לשון רש"י. וענינו, אפילו תחשוב בלבך שהם טועים, והדבר פשוט בעיניך כאשר אתה יודע בין ימינך לשמאלך, תעשה כמצותם, ואל תאמר איך אוכל החלב הגמור הזה או אהרוג האיש הנקי הזה, אבל תאמר כך צוה אותי האדון המצוה על המצות שאעשה בכל מצותיו ככל אשר יורוני העומדים לפניו במקום אשר יבחר ועל משמעות דעתם נתן לי התורה אפילו יטעו, וזה כענין רבי יהושע עם ר"ג ביום הכיפורים שחל להיות בחשבונו (ר"ה כה א):
(11) Right or left - “Even if he says to you about right that it is left or about left that it is right,” in the words of Rashi. And his issue is that even if you think to yourself that they are mistaken, and the matter is obvious in your eyes since you know between your left and your right, act according to their command. And do not say, “How can I eat this actual suet,” or “Kill this innocent man?” Rather, say, “As such the Master who commands commanded me about the commandments: that I shall perform all of His commandments according to all that those standing in front of Him in the place He will choose will instruct me. And on the derivations of their thought processes He gave me the Torah, even if they err.” And this is like the matter of Rebbi Yehoshua with Rabban Gamliel on Yom Kippur that occurred on his calculated day.
והצורך במצוה הזאת גדול מאד, כי התורה נתנה לנו בכתב, וידוע הוא שלא ישתוו הדעות בכל הדברים הנולדים, והנה ירבו המחלוקות ותעשה התורה כמה תורות.
And the necessity for this commandment is great, for the Torah was given to us in writing. And it is known that the opinions on all the derivative matters will not be equal, and here the disagreements will multiply and make the Torah into multiple Torahs.
וחתך לנו הכתוב הדין, שנשמע לבית דין הגדול העומד לפני השם במקום אשר יבחר בכל מה שיאמרו לנו בפירוש התורה, בין שקבלו פירושו עד מפי עד ומשה מפיה גבורה, או שיאמרו כן לפי משמעות המקרא או כוונתה, כי על הדעת שלהם הוא נותן (ס"א לנו) להם התורה, אפילו יהיה בעיניך כמחליף הימין בשמאל, וכל שכן שיש לך לחשוב שהם אומרים על ימין שהוא ימין, כי רוח השם על משרתי מקדשו ולא יעזוב את חסידיו, לעולם נשמרו מן הטעות ומן המכשול.
And the written Torah carved out for us the law that we should heed the Great Court that stands before Hashem in the place He will choose according to all that they will tell us in interpretation of the Torah, whether they received its interpretation witness from the mouth of witness and Moshe from the mouth of the Powerful One.  Or that they will say as such according to the derivations of the Text or its intention. For by their thoughts He gives them (other texts: us) the Torah. Even if it is in your eyes like swapping the right with the left. And all the more so that you think that they say right is right, for the spirit of Hashem is on the servants of His sanctuary and He does not abandon his dear ones. For sure they are protected from error and stumbling.
ולשון ספרי (שופטים קנד) אפילו מראין בעיניך על הימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהוא ימין שמע להם:
And the words of the Sifrei, “Even if they show in your eyes about the right that it is left and the left that it is right, listen to them.”


The Be’er Sheva, however, tries to resolve the Palestinian Talmud against the Sifrei. He suggests a difference between thinking they are wrong and knowing they are wrong. In the former one must follow them, per the Sifrei. In the latter, like the Palestinian Talmud, once must not follow them.
באר שבע מסכת הוריות דף ב עמוד ב
B’er Sheva, Tractate Horayot, 2b
Yissakhar Dov Eilenberg, 16th and 17th Centuries Poland
And do not challenge because it is taught in the Sifrei on parasha Shof’tim, “Do not stray from the matter that they shall tell you left or right. Even if they show in your eyes about the left that it is right or the right that it is left, listen to them.” If so it follows that it is a commandment to listen to the words of the Sages, even if he know that they erred and said about the left it is right. And this is not like the braitta that I brought above that taught, “It is possible if they say to you, etc.”
ואין להקשות דהא תניא בספרי פרשת שופטים (פיסקא י"א) לא תסור מן הדבר אשר יגידו לך ימין ושמאל, אפילו מראין בעיניך על שמאל שהיא ימין ועל ימין שהיא שמאל שמע להם, אם כן משמע שמצוה לשמוע דברי חכמים אפילו אם ידע דקטעו ואמרו על שמאל שהיא ימין, ולא כהברייתא שהבאתי לעיל דקתני יכול אם יאמרו כו'.
That one may say that that which they said in the Sifrei, “Even if they show in your eyes about the left that it is right,” here is its explanation. Even if you think in your heart according to the weight of though that they erred in judgement and said about the left that it is right. But not where one knows for sure that they erred in judgement. And so one can get out of the exact language, “Even if they show in your eyes, etc.” And that which was taught in the braitta  that I brought above, “It is possible if they say to you, etc.,” that is when one knows for sure they erred in judgement to permit the forbidden. So it seems to me.
די"ל דהא דאמרו בספרי אפילו מראים בעיניך על שמאל שהוא ימין, הכי פירושו אפילו תחשוב בלבך על פי שקול הדעת שטעו בדין ואמרו על שמאל שהיא ימין אבל לא שהוא יודע בודאי שטעו בדין, וכן דייק הלשון אפילו מראים בעיניך כו'. והא דקתני בברייתא שהבאתי לעיל יכול אם יאמרו לך כו', היינו שידע בודאי שטעו בדין להתיר את האסור. כן נ"ל:

The Babylonian Talmud, in another approach to our issue, deals with a זקן ממרא, an elder who rebels against the teaching of the court. Such a person is worthy of the death penalty. However, Rav Kahana tells us this is only if he disagrees based on his own thinking while the court acts on received tradition. However, Rebbi Elazar thinks any disagreement warrants death since it increases debate in Israel.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת סנהדרין דף פח עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 88a
Said Rav Kahana, “If he speaks according to the received tradition and they speak according to the received tradition, he is not killed. If he says, ‘Such it is in my eyes,’ and they say, ‘Such it is in our eyes,’ he is not killed. And all the more so if he speaks from the received tradition and they say, ‘Such it is in our eyes.’ He is not killed until he shall says, ‘Such it is in my eyes,’ and they speak from the received tradition.”
אמר רב כהנא: הוא אומר מפי השמועה והן אומרין מפי השמועה - אינו נהרג, הוא אומר כך הוא בעיני והן אומרין כך הוא בעינינו - אינו נהרג. וכל שכן הוא אומר מפי השמועה והן אומרין כך הוא בעינינו - אינו נהרג, עד שיאמר כך הוא בעיני והן אומרים מפי השמועה…
But Rebbi Elazar says, “Even if he speaks from the received tradition and they say, ‘Such it is in our eyes,’ he is killed so that they will not increase disagreements in Israel.”
ורבי אלעזר אומר: אפילו הוא אומר מפי השמועה, והן אומרין כך הוא בעינינו - נהרג, כדי שלא ירבו מחלוקות בישראל.