THE SEMICHA CONTROVERSY
While the מהר"י בירב was Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Tzfat,
the (מהרלב"ח (לוי בן
חביב was the Rov in Yerushalayim
was a much smaller community than Tzfat. Most
Gedolim at that time
lived in Tzfat.
The סמיכה that R.Y.B. introduced was based on the
Rambam in פירוש המשניות on the 1st Mishna in Sanhedrin
and in the Yad Hl. Sanhedrin) who writes if כל חכמי א"י
are מסכים then we can reintroduce the סמיכה.
R.Y.B. didn't bother consulting with the חכמי ירושלים
He held since רוב חכמי א"י were living in Tzfat and
when the Rambam writes כל חכמי א"י he meant רוב is
R.L.B.Ch. was upset that the חכמי ירושלים were not
consulted and their כבוד wasn't taken into consideration.
He also held since the Rambam writes כל חכמי א"י
then רוב is not enough.
In the last( סימן (קמז in שו"ת מהרלב"ח it is printed a
5 part קונדרס* from both the מהר"י בירב & מהרלב"ח
arguing about the legitimacy and merits of the סמיכה
They ended up attacking each other personally.
The Machlokes was so intense that the מהר"י בירב
had to flee Eretz Yisroel to Damascus. The
authorities were told that he plans to revolt against the
Government with the introduction of the סמיכה
The סמיכה lasted for only 4 generations The מהר"י בירב
was מסמיך the Bais Yosef who was מסמיך R.Moishe
Alshich who was מסמיך R.Chaim Vital who was the
last מוסמך in the world.
* Both מהר"י בירב &מהרלב"ח spell קונדרס with a Daled ד
instead a Tes ט