Chasam Sofer (5:191): A zakein mamre and his colleagues are great scholars who are arguing with the Sanhedrin. Even though the Sanhedrin are great scholars who sit before G d in His house (Temple) – this doesn’t mean of necessity that their analysis is true. It is possible that the zakein mamre’s understanding of the Torah verse is more true… Furthermore it could be that the view of the zakein mamre and those who agree with him can be ten’s of thousands of people while the Sanhedrin is only 71 people. Despite the fact that the zakein mamre might be correct and his view is accepted by the majority of Torah scholars, nevertheless G d decreed that it is the understanding of the Sanhedrin which determines the halacha because of the rule “Torah is no longer in Heaven.” Therefore we ignore a heavenly voice or a prophet who proclaims halacha and not only that but if a prophet proclaims the halacha as a prophet – he is liable to the death penalty because he is obviously a false prophet. That is because G d would not tell a prophet the nature of halachos that had been forgotten. That is why when halachos were forgotten in the period of mourning for Moshe, they were recovered by Azniel ben Kenaz by means of intellectual analysis – and prophecy wasn’t used. Furthermore even that which Azneil ben Kenaz recovered with intellectual analysis – who says that he discovered the truth? The understanding of man is not clear cut and there are multiple ways of interpreting a verse with such techniques as kal v’chomer and the like. The fact is that G d gave us the Torah according to the understanding of the Sanhedrin in order that the halachic disputes should be kept to a minimum. If there were no clear-cut rules of authority then there would be no end to the number of disputes. Therefore G d is forgiving if chas v’shalom an incident occurs in which the Sanhedrin of that generation according to their limited understanding do not comprehend the truth. After careful evaluation for the sake of heaven they issue a ruling in which the majority declare that which is clearly forbidden to be permitted. G d is forgiving even though their ruling has the result that all Jews follow their ruling and eat the forbidden fat. Those that follow this mistaken ruling of the Sanhedrin are not guilty of any sin. That is because the Sanhedrin erred G d is forgiving. Furthermore even if the zaken mamre is strict and does not eat the forbidden fat because he is concerned that the Sanhedrin was wrong and even though it is clear to G d that the halacha is in accord with the zaken mamre’s understanding, the Rambam states that the zakein mamre is liable to the death penalty for disobeying the ruling of the Sanhedrin. This is a very beneficial law which has the effect of preventing disputes. Therefore the zakein mamre should not worry at all as to whether he will be eating forbidden fats when he follows the ruling of the Sanhedrin or that he might end up doing prohibited work on Shabbos..