Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Imaginary 18th-century depiction of Maimonides
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue (museum exhibits), Cologne
The dominion of the Almohad Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 1200
Karo's grave in Safed
Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.
Maimonides' house in Fez, Morocco
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch
A mixed-gender, egalitarian Conservative service at Robinson's Arch, Western Wall
Monument in Córdoba
Set of Mishneh Torah
Bas relief of Maimonides in the United States House of Representatives.
Shulchan Aruch HaRav
The Tomb of Maimonides in Tiberias
Peninei Halakha Set
Depiction of Maimonides teaching students about the 'measure of man' in an illuminated manuscript.
An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435
The title page of The Guide for the Perplexed
Plaque of Maimonides at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa
Manuscript page by Maimonides. Judeo-Arabic language in Hebrew letters.
The original manuscript of the Commentary on the Mishnah, handwritten by Musa bin Maymun in Judeo-Arabic in a Rashi script.

Joseph ben Ephraim Karo, also spelled Yosef Caro, or Qaro (יוסף קארו; 1488 – March 24, 1575, 13 Nisan 5335 A.M.), was the author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Beit Yosef, and its popular analogue, the Shulchan Arukh.

- Joseph Karo

It was authored in Safed (today in Israel) by Joseph Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later.

- Shulchan Aruch

Halakha is based on biblical commandments (mitzvot), subsequent Talmudic and rabbinic laws, and the customs and traditions which were compiled in the many books such as the Shulchan Aruch.

- Halakha

Together with its commentaries, it is the most widely accepted compilation of Jewish law ever written.

- Shulchan Aruch

During his lifetime, most Jews greeted Maimonides' writings on Jewish law and ethics with acclaim and gratitude, even as far away as Iraq and Yemen.

- Maimonides

Hence Karo adopted the Halakhot of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (the Rif), Maimonides (the Rambam), and Asher ben Jehiel (the Rosh) as his standards, accepting as authoritative the opinion of two of the three, except in cases where most of the ancient authorities were against them or in cases where there was already an accepted custom contrary to his ruling.

- Shulchan Aruch

His reputation during the last thirty years of his life was greater than that of almost any other rabbi since Maimonides.

- Joseph Karo

Beit Yosef (בית יוסף), a commentary on Arba'ah Turim, the current work of Jewish law in his days. In this commentary Karo shows an astounding mastery over the Talmud and the legalistic literature of the Middle Ages. He felt called upon to systematize the laws and customs of Judaism in face of the disintegration caused by the Spanish expulsion.

- Joseph Karo

Joseph Karo later praised Maimonides, writing of him, "Maimonides is the greatest of the decisors [of Jewish law], and all communities of the Land of Israel and of Arabia and of the Maghreb base their practices after him, and have taken him upon themselves as their rabbi."

- Maimonides

Later codes of Jewish law, e.g. Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher and Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi Yosef Karo, draw heavily on : both often quote whole sections verbatim.

- Maimonides

The Mishneh Torah by Maimonides (1135–1204). This work encompasses the full range of Talmudic law; it is organized and reformulated in a logical system – in 14 books, 83 sections and 1000 chapters – with each halakha stated clearly. The Mishneh Torah is very influential to this day, and several later works reproduce passages verbatim. It also includes a section on Metaphysics and fundamental beliefs. (Some claim this section draws heavily on Aristotelian science and metaphysics; others suggest that it is within the tradition of Saadia Gaon.) It is the main source of practical halakha for many Yemenite Jews – mainly Baladi and Dor Daim – as well as for a growing community referred to as talmidei haRambam.

- Halakha

The Beit Yosef and the Shulchan Aruch of rabbi Yosef Karo (1488–1575). The Beit Yosef is a huge commentary on the Tur in which rabbi Karo traces the development of each law from the Talmud through later rabbinical literature (examining 32 authorities, beginning with the Talmud and ending with the works of rabbi Israel Isserlein). The Shulchan Aruch (literally "set table") is, in turn, a condensation of the Beit Yosef – stating each ruling simply; this work follows the chapter divisions of the Tur. The Shulchan Aruch, together with its related commentaries, is considered by many to be the most authoritative compilation of halakha since the Talmud. In writing the Shulchan Aruch, rabbi Karo based his rulings on three authorities – Maimonides, Asher ben Jehiel (Rosh), and Isaac Alfasi (Rif); he considered the Mordechai in inconclusive cases. Sephardic Jews, generally, refer to the Shulchan Aruch as the basis for their daily practice.

- Halakha

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An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435.

Arba'ah Turim

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An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435.
A 1565 edition of Even Ha'ezer, the third part of Arba'ah Turim

Arba'ah Turim (אַרְבָּעָה טוּרִים), often called simply the Tur, is an important Halakhic code composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim).

The four-part structure of the Tur and its division into chapters (simanim) were adopted by the later code Shulchan Aruch.

He used the code of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi as his starting point; these views are then compared to those of Maimonides, as well as to the Ashkenazi traditions contained in the Tosafist literature.

The best-known commentary on the Arba'ah Turim is the Beit Yosef by rabbi Joseph ben Ephraim Karo: this goes beyond the normal functions of a commentary, in that it attempts to review all the relevant authorities and come to a final decision on every point, so as to constitute a comprehensive resource on Jewish law.