A report on Shulchan AruchJoseph Karo and Halakha

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue (museum exhibits), Cologne
Karo's grave in Safed
Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch
A mixed-gender, egalitarian Conservative service at Robinson's Arch, Western Wall
Set of Mishneh Torah
Shulchan Aruch HaRav
Peninei Halakha Set
An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435

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

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

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.

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.

Orach Chayim book of 1817/1818 published from the collection of the "Mezhybizh" State Reserve (Ukraine)

Orach Chayim

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Orach Chayim book of 1817/1818 published from the collection of the "Mezhybizh" State Reserve (Ukraine)

Orach Chayim, modern Hebrew: Orech Chayim (אורח חיים; manner/way of life) is a section of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's compilation of Halakha (Jewish law), Arba'ah Turim.

Rabbi Yosef Karo modeled the framework of the Shulkhan Arukh (שולחן ערוך), his own compilation of practical Jewish law, after the Arba'ah Turim. Many later commentators used this framework, as well.

Imaginary 18th-century depiction of Maimonides

Maimonides

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Medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages.

Medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages.

Imaginary 18th-century depiction of Maimonides
The dominion of the Almohad Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 1200
Maimonides' house in Fez, Morocco
Monument in Córdoba
Bas relief of Maimonides in the United States House of Representatives.
The Tomb of Maimonides in Tiberias
Depiction of Maimonides teaching students about the 'measure of man' in an illuminated manuscript.
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.

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.

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."

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.

Moses Isserles (Artist's rendering)

Moses Isserles

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Eminent Polish Ashkenazic rabbi, talmudist, and posek (expert in Jewish law).

Eminent Polish Ashkenazic rabbi, talmudist, and posek (expert in Jewish law).

Moses Isserles (Artist's rendering)
The Rema's tombstone at the Remuh Cemetery, Kraków

Among his fellow pupils were his relative Solomon Luria (Maharshal)—later a major disputant of many of Isserles' halachic rulings, and Chayyim b. Bezalel, an older brother of the Maharal.

He became a world-renowned scholar and was approached by many other well-known rabbis, including Yosef Karo, for Halachic decisions.

Isserles is perhaps best known for his halakhic works, chief among them his notes to the Shulchan Aruch by Yosef Karo.

Maimonides (artist's conceptual drawing)

Mishneh Torah

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Maimonides (artist's conceptual drawing)
A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Geniza
Torah scroll
The single scroll of the arm-tefillin
A sukkah booth
A Ketubah in Hebrew, a Jewish marriage-contract outlining the duties of the husband.
Herod's Temple, as imagined in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem. It is currently situated adjacent to the Shrine of the Book exhibit at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
The Sanhedrin, from an 1883 encyclopedia
Title page from Sefer Shaarei Teshuvah (1960 pocket edition) by Yonah Gerondi (d.1263), first published in 1505.
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as "the Lubavitcher Rebbe", studied the Mishneh Torah daily and encouraged other Jews to follow along with him in an annual study cycle.

The Mishneh Torah (מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרָה), also known as Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka (ספר יד החזקה), is a code of Rabbinic Jewish religious law (halakha) authored by Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon/Rambam).

g., Yosef Karo's Kesef Mishné) set out to find sources for Maimonides' decisions, and to resolve any disputes between him and the Raavad.

Later codes of Jewish law, such as Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher and Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi Yosef Karo, draw heavily on Maimonides' work, and in both, whole sections are often quoted verbatim.