A report on Italian Jews and Isaac Alfasi

Jewish wedding in Venice, 1780 Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme

In matters of religious law, Italian-Rite Jews generally follow the same rules as the Sephardim, in that they accept the authority of Isaac Alfasi and the Shulchan Aruch as opposed to the Ashkenazi customs codified by Moses Isserles (the Rema).

- Italian Jews

At the close of the Middle Ages, when the Talmud was banned in Italy, Alfasi's code was exempted so that from the 16th to the 19th centuries his work was the primary subject of study of the Italian Jewish community.

- Isaac Alfasi
Jewish wedding in Venice, 1780 Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme

2 related topics with Alpha

Overall

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud

Halakha

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Collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah.

Collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah.

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue (museum exhibits), Cologne
Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.
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

The Hilchot HaRif was written by the Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (1013–1103); it has summations of the legal material found in the Talmud. Alfasi transcribed the Talmud's halakhic conclusions verbatim, without the surrounding deliberation; he also excluded all aggadic (non-legal, and homiletic) matter. The Hilchot soon superseded the geonic codes, as it contained all the decisions and the laws then relevant, and additionally, served as an accessible Talmudic commentary; it has been printed with almost every subsequent edition of the Talmud.

"The Mordechai" – by Mordecai ben Hillel (d. Nuremberg 1298) – serves both as a source of analysis, as well as of decided law. Mordechai considered about 350 halakhic authorities, and was widely influential, particularly amongst the Ashkenazi and Italian communities. Although organised around the Hilchot of the Rif, it is, in fact, an independent work. It has been printed with every edition of the Talmud since 1482.

Shulchan Aruch

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Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

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.

The "Tur", although not considered as great an authority as Maimonides' code, was much more widely known; the latter being recognized only among the Spanish Jews, while the former enjoyed a high reputation among the Ashkenazim and Sephardim, as well as the Italian Jews.