A report on Joseph Karo and Jacob Berab

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
Plaque outside the burial cave of Jacob Berab, Safed, Israel
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
Karo's grave in Safed
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch

At Safed he met Jacob Berab and was soon appointed a member of his rabbinical court.

- Joseph Karo

Berab then ordained a few other rabbis, including the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Levi ibn Habib, rabbi Joseph Caro, rabbi Moses of Trani, and rabbi Yosef Sagis.

- Jacob Berab
Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century

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Example semikhah certificate, Yadin Yadin, of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan awarded by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. The wording, as is typical, states that the holder is learned in Shas (ש״ס) – i.e. has wide knowledge of Talmud – as well as in Rishonim and Acharonim – i.e. has deep knowledge of Halakha; the phrase "כל מן דין סמוכין לנא" is often included, and translates "anyone of this [caliber] may be ordained for us".

Semikhah

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Traditional Jewish name for rabbinic ordination.

Traditional Jewish name for rabbinic ordination.

Example semikhah certificate, Yadin Yadin, of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan awarded by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. The wording, as is typical, states that the holder is learned in Shas (ש״ס) – i.e. has wide knowledge of Talmud – as well as in Rishonim and Acharonim – i.e. has deep knowledge of Halakha; the phrase "כל מן דין סמוכין לנא" is often included, and translates "anyone of this [caliber] may be ordained for us".

In 1538 Rabbi Jacob Berab of Safed, Land of Israel, attempted to restore the traditional form of semikhah.

Berab then conferred semikhah through a laying on of hands to four rabbis, including Joseph Karo, who was later to become the author of the Shulchan Aruch, widely viewed as the most important code of Jewish law from the 17th century onwards.