Joseph Karo

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
Karo's grave in Safed
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch

The author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Beit Yosef, and its popular analogue, the Shulchan Arukh.

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

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An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435.

Arba'ah Turim

Important Halakhic code composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim).

Important Halakhic code composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim).

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

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.

Shulchan Aruch

Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

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

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud

Halakha

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 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.

The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.

Talmud

Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.
An early printing of the Talmud (Ta'anit 9b); with commentary by Rashi
A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Geniza
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Talmudic saying on the Divine Presence
Koren Talmud Bavli
The Talmud on display in the Jewish Museum of Switzerland brings together parts from the first two Talmud prints by Daniel Bomberg and Ambrosius Froben.
Jewish Scene I
Jewish Scene II
A Controversy Whatsoever on Talmud<ref>See Schleicher's paintings at MutualArt.</ref>
At the Rabbi's
Jews studying Talmud, París, c. 1880–1905
Samuel Hirszenberg, Talmudic School, c. 1895–1908
Ephraim Moses Lilien, The Talmud Students, engraving, 1915
Maurycy Trębacz, The Dispute, c. 1920–1940
Solomon's Haggadoth, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem, by Benno Elkan, 1956
Hilel's Teachings, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Jewish Mysticism: Jochanan ben Sakkai, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Yemenite Jews studying Torah in Sana&#039;a
Oz veHadar edition of the first page of the Babylonian Talmud, with elements numbered in a spiraling rainbowː (1) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Mesorat haShas, (2) Joel Sirkis's Hagahot (3) Akiva Eiger's Gilyon haShas, (4) Completion of Solomon ben Isaac's commentary from the Soncino printing, (5) Nissim ben Jacob's commentary, (6) Hananel ben Hushiel's commentary, (7) a survey of the verses quoted, (8) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Ein Mishpat/Ner Mitzvah, (9) the folio and page numbers, (10) the tractate title, (11) the chapter number, (12), the chapter heading, (13), Solomon ben Isaac's commentary, (14) the Tosafot, (15) the Mishnah, (16) the Gemara, (17) an editorial footnote.

Joseph Caro, Kelale ha-Gemara (commentary on Halichot Olam)

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

Esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

The author of the Shulkhan Arukh (the normative Jewish "Code of Law"), Yosef Karo (1488–1575), was also a scholar of Kabbalah who kept a personal mystical diary.

Imaginary 18th-century depiction of Maimonides

Maimonides

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.

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 (artist's conceptual drawing)

Mishneh Torah

Code of Rabbinic Jewish religious law (Halakha) authored by Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon/Rambam).

Code of Rabbinic Jewish religious law (Halakha) authored by Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon/Rambam).

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.

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

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

Semikhah (or semicha or smicha; סמיכה) traditionally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism.

Semikhah (or semicha or smicha; סמיכה) traditionally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism.

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".

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.

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

Orach Chayim

Section of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's compilation of Halakha (Jewish law), Arba'ah Turim.

Section of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's compilation of Halakha (Jewish law), Arba'ah Turim.

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

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.

Issue 9198 of The London Gazette, covering the calendar change in Great Britain. The issue spans the changeover: the date heading reads: "From Tuesday September 1, O.S. to Saturday September 16, N.S. 1752".

Hayyim ben Joseph Vital

Rabbi in Safed and the foremost disciple of Isaac Luria.

Rabbi in Safed and the foremost disciple of Isaac Luria.

Issue 9198 of The London Gazette, covering the calendar change in Great Britain. The issue spans the changeover: the date heading reads: "From Tuesday September 1, O.S. to Saturday September 16, N.S. 1752".

Joseph Karo is said to have paid special attention to Vital's early talents and in 1557 requested that Alshich take special care in his education as he was destined to succeed his teacher in the world of Torah study.