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

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

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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

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.

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.

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 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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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 Maimonides' work, and in both whole sections are often quoted verbatim.

Moses Isserles (Artist's rendering)

Moses Isserles

Commonly known by the Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Moses Isserles, "Rema" .

Commonly known by the Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Moses Isserles, "Rema" .

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

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.

Safed

City in the Northern District of Israel.

City in the Northern District of Israel.

The Red Mosque in Safed, 2001. It was originally built by the Mamluk sultan Baybars in 1275, and renovated or expanded by the Ottomans in 1671/72
The Mamluk mausoleum of Zawiyat Banat Hamid, originally built in 1372
The Red Mosque
Hebrew book printed by Eliezer Ashkenazi in 1579
Originally built as a caravanserai by the Ottomans in the mid-1700s, the "Saraya" (house of the governor) currently serves as a community centre
Safed in the 19th century
Muslim quarter of Safed circa 1908
Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Safed
Beit Knesset Abuhav, one of the city's historic synagogues
Street art in Safed
Beit Castel gallery in the artists' colony
Scottish church in Safed
Panorama Safed and Mount Meron
View to the east and Lake of Kinneret
Safad 1937
Mandate Police station at Mount Canaan, above Safed (1948)
Safed (1948)
Safed Citadel (1948)
Safad Municipal Police Station after the battle (1948)
Bussel House, Safad, 11 April 1948: Yiftach Brigade headquarters
View of Safed from Mount Canaan (1948)
Mandate administration building on the eastern outskirts of Safed (1948)
Yiftach Brigade, with their Hotchkiss machine guns, based at Bussel House, 1948
Druze parading in Safed after the Palmach victory in 1948
Monument to the Israeli soldiers who fought in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
Safed in 2009
View of Safed
View of Safed
Houses in Safed
Doorway in Beit Castel gallery, Safed

After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, many prominent rabbis found their way to Safed, among them the Kabbalists Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovero; Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, composer of the Sabbath hymn "Lecha Dodi".

Title of the romanized Hebrew newspaper ha Savuja ha Palestini, shows part of the romanization method of Itamar Ben-Avi. 1929.

Beit Yosef (book)

Title of the romanized Hebrew newspaper ha Savuja ha Palestini, shows part of the romanization method of Itamar Ben-Avi. 1929.

Beit Yosef (בית יוסף) (also transliterated Beth Yosef), written by Rabbi Joseph Karo, is a long and detailed commentary on the Arba'ah Turim ("Tur") by Jacob ben Asher.

The Shulchan Aruch, which Rabbi Karo wrote later in his life, is a condensation of its rulings.