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CHAIN OF MESORAH

HALACHA

CONNECTED TO SINAI

PART II
BASIC APPROACH TO STANDARD TEXTS

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 Text of Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam)
 Kesef Mishneh - Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575)
Rabbi Karo was born in Toledo, Spain. Rabbi Joseph Karo left Spain in 1492 as a
result of the Spanish expulsion of the Jews, and settled with his family in Turkey.
In 1536, he emigrated to Israel and became the chief rabbi of Safed, an important
center of Jewish learning and industry. and he died in Safed, Israel. He is also
called Maran ("our master") or Ha-Mechaber ("the Author," i.e. the halachic
author par excellence).
 Magid Mishneh - Rav Vidal of Tolosa
A student of the Rashba. His commentary included sources for the laws, plus
explaining why some laws preceded others and why some were omitted. He is
credited with dying a martyr’s death.
 Mishneh LaMelech – Rabbi Yehudah Rosannes (1657-1727)
“Second to the King” (based on Esther 10,3), is a collection of original interpretations
on a variety of issues
 Lechem Mishneh - Rabbi Avrohom di Boton (1545-1588)
Rav Avraham ben Moshe di Boton was born in in Salonika. His main work was a
commentary on the Yad Chazakah, Lechem Mishneh (Twice as much bread, see
Shmos 16,22). He traced the sources of the Rambam’s rulings attempting to
resolve the difficulties between the Yad Chazakah and the Talmud. After starting
his work, he came into contact with the sefer Kesef Mishneh, and then avoided
duplications.
 Migdal Oz - Rabbi Shem Tov ben Avrohom Ibn Gaon (1282-1340)
Migdal Oz (Strong Tower see Bereshis 9, 51) was the first work to systemically
identify sources for the Yad Chazakah. He defended the work from attack by
critics, cited Rambam’s responsa, and corrected textual errors.

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ILLUSTRATION - I
MISHNEH TORAH

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 Text of Tur – Rabbi Yaacov ben Asher
 Bais Chadash – Rabbi Yoel Sirkis (1561-1640)
Rav Yoel Sirkis served as the Rav of Belz, Brest-Litovsk, and Cracow. His Bayit
Chadash (Bach) is a major commentary on the Tur (second only to the Beit
Yoseif). He was the father in law of the Taz (who frequently refers to him).
 Bais Yosef - Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575)
His main work was the Beit Yoseif, a commentary on the Tur. This work was then
published in digest form as the Shulchan Aruch. Additionally, he wrote a
commentary on Yad Chazakah known as the Kesef Mishna, and a set of
responsa, Avkat Rocheil is attributed to him as well.
 Perisha - Rav Yehoshua Falk
Katz (1550-1614)
Rav Yehoshua Falk Katz served as the Rosh Yeshiva in Lemberg. He was the
author of the twin commentaries Perisha and Derisha on the Tur.
 Derisha - Rav Yehoshua Falk Katz (1550-1614)

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ILLUSTRATION - II
TUR


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 Text of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim - Rabbi Yosef Karo & Rabbi Moshe Isserles
 Taz - Rabbi Dovid ben Shmuel HaLevi (1586-1667)
Son-in-law of the Bach, he was the Rav of Posen. Author of the Turei Zahav (Golden
Rows) a major commentary on most of Shulchan Aruch. He attempted to reestablish
the original decisions of Rabbi Yosef Karo, refuting criticisms and bringing order to
the commentaries. He often disagreed with the Shach.
 Magen Avrohom - Rabbi Avrohom Gombiner (1637-1683)
Rav Avraham Avli ben Chaim HaLevi Gombiner was born in Kalish in 1633. His main
work, the Magen Avraham is one of the main commentaries to the Shulchan Aruch.
He also authored a commentary to the works of the Ba'alei Tosafot on Seder Nezikin.
 Machtzis HaShekel – Rabbi Shmuel ben Natan HaLevi Klein (1724-1806)
 Shaari Teshuvah – Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Margolis
“Gates of Repentance”, provides a digest of responsa written after the Shulchan Aruch.
 Be’er Heitiv – Rabbi Yehudah ben Shimon Askenazi (1730-1770)
Maggid of Lvov and Rabbi of Frankfort
 Hagahas Rak”a – Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761-1837)
Rav Akiva ben Moshe Eiger was born in Hungary. His many works included
commentaries and glosses on the Talmud, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, a set
of responsa, and the Gilyon HaShas, a minor commentary on the Talmud which
references sources around the Talmud and now appears on the standard page of the
Babylonian Talmud. Among his many students was Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, one of
the early Rabbis of Neo-Orthodoxy (the forerunner of today's Orthodox Judaism). He
passed away in Posen.
 Beiur HaGra – Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman “Vilna Gaon” (1720-1797)
Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon or G"RA, is one of
the most dominating figures of halachic Judaism since the Shulchan Aruch. Born in
Brisk (Brest-Litovsk), he was the author of countless works in all areas of Rabbinic
literature, including Aderet Eliyahu on the Torah, a commentary on the Mishna, and
commentaries on both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. He also wrote
commentaries on the Mishne Torah, as well as on the Shulchan Aruch. Demonstrating
his versatility and familiarity with all areas of Jewish knowledge, he penned a work
on the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the main kabbalistic books. He was the student of the
Pnei Moshe, as the teacher of, among others, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Volozhin
 Levush Sgrad (Robes of Office) – Rabbid Dovid Shlomo Eibeschutz ( -1806)
 Yad Ephraim – Rabbi Ephraim Zalman (1762-1828)
Rabbi Ephraim was one of the greatest Talmudic scholars of his time. In his
youth he served briefly in the rabbinate but then settled in Brody and went into
business. Though highly successful his main interest remained Torah learning
and scholarship and his many published works established him in the first
rank of scholars. He corresponded with scholars such as Rabbi Ezekiel
Landau. Rabbi Ephraim established a yeshiva in his house and served as its
head. One of his disciples was Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chayot. Rabbi Ephraim
became the rare prototype of one who successfully combined great wealth
with great learning. He was well-versed in Kabbalah. He was involved in a
controversy with Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berdichev over Yehoshua Heschel
Zoref’s book HaZoref. Rabbi Ephraim demonstrated its Shabbatean character
and was thus able to prevent its publication.Rabbi Ephraim’s most popular
work is the Mateh Ephraim containing the laws of Elul and Tishrei.
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ILLUSTRATION - III
SHULCHAN ARUCH – ORACH CHAIM




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 Text of Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah - Rabbi Yosef Karo & Rabbi Moshe Isserles
 Taz - Rabbi Dovid ben Shmuel HaLevi (1586-1667)
Son-in-law of the Bach, he was the Rav of Posen. Author of the Turei Zahav (Golden
Rows) a major commentary on most of Shulchan Aruch. He attempted to reestablish
the original decisions of Rabbi Yosef Karo, refuting criticisms and bringing order to
the commentaries. He often disagreed with the Shach.
 Sifsei HaChachumim “Shach” - Rabbi Shabse ben Meir HaCohen (1622-1663)
Rav Shabbtai ben Meir HaKohein was born in Vilna. His main work Siftei Kohein, is one
of the two main commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (along with Taz). He also
authored the Nekudot HaKesef, a response to the Taz (the name of this work is a pun
on Shir HaShirim 1:11).
 Beiur HaGra – Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman “Vilna Gaon” (1720-1797)
Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon or G"RA, is one of
the most dominating figures of halachic Judaism since the Shulchan Aruch. Born in
Brisk (Brest-Litovsk), he was the author of countless works in all areas of Rabbinic
literature, including Aderet Eliyahu on the Torah, a commentary on the Mishna, and
commentaries on both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. He also wrote
commentaries on the Mishne Torah, as well as on the Shulchan Aruch. Demonstrating
his versatility and familiarity with all areas of Jewish knowledge, he penned a work
on the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the main kabbalistic books. He was the student of the
Pnei Moshe, as the teacher of, among others, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Volozhin
 Chidushi Rak”a – Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761-1837)
Rav Akiva ben Moshe Eiger was born in Hungary. His many works included
commentaries and glosses on the Talmud, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, a set
of responsa, and the Gilyon HaShas, a minor commentary on the Talmud which
references sources around the Talmud and now appears on the standard page of the
Babylonian Talmud. Among his many students was Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, one of
the early Rabbis of Neo-Orthodoxy (the forerunner of today's Orthodox Judaism). He
passed away in Posen.
 Be’er Heitiv – Rabbi Yehudah ben Shimon Askenazi (1730-1770)
Maggid of Lvov and Rabbi of Frankfort
 Pischei Teshuvah – Rav Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaacov Eisenstadt (1813-1863)
Rav of Utian. Pischei Teshuvah (Opportunities of repentance) a supplement to the
Shulchan Aruch providing the current responsa after its publication.
 Pri Megadim – Rav Yosef ben Meir Teumim (1727-1792)
Two-part commentary on Shulchan Aruch. Also author of Rosh Yosef, chidushim on
several parts of Talmud.

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ILLUSTRATION - IV
SHULCHAN ARUCH – YOREH DEAH


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 Text of Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer - Rabbi Yosef Karo & Rabbi Moshe
Isserles
 Bais Shmuel – Rabbi Shmuel Phoebus (1650-1700)
 Chelkas Mechokek – Rabbi Moshe Lim (1605-1658)
Chelkas Mechokek (A Portion of a Ruler see Devarim 33, 21) was the first commentary
written on Even HaEzer. It provides commentary and resolves apparent contridictions.
It concludes on paragraph #126 due to the author’s death.
 Be’er Heitiv – Rabbi Yehudah ben Shimon Askenazi (1730-1770)
Maggid of Lvov and Rabbi of Frankfort
 Taz - Rabbi Dovid ben Shmuel HaLevi (1586-1667)
Son-in-law of the Bach, he was the Rav of Posen. Author of the Turei Zahav (Golden
Rows) a major commentary on most of Shulchan Aruch. He attempted to reestablish
the original decisions of Rabbi Yosef Karo, refuting criticisms and bringing order to
the commentaries. He often disagreed with the Shach.
 Hagahas Rak”a – Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761-1837)
Rav Akiva ben Moshe Eiger was born in Hungary. His many works included
commentaries and glosses on the Talmud, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, a set
of responsa, and the Gilyon HaShas, a minor commentary on the Talmud which
references sources around the Talmud and now appears on the standard page of the
Babylonian Talmud. Among his many students was Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, one of
the early Rabbis of Neo-Orthodoxy (the forerunner of today's Orthodox Judaism). He
passed away in Posen.
 Beiur HaGra – Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman “Vilna Gaon” (1720-1797)
Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon or G"RA, is one of
the most dominating figures of halachic Judaism since the Shulchan Aruch. Born in
Brisk (Brest-Litovsk), he was the author of countless works in all areas of Rabbinic
literature, including Aderet Eliyahu on the Torah, a commentary on the Mishna, and
commentaries on both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. He also wrote
commentaries on the Mishne Torah, as well as on the Shulchan Aruch. Demonstrating
his versatility and familiarity with all areas of Jewish knowledge, he penned a work
on the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the main kabbalistic books. He was the student of the
Pnei Moshe, as the teacher of, among others, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Volozhin
 Pri Megadim – Rav Yosef ben Meir Teumim (1727-1792)
Two-part commentary on Shulchan Aruch. Also author of Rosh Yosef, chidushim on
several parts of Talmud.
 Ezer Mekodesh – Rabbi Avrohom Dovid Wahrman (1771-1841)
Also authored Eshel Avrohom to Orach Chaim and Kesef HaDedoshim to Choshen
Mishpat

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ILLUSTRATION - V
SHULCHAN ARUCH – EVEN HAEZER

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 Text of Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat - Rabbi Yosef Karo & Rabbi Moshe
Isserles
 Me’iras Einayim – Rabbi Yeshoshua Falk (1150-1614)
 Sifsei HaChachumim “Shach” - Rabbi Shabse ben Meir HaCohen (1622-1663)
Rav Shabbtai ben Meir HaKohein was born in Vilna. His main work Siftei Kohein, is one
of the two main commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (along with Taz). He also
authored the Nekudot HaKesef, a response to the Taz (the name of this work is a pun
on Shir HaShirim 1:11).
 Beiur HaGra – Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman “Vilna Gaon” (1720-1797)
Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon or G"RA, is one of
the most dominating figures of halachic Judaism since the Shulchan Aruch. Born in
Brisk (Brest-Litovsk), he was the author of countless works in all areas of Rabbinic
literature, including Aderet Eliyahu on the Torah, a commentary on the Mishna, and
commentaries on both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. He also wrote
commentaries on the Mishne Torah, as well as on the Shulchan Aruch. Demonstrating
his versatility and familiarity with all areas of Jewish knowledge, he penned a work
on the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the main kabbalistic books. He was the student of the
Pnei Moshe, as the teacher of, among others, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Volozhin
 Taz - Rabbi Dovid ben Shmuel HaLevi (1586-1667)
Son-in-law of the Bach, he was the Rav of Posen. Author of the Turei Zahav (Golden
Rows) a major commentary on most of Shulchan Aruch. He attempted to reestablish
the original decisions of Rabbi Yosef Karo, refuting criticisms and bringing order to
the commentaries. He often disagreed with the Shach.
 Be’er Heitiv – Rabbi Yehudah ben Shimon Askenazi (1730-1770)
Maggid of Lvov and Rabbi of Frankfort
 Pischei Teshuvah – Rav Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaacov Eisenstadt (1813-1863)
Rav of Utian. Pischei Teshuvah (Opportunities of repentance) a supplement to the
Shulchan Aruch providing the current responsa after its publication.
 Nesivas HaMishpat - Rabbi Yaacov ben Yaacov Moshe of Lissa (1759-1832)
“Path of Justice” (Mishlei 8, 20) has one section called Beiurim, devoted to a straight
forward explanation, and a second section called Chidushim, an extensive discussion
of various topics. Also authored Chavas Deas on Yoreh Deah, Derech Chaim (a
siddur with compilation of various daily laws) and about 15 other books.
 Chidushei HaPhla’ah – Rabbi Pinchas haLevi Horowitz
Chief Rabbi of Frankfort, was very active in opposing the early Reform movement
 Ketzos HaChoshen – Rabbi Aryeh Leib ben Yosef haCohen Heller (1745-1813)
Also authored Avneim Meluim on Even haEzer and Shev Shmatsa on Talmud

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ILLUSTRATION - VI
SHULCHAN ARUCH – CHOSHEN MISHPAT




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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kaplan, Aryeh THE HANDBOOK OF JEWISH THOUGHT


Schimmel, H. Chaim THE ORAL LAW
Fendel, Zechariah LEGACY OF SINAI
Fendel, Zechariah CHARTING THE MESORAH
Bendory, Dovid THE UNBROKEN CHAIN OF TORAH
Kantor, Mattis CODEX JUDAICA, CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX OF JEWISH HISTORY
Artscroll History Series THE RISHONIM
Artscroll History Series THE EARLY ACHARONIM
Biographies of Gedolim http://www.tzemachdovid.org/gedolim/index._alphabetical.html
Mini-Biographies of Gedolim http://www.chaburas.org/
Biographies of Rabbis http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/default.htm

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