Shulchan Aruch

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The Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך‎, literally: "Set Table") (also Shulhan Aruch or Shulhan Arukh), known in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is a codification, or written manual, of halacha (Jewish law), authored and published by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century. Together with its commentaries, it is generally considered the most widely accepted and authoritative compilation of halacha since the Mishneh Torah or even the Talmud itself.

The halachic rulings in the Shulchan Aruch generally follow Sephardic law and customs whereas Ashkenazi Jews will generally follow the halachic rulings of Moshe Isserlis (known as the Rema) who added his glosses to the Shulchan Aruch, noting where the Sephardic and Ashkenazic customs differ. These glosses are widely referred to as the mappah (literally: the "tablecloth") to the Shulchan Aruch's "Set Table". Almost all published editions of the Shulchan Aruch include this gloss, and the term "Shulchan Aruch" has come to denote both Rav Karo's work as well as Rav Isserlis', with Karo usually referred to as "the mechaber" ("author") and Isserlis as "the Rema".

Contents

Structure

The Shulchan Aruch (and its forerunner, the Beit Yosef) follow the same structure as Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher. These books were written from the standpoint of Sephardi Minhag, other works entitled Shulchan Aruch or Kitzur Shulcan Aruch cited below are written from the standpoint of Ashkenazi Minhag. There are four sections, each subdivided into many chapters and paragraphs.

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