Shulchan Aruch

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Schulchan Aruch, first edition Venice 1565

As Shulchan Aruch ( Hebrew שולחן ערוך"Set table") is the authoritative summary of religious regulations ( halachoth ) of Judaism , written by Josef Karo in the 16th century and subsequently revised by several generations of rabbis .


All commandments and prohibitions generally described in sufficient detail for everyday use are based on the Torah , on the associated Midrashim and especially on the Babylonian Talmud . The intention of the author and the editors was to provide clear assistance for the (Jewish) layperson in the set of rules of religious Jewish life, which (due to its complexity) can only be understood by scholars.

Other older works also form sources of Jewish law, secondary sources were later Tosefta (additions to the Mishnah ), Siphra (commentary on Leviticus ) and Siphre (commentary on Numbers and Deuteronomy ). The Shulchan Aruch thus forms a written legal regulation recognized worldwide by all Jews for daily use , in which smaller variants appeared in their creation (see Vilnius edition), but this no longer takes place recently.

About the author

The Shulchan Aruch was written by Joseph Karo (1488–1575), Rabbi in Safed , who already wrote the extensive commentary Bejit Josef ( Hebrew בית יוסף) wrote about the work Arba'a Turim by Jacob ben Ascher . He worked on the Schulchan Aruch , which was a shorter and reduced summary of his larger work, Bet Josef , for over 20 years. The first edition appeared in Venice in 1565 .


The Shulchan Aruch follows the Arba'a Turim (literally "four rows") in its division into four major subject areas:

  • Orach Chajim , Hebrew אורח חיים, d. H. “The way to life” (cf. Psalm 16, 11) contains the legal provisions on the daily domestic and synagogue life of the Jew throughout the year. This section is divided into 27 chapters with 697 paragraphs, each of which has several parts.
  • Jore De'a , Hebrew יורה דעה, d. that is, “he teaches knowledge” or “teacher of knowledge” ( Isa 28,9  EU ), treats in 35 chapters with 403 paragraphs Jewish food and purification laws, mourning laws and many other religious regulations.
  • Ha-eser , in Hebrew אבן העזר, d. H. “Stone of Help” ( 1 Sam 4.1  EU and more) deals with the marriage laws in 5 chapters with 178 paragraphs.
  • Choshen Ha-Mishpat , Hebrew חושן משפט, d. H. “Breast shield of the law” ( Ex 28.15.30  EU ) contains the entire civil and criminal law in 29 chapters with 427 paragraphs.

Reception history

Since differences between the legal customs of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim had developed on some subordinate points , Moses Isserles , who was rabbi in Krakow from 1550 until his death in 1572 , also wrote a commentary on the "Arba'a Turim" under the title Darkej Moshe had written additions and corrections to all four parts of the Shulchan Aruch, which received the same reputation among Western Jews as Karo's words.

Soon after the preface by Karo, but also by Isserles, the commentary on the Schulchan departments began, the oldest being from Isserles 'students, such as Sefer me'iroth' enajim (Sma), explanation of Choschen Ha-Mishpat ; Chelqath mechoqeq , explanation of Eben Ha-Eser . Then Turej Sahav , a commentary on all parts and Siftej Kohen (chess) on Jore De'a and Choschen Ha-Mischpat . Then, Magen Abraham , explanation of Orach Chaim and, as the 6th prayer, Shmuel to Even Ha-Eser . After that there were countless other comments up to the present. Among the Ashkenazi Jews, the summarizing Kizzur Schulchan Aruch (1870) by Rabbi Salomon Ganzfried (1804-1886) from Hungary received special recognition, among the Oriental Jews the Ben Ish Chai by Yosef Chaim (1832-1909) from Baghdad, who is also one Abstract depicting Shulchan Aruch . Later scholarly opinions were also included in the Kizzur Schulchan Aruch .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sol Scharfstein: Understanding Jewish Holidays and Customs - Historical and Contemporary , KTAV Publishing House, 1999, ISBN 0-88125-626-9 , p. 166

Web links

Commons : Schulchan Aruch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: The Text of the Shulchan Aruch  - Sources and Full Texts (Hebrew)