Rama

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The rulings of Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rama, were accepted across Europe, even against those of the Maharshal; although, there is room to be strict like the Maharshal[1]

Purpose

  1. There are three primary cases in which the Rama writes a comment in Shulchan Aruch, according to the Kenesset HaGedolah:
    1. The Beit Yosef did not decide between two positions, so the Rama will add a comment deciding which side to take or also not deciding.
    2. The Rama accepts the position rejected by the Shulchan Aruch
    3. A Sevara mentioned in Beit Yosef was omitted from Shulchan Aruch, and the Rama informs us of it, regardless of its acceptance.[2]

Writing Style

  1. When the Rama writes that "Yesh Machmirim" (יש חמירים), it means he leans towards those who are lenient, according to the Chavot Yair.[3]
  2. A ruling presented Stam, without "Yesh Omrim" is Halacha Pesukah, an unequivocal ruling,[4] while it doesn't mean the Shulchan Aruch agrees, as there isn't sufficient indication in his words.[5]
  3. On the other hand, a ruling that opens with "Yesh Omrim" (יש אומרים) means the Rama is being stringent for this other position, although, the statement isn't necessarily working off of the Shulchan Aruch.[6]

Other Works, Contradictions, & Chronology

  1. Although the Rama occasionally discusses his comments on Shulchan Aruch in his responsa, the Be'er Sheva contends that it's possible that some of the Teshuvot were written before his glosses on Shulchan Aruch. Therefore, one would follow the comments to Shulchan Aruch over the responsa, if there's a contradiction. Alas, the Yad Malachi is unconvinced by this baseless claim.[7]
  2. The Rama wrote a monograph on Issur veHetter called Torat HaChatat along with a condensed version before he wrote his glosses on Shulchan Aruch. Torat HaAsham by the Tosafot Yom Tov and Damesek Eliezer are two of its commentaries.[8] Torat Chatat follows the Simanim structure of Shaarei Dura, which the Rama intended to replace, due to the fact that the Shaarei Dura only wrote Chiddushim that he though people in his generation didn't already know. Also, although Shaarei Dura was intended to be a concise guide, the many commentaries on it added so much that each topic is long and confusing. Therefore, the Rama wrote Torat Chatat to cover the basics in a terse way that highlights the practical Halachot one must know.[9]
  3. He also wrote a work on Korbanot and Middot HaMikdash called Torat HaOlah.[10]

Sources

  1. Shem HaGedolim (Gedolim, Mem 98; Sefarim, Heh 25)
  2. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 21)
  3. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
  4. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
  5. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 19)
  6. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
  7. Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 20). See Sdei Chemed Klalei HaPoskim 17:7
  8. Shem HaGedolim (Sefarim, Taf 37, 40)
  9. Introduction to Mossad HaRav Kook edition
  10. Shem HaGedolim (Sefarim, Taf 51)