- 1 Overview
- 2 Purpose
- 3 Acceptance of Shulchan Aruch
- 4 Chronology of Writings
- 5 Klalei Beit Yosef
- 6 Klalei Bedek HaBayit
- 7 Klalei Shulchan Aruch
- 8 Maggid Mesharim
- 9 Works Not Available to Rav Yosef Karo
- 10 Works No Longer Extant
- 11 Klalei HaRama
- 12 Further Reading
- 13 Sources
בית יוסף - הקדמה
- Rav Yosef Kapach: The custom in Teiman was to follow the Rambam almost exclusively.
- As a result, the Beit Yosef was written on the Tur, to:
- Source the Halachot in the writings of Chazal
- Include the reasonings of the cited Rishonim
- Fill in those approaches of Rishonim that were omitted
The Remarkable Derech HaPesak
- Also because it's my home in Olam HaZeh and Olam HaBa.
Acceptance of Shulchan Aruch
Chronology of Writings
- Authorities are uncertain which work was written first, Kessef Mishneh or Beit Yosef. The number of cross citations from one book to another are too numerous in each direction to be convincing of one side or the other and, in fact, lead the Shulchan Gavoah to determine that Rav Yosef Karo worked on both works simultaneously The Yad Malachi, however, argues that the Kessef Mishneh must have been completed after the Beit Yosef, because, in Kessef Mishneh, it says that the Shemitta is in year 5327, and in the end of Beit Yosef, it says the Sefer was completed in the year 5314. It's certainly possible, though, that he worked on both simultaneously and therefore referenced the Kessef Mishneh manuscript in Beit Yosef. The Chidah disproves this claim, because the first printing of Beit Yosef was in 5310, and Kessef Mishneh was complete but not printed until the end of Rav Yosef Karo's life. As long as he was alive, he continued to work on the Sefer, and he passed away in middle of the printing endeavor.
- Many postulate that Shulchan Aruch was written after Bedek HaBayit, as the later positions taken in Bedek HaBayit appear in Shulchan Aruch, as well. Maamar Mordechai extrapolates that when Shulchan Aruch doesn't align with Bedek HaBayit, it means he retracted [again].
- Rav Yosef Karo wrote a commentary called Klalei HaGemara on the Sefer Halichot Olam, which discusses Klalei HaTalmud. The Beit David claims Maran wrote the Klalei HaGemara later in life after completing his other works, but the Yad Malachi thinks the reverse is more likely. The Chida sides with the Beit David and adds that when Maran wrote his other Sefarim, he kept a list of Klalim that he extrapolated along the way and that eventually became Klalei HaGemara. 
Klalei Beit Yosef
See the above highlights from the introduction to Beit Yosef.
- Given that the Rosh, Mordechai. Samag, Samak, Sefer HaTerumah, and Hagahot Maimoniot all draw from the Baalei HaTosafot, the complete list of citations regarding Halachot they all write of is omitted in favor of just citing the location in Tosafot. Therefore, one shouldn't be concerned that the those sources were not seen by the Beit Yosef.
- Due to the fact that the Shu"t HaRashba printed in the times of the Beit Yosef was mistakenly attributed to the Ramban, the Beit Yosef refers to it as Shu"t HaRamban, even though he knew it was really the Rashba's. This way, one who seeks to look up the source will know which Sefer to open.
- The Kenesset HaGedolah laments how sometimes the Beit Yosef will quote another Rishon quoting the Rambam, when the Rambam's ruling is already written explicitly. He suggests that the secondary source must have added an additional dimension to the idea to warrant its inclusion.
- Rav Yosef Karo usually rules stringently by Safek DeOraita, so it's astonishing when he doesn't.
- The Beit Yosef does not employ the mechanism of Kim Li to determine a ruling but rather, if none of the three Amudei Horaah elicits an opinion, he finds one of the commonly accepted Poskim ("Mefursamim") who did and rules like him. Some take issue with his exclusion of Kim Li in favor of his Amudei Horaah rule in monetary cases.
- When many Rishonim share a position, the Beit Yosef does not list off all of their names but rather shares it in the name of the most notable Posek who says it.
- According to the Kenesset HaGedolah, the style of the Beit Yosef is to collect sevarot, so sometimes opposite ideas will be separated by an "Aval" but not always, because his intention is to inform us of the spectrum of opinions and for the Posek to decide.
Klalei Bedek HaBayit
- The emendations of the Bedek HaBayit were not always printed on the right Siman in Beit Yosef.
- The Rama didn't see the Bedek HaBayit, because it was printed after he died.
- When faced with a Bedek HaBayit that permits something prohibited in the Beit Yosef, the Kenesset HaGedolah argues it doesn't indicate retraction: the Beit Yosef is a comprehensive compilation of all the opinions, so he was just filling it in but doesn't necessarily hold of it.
- Some of the pamphlets of Bedek HaBayit were lost, which may account for contradictions between Beit Yosef and Shulchan Aruch, as the retracting statements never made it to the page. The Chida postulates that only 1/50 of the actual Bedek HaBayit is extant.
Klalei Shulchan Aruch
- The intention of Maran and the Rama was for Shulchan Aruch to serve as a tool for review by those who have already learned the Tur and Beit Yosef. The purpose is not to rule from the sefer itself. The Sma laments how in his day, centuries ago, many people wanted to learn the entire Torah on one foot and would rule from the Shulchan Aruch alone. The Beit Yosef himself himself makes this point. As the Sdei Chemed puts it, if you don't know the source you won't understand the din. The Acharonim, notably the Maharsha, term such mistaken people "destroyers of the world," but nowadays with the many commentaries on the page of Shulchan Aruch, there's a strong argument to be made that this isn't as relevant of a concern, because the reasoning and source will be explained among the commentators, as well.
- The Kenesset HaGedolah postulates all rulings in the Beit Yosef are intended for all Jewish communities, while those in Shulchan Aruch are only intended for Eretz Yisrael. This would even be plausible to say between two contradictory statements in Shulchan Aruch itself.
Inconsistencies with Beit Yosef
- Often times, Maran will omit from Shulchan Aruch a nunber of rulings cited in Beit Yosef, because, the Kenesset HaGedolah explains, he didn't find these rulings in those of other Poskim. They were cited in Beit Yosef, because the goal of Beit Yosef is to gather all the opinions. Others say he retracted his position While others yet insist that the content omitted is still accepted.
- Sometimes, Maran records rulings or customs in Shulchan Aruch that do not appear in Beit Yosef, because he discovered them after it was printed.
Methodology & Writing Style
- According to the Sma, even though Maran shows astonishment regarding a certain Rishon's opinion, he still records it in Shulchan Aruch despite his question. The Kenesset HaGedolah does not seem to assume this way, though. Ultimately, the Sdei Chemed does insist that if something that Maran questioned in Beit Yosef is omitted from Shulchan Aruch, it is an indication of nonacceptance.
- If Maran stipulates that something is only permissible given a certain parameter yet he himself elsewhere writes that that parameter isn't necessary, his intention here is just to say that with this additional factor everyone is lenient.
- When Maran writes "דברי פלוני נראין," he concurs to rule stringently but not for that Posek's reasoning. Additionally, "ויש לאסור כסברא פלוני" means he rules that way and agrees with the reasoning, too.
- Maran always records the ruling in the original articulation of the Posek it comes from, even if there is some difficulty in his language that may even have practical ramifications. Essentially, he leaves room to inject whatever explanation is given for that Posek's words to the ruling in Shulchan Aruch, as well.
Stam veYesh (סתם ויש)
|כשהי"א לקולא||כשהי"א לחומרא||עיקר||שיטה|
|יש אומרים||צמח צדק (הקדמון)|
|סתם||גט פשוט, יד מלאכי|
|יש להקל בהפסד מרובה||סתם||משאת בנימין, פרי חדש|
|יש להקל בדרנן בהפ"מ||סתם לגמרי||סתם||ש"ך, (חוץ מהחי"א ויד מלאכי דמבינים דס"ל כרמ"ע מפאנו), הגר"ע יוסף|
|יש להקל בהפסד מרובה||סתם לגמרי||סתם||חיד"א בדעת הש"ע (ע"פ הגר"ע יוסף)|
|סתם לגמרי (לא כ' לגבי דרבנן)||סתם לגמרי||סתם||ב"ח, פר"מ, שמש ומגן (הגר"ש משאש)|
|סתם לגמרי||סתם||מהרי"ט, רמ"ע מפאנו (ע"פ חוות יאיר, אליה רבה, והגר"ע יוסף),
חוות יאיר, אליה רבה, ישיב משה
|יש להקל בהפסד מרובה||יש לחוש לי"א||סתם||כנסת הגדולה|
|יש לחוש לי"א||סתם||שלחן גבוה, רמ"ע מפאו (ע"פ היד מלאכי והגינת ורדים והחיד"א)|
|יש להקל בהפסד מרובה||יש לחוש לכתחילה,
ומקילים כסתם במקום הפסד אפ' הפסד מועט
|סתם||חיד"א בדעת הש"ע (ע"פ הכה"ח ואור לציון),
כה"ח בדעת הש"וע ולהלכה גבי רה"ר, ואפשר שכן דעת האור לציון (הגרב"צ אבא שאול)
|סתם לגמרי אפ' בהפמ"מ||יש לחוש, ומקילן כסתם רק בהפ"מ||סתם||חיד"א להלכה מקבלת רבותיו, זב"צ, בא"ח, כה"ח, (ואפשר שכן דעת האור לציון)|
|יש לחוש, ומקילין כסתם רק בהפ"מ||סתם||הלכות קטנות בקבלה מרבותיו|
- The Kenesset HaGedolah writes that Shulchan Aruch follows the Stam unequivocally and unabashedly and only presents the Yesh to give Kavod to the Rishon who maintains that position, unless indicated otherwise. The Ginat Veradim says it's a dispensation to allow later Chachamim who invest themselves in the Halacha and come to the conclusion of the Yesh Omrim to follow it. Many Acharonim accept this Klal, including the Rama miFano, Bach, Shach, Pri Chadash, Beit David, Elyah Rabbah, Chelkat Mechokek, and Yad Malachi.
- A Stam VeYesh that is reversed elsewhere, meaning the Stam here is the Yesh there and the Yesh here is the Stam there, leaves us uncertain how to proceed.
Yesh veYesh (יש ויש)
- There are three basic Shitot in Yesh veYesh (יש אומרים ויש אומרים): The Halacha follows the first, the second, or whichever one the Posek chooses.
- "Yesh veYesh" means "Yesh Omrim X veYesh Omrim Y," but "Yesh vePloni," such as "Yesh Omrim X, veHaRambam Omer Y" would not qualify under this rule; rather, Maran is highlighting the opinion of a Yachid that we do not follow.
- When Maran presents the first opinion in the plural "Yesh Omrim" (יש אומרים) and the second in the singular "Yesh Mi SheOmer" (ויש מי שאומר), the Ginat Veradim and Kenesset HaGedolah understand that he accepts the first position and is implying that the latter one is a Yachid.
- If there's an added layer of distinction to be made, it will sometimes be appended as a Yesh Omrim to a Stam, not because it's a Machaloket but because the distinction wasn't exicit in the first opinion's presentation.
- When Maran appends "ויש חולקים" to a Halacha, some say he means to disagree with the position he just presented and side with the Cholkim, while others disagree and say he would have written it as Yesh Omrim if that was the case.
- Sma writes that Maran and the Rama use the phrase "Yesh Mi SheOmer" (יש מי שאומר) in the singular to introduce a Rishon's position that is accepted but not mentioned by anyone else. In other words, such formulations are not a Stam vaYesh or Yesh veYesh. The Kenesset HaGedolah and others accept this Klal, but the Yad Malachi argues strongly, however, that this cannot always be true, given numerous contradictory examples. Therefore, he relegates the Sma's rule to be a general one that is true most but not all of the time. Finally, there are a number of Acharonim cited by the Yad Malachi who categorically reject this Klal, but the majority seem to indeed accept it, Chida and Maamar Mordechai included.
- A number of Acharonim, including the Maharikash, R' Shmuel Abuhab, and even Rav Chaim Vital claim or heard that Shulchan Aruch was written at the end of Rav Yosef Karo's life, which accounts for contradictions and inaccuracies that crept in. They claim either he wrote it himself and was weak and old, or students wrote it for him or on their own. The printing dates suffice to trounce this claim. The Maharitatz writes that the Shulchan Aruch was written for laymen and Amei HaAretz, which caused the Yad Malachi to call attention to the introduction to Shulchan Aruch where Maran writes exactly not so and to the testimonies of the Ginat Veradim and Kenesset HaGedolah to the grand acceptance of Shulchan Aruch. Some argue the proof from the Hakdama is invalid, as it could be referring to one who uses both Shulchan Aruch and Beit Yosef. The Maamar Mordechai 38:4 defends the Maharitatz as being taken out of context.
Works Not Available to Rav Yosef Karo
- The Ra'ah's Bedek HaBayit was not available to Maran.
- Maran never saw Piskei or Chiddushei HaRiaz or Shiltei HaGibborim.
Works No Longer Extant
- In addition to the aforementioned missing sections of Bedek HaBayit, Rav Yosef Karo wrote a commentary on those of Rashi and Ramban, a commentary on Mishnayot, and responsa on all four sections of Shulchan Aruch, though we only have the Shu"t Beit Yosef on Even HaEzer today. The Chida saw the other sections of responsa in manuscript
- There are three primary cases in which the Rama writes a comment in Shulchan Aruch, according to the Kenesset HaGedolah:
- The Rama accepts the position rejected by the Shulchan Aruch
- A Sevara mentioned in Beit Yosef was omitted from Shulchan Aruch, and the Rama informs us of it, regardless of its acceptance.
- When the Rama writes that "Yesh Machmirim" (יש חמירים), it means he leans towards those who are lenient, according to the Chavot Yair.
- A ruling presented Stam, without "Yesh Omrim" is Halacha Pesukah, an unequivocal ruling, while it doesn't mean the Shulchan Aruch agrees, as there isn't sufficient indication in his words.
- 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.
- 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.
- Yad Malachi, especially the Machon Yerushalayim annotated edition
- Sdei Chemed, Klalei HaPoskim Siman 13 (vol. 9, page 156, in some editions)
- Eretz Hayyim, Kuntres HaKlalim, by R' Hayyim Setthon
- Ohr LeTzion vol. 2 "Yesodot Darkei Horaah."
- Ein Yitzchak vol. 3, by Rav Yitzchak Yosef
- Hakdama to Darkei Moshe, Shu"t HaRama Siman 48
- Hakdama to Chullin
- Hakdama to Shtilei Zeitim
- Revid HaZahav Siman 26, page 37
- See Iggerot Moshe Yoreh Deah vol. 3 Siman 117
- Pesachim 51a
- See Beur Halacha 468 s.v. Vechumrei HaMakom
- Rav Chaim David HaLevi (Shu"t Aseh Lecha Rav vol. 7 Siman 4) defending Rav Ovadia (Shu"t Yechave Da'at 1:12) against a question by Rav Avraham Sherman (Niv HaMidrashia vol. 18-19 Iyyar 5745). He continues to point out that the Chazon Ish's illustration (Zeraim, Sheviit 23:5) of the Minhag evolving from the following Rambam, to the Shulchan Aruch, and then to Acharonim is only relevant to Ashkenazim, who did not accept the Shulchan Aruch's rulings on themselves and their descendants, unlike the Sepharadim.
- Shulchan Gavoah (Klalim Siman 13)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaKessef Mishneh 1-2)
- Kenesset HaGedolah and Ginat Veradim cited in Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 15)
- Maamar Mordechai 27:1
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 42)
- Ein Zocher Lamed 14
- Hakdama to Beit Yosef
- Hakdama to Beit Yosef
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 35)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 36)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 38)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 40)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 41)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 39)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 39)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Beit Yosef 37)
- Shem HaGedolim (Gedolim, Yud 165)
- Sma Hakdama
- Shu"t Beit Yosef Even HaEzer Dinei Gittin Siman 4
- Sdei Chemed (Klalei HaPoskim 13:2)
- Chiddushei Aggadot Sotah 22a
- Pitchei Teshuva Yoreh Deah 242. Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 1) and Matnat Yado ad loc.
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 3)
- Minchat Yitzchak vol. 8 Siman 31 extends to Rama also.
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 5) and Matnat Yado ad loc.
- Sdei Chemed Klalei HaPoskim 13:4
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 7), Matnat Yado fn. 25
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 8)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 9)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 11)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shaar HaPoskim 17)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 17). See Sdei Chemed Klalei HaPoskim 13:8, Minchat Yitzchak 10:8.
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shaar HaPoskim 18)
- The three positions are:
- Ginat Veradim interestingly posits you can choose.
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 14
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 6)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 10)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 12)
- Matnat Yado fn. 55, 58
- Yad Malachi (Klalei Shulchan Aruch 2), Matnat Yado ad loc
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaTur 15)
- Hakdama to Shu"t Beit Yosef (Even HaEzer)
- Shem HaGedolim (Gedolim, Yud 165)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 21)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 19)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 18)
- Yad Malachi (Klalei HaRama 20). See Sdei Chemed Klalei HaPoskim 17:7