Commentary

Type: Commentary

  • Minor Commentaries to the Shulhan Arukh:
  • The outer margins of the printed Shulhan Arukh editions contain a variety of different commentaries and glosses by lesser-known authorities, usually printed in a tiny typeface. Most of these works cover only parts of the Shulhan Arukh. Examples of these commentaries include:

    Various Glosses by Rabbi Abraham David Wahrman of Buczacz

    This Galician scholar (1771-1841) composed separate glosses to three sections of the Shulhan 'Arukh:

    1. "Eshel Avraham" to Orah Hayyim
    2. "'Ezer Miqqodesh" to 'Even Ha-'Ezer
    3. "Kesef Ha-Qodashim" to Hoshen Mishpat.
    After achieving a reputation as a child prodigy and brilliant rabbinic scholar, he was converted to Hasidism by Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditshev, a development that aroused much controversy. He was a prolific author in several areas of Jewish religious literature.

    Hokhmat Sh'lomo by Rabbi Solomon Kluger

    Rabbi Kluger (1789-1869) was known as the "Preacher" (Maggid) of Brody, and by his acronym "Maharshak." He served for fifty years in the Rabbinate of Brody, and was the author of some 174 known books. He was a fierce defender of traditionalism against the onslaught of the modernistic "Enlightenment" ideology.

    His "Hokhmat Sh'lomo" [=wisdom of Solomon; cf. 1 Kings 5:10, 14, etc.] amply demonstrates his great erudition as he compares the views of different authorities and seeks to resolve apparent contradictions between them.

    Hiddushei [Novellae of] Rabbi Akiva Eger

    Rabbi Eger (1761-1837) was one of the foremost rabbinic authorities of his generation in central and eastern Europe. A prodigy, he founded a Talmudic academy at Markish-Friedland in 1790, where he accepted a rabbinic position and served as the chief rabbi of the Posen region. His decisions on matters of Jewish law (as expressed in his responsa) were sought by Jews throughout the world. He was a staunch opponent of the Enlightenment and Reform movements.

    Eger's glosses to the Shulhan Arukh, like his "Gilyon Ha-Sha"S" to the Talmud, consist largely of brief cross-references to other works that shed light on the current passage.

    Levushei Serad [=robes of office] by Rabbi Solomon-David Eybeschütz

    The author lived in central and eastern Europe, where he served as the head of rabbinical courts, and was known as an inspiring preacher. In 1809 he moved to Safed, Palestine, where he remained until his death in 1816. In addition to his Levushei Serad glosses to the Shulhan 'Arukh Yoreh D'eah, he composed various works on Hasidism.

    Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschütz
    Urim ve-Thummin and Kereti u-Feleti by Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschütz

    Eybeschütz (c. 1694 - 1794) lived in various European communities, including Prague, Metz, and the "Three Communities" of Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek. Author of some thirty works on the Talmud and Jewish law, he was also renowned as a preacher, and maintained good relations with the Catholic claergy. He was believed to be a supporter of the Messianic pretender Shabbetai Zvi, a fact which provoked an intense condemnation from Rabbi Jacob Emden in a controversy that split the rabbinic community of the time.

    His commentary to the Shulhan 'Arukh Hoshen Mishpat [the title means "lights and perfections"; cf. Exodus 28:30] is divided into two sections:

    1. The Urim privides a concise summary of the laws in the Shulhan 'Arukh accompanied by rulings of other authorities, and a condensation of his own conclusions in the Thummim.
    2. The Thummin is composed of complex analyses of related Talmudic sources and later writings. His intellectual agility and erudition are astounding.
    The Kereti and Peleti ["Cherethites and Pelethites"; cf. 2 Samuel 15:18, etc.] to Yoreh De'ah follows a similar format.

    Kezot Ha-Hoshen by Rabbi Arieh Leib ben Joseph Ha-Kohen Heller

    Rabbi Heller, from Stry in Galicia (died in 1813) set a model for subsequent studies in Jewish law in the original manner in which he applied analytical methods to the study of concepts in the halakhah. It is devoted to the theoretical examination of the material, rather than to practical legal decisions.

    The title of this work is taken from Exodus 28:23, etc. and means "the ends of the breastplate," an apt name for a commentary on Hoshen Mishpat.

    Rabbi Arieh also composed a commentary to 'Even Ha-'Ezer, entitled 'Avnei Millu'im ["stones to be set"; see Exodus 25:7]

    Netivot Ha-Mishpat by Rabbi Jacob ben Moses Jacob Lorbeerbaum of Lisa

    The author (c. 1760-1822) of this commentary to Hoshen Mishpat served in several communities, but is principally associated with Lisa; hence his epithet "Leeser." He was a prolific writer of books and commentaries on Jewish religious law.

    Netivot Mishpat ["the paths of justice"; Proverbs 8:20] is organized in a manner similar to Eybeschütz's "Urim ve-Thummim," with one section (Be'urim) devoted to a straightforward explanaiton of the Shulhan 'Arukh, and another (Hiddushim [novellae]), taken up by extensive analytical discussions of various topics. The Netivot Mishpat includes discussion and disgreements on Heller's Kezot Ha-Hoshen, to which the latter subsequently responded in a separate work. The study of Heller's and Lorbeerbaum's works exerted a powerful influence on the pedagogic approaches of the great Lithuanian academies.


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