Type: Commentary

  • Commentaries on the Shulhan 'Arukh's "Inner" Side
  • The "inner" side (i.e., the side nearest to the binding, farthest from the paper's edge) of the printed Shulhan Arukh editions will contain one of the following:
    1. To "'Orah Hayyim": Turei Zahav
    2. To "Yoreh De'ah": Turei Zahav
    3. To "Hoshen Mishpat": Sefer Me'irat 'Einayim
    4. To "Even Ha-'Ezer": Helkat Mehokek

    Turei Zahav

    The author of this commentary was Rabbi David ben Samuel Hallevi (1586-1667), a Ukrainian-born scholar (son-in-law of Rabbi Joel Sirkes) who lived in several Eeastern-European communities before settling in Lvov (Lemberg), Poland, in 1654.

    Although he wrote his commentary on all four sections of the Shulhan 'Arukh, only the sections on 'Orah Hayyim and Yoreh De'ah were initially printed. The remaining sections, which were published many years after his death, appear only in the outer margins of the standard Shulhan 'Arukh editions.

    The title "Turei Zahav" means "columns of gold." It does not provide a running commentary to the whole Shulhan 'Arukh, but focuses on specific issues. It contains many disagreements with Falk's Sefer Me'irat 'Einayim.

    Sefer Me'irat 'Einayim

    This commentary (the title means "enlightening of the eyes") was composed by Rabbi Joshua Falk, author of the Perishah and Derishah comments to the 'Arba'ah Turim. More precisely, and it is an extension of the same project. In effect, he was trying to subvert the exclusive authority of the Shulhan 'Arukh by drawing attention to the sources or its rulings, and thereby encourage people to study the original texts. In some cases this leads him to disagreements with Caro and Isserles.

    Falk worked to establish an accurate text of the Shulhan 'Arukh, and especially of Isserles' glosses, for which he possessed a copy of the author's original manuscript. He strove, not always, convicingly, to minimize the differences between Caro's and Isserles' opinions. He adds laws that had been formulated in recent generations, including some of his own.

    Helkat Mehokek

    The title is derived from Deuteronomy 33:21, where it is translated "a portion of a ruler," though "ruler" has the sense of "maker of laws." Its author is Rabbi Moses ben Isaac Judah Lima (c. 1605-1658), a scholar who served in rabbinic posts in several Lithuanian communities. He was a student of Rabbi Joshua Falk and a colleague of Rabbi Shabbetai Kohen. As the first commentary to be written on Shulhan 'Arukh 'Even Ha-'Ezer, Helkat Mehokek provides a full explanation resolves apparent contradictions within the Shulhan 'Arukh, and between it and other works. He also discusses the opinions of other medieval and modern scholars, particularly those that served as the basis for the Shulhan 'Arukh's decisions.

    The author died before completing the commentary. It concludes at Paragraph #126.

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