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HomeFoundations of JudaismRabbinic LeadersRabbi Yosef Karo - Maran, HaMechaber
 
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Rabbi Yosef Karo - Maran, HaMechaber    

Rabbi Yosef Karo - Maran, HaMechaber



Date of Passing: 13-Nissan. Rabbi Yosef ben Ephraim Karo was born in Toledo, Spain and he died in Tsfat, Israel. He is called Maran or Ha-Mechaber.

 



Rabbi Yosef Karo
 
(1488 - 1575) Rabbi Yosef ben Ephraim Karo was born in Toledo, Spain and he died in Tsfat, Israel. He is also called Maran ("our master") or Ha-Mechaber ("the Author," i.e. the halachic author par excellence).
 
Rabbi Joseph Karo left Spain in 1492 as a result of the Spanish expulsion of the Jews, and settled with his family in Turkey. In 1536, he emigrated to Israel and became the chief rabbi of Tsfat, an important center of Jewish learning and industry.
 
His principal teacher in Tsfat was Rabbi Jacob Berab.
 
Karo's magnum opus is his Beit Yosef ("House of Joseph"), an encyclopedic commentary on Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's Tur, a halachic code. Bet Yosef presents an extensive survey of relevant halachic literature, from the Talmud down to works of Karo's contemporaries.
 
The Shulchan Arukh (“Set Table”) is the most widely accepted code of Jewish law ever written. Compiled in Safed in 1563 CE by Rabbi Yosef Karo, it is a condensed and simplified version of the Beit Yosef, a commentary that Karo wrote on the Tur. Karo’s rulings are in accordance with Sephardic traditions; the text of the Shulchan Arukh also includes the glosses of Rabbi Moshe Isserles, which cite Ashkenazic traditions. Orach Chaim (“Way of Life,” a reference to Psalms 16:11) is the first of four sections. It discusses daily ritual observance, like prayer, Tefillin, Tzitzit, Shabbat, and holidays. 
 
Karo's halachic decisions were codified in his Shulchan Aruch (which was actually a digest of Bet Yosef). This work quickly became accepted throughout the Jewish world as halachically authoritative. Likewise, Karo's commentary on Maimonides' code, the Kesef Mishneh, is one of the standard commentaries on Maimonides' work.
 




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