Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shulchan Aruch HaRav


Continuing a conversation from earlier this year about the acceptance of Chayei Adam in the Chassidic world, I am curious to what degree non-Chabad Chassidim learn Shulchan Aruch HaRav today. Given the fact that it was the Maggid of Mezeritch who directed the Baal HaTanya to recodify the Shulchan Aruch, one would think that Shulchan Aruch HaRav would be the halacha sefer of choice for all Chassidim.

19 Comments:

At December 27, 2007 at 8:10:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

The first time Shulchan Aruch HaRav was printed as a complete set was in Sudilkov in 1826.

Chayei Adam was also printed in Sudilkov in 1819.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 11:10:00 AM EST, Blogger Tal Moshe Zwecker said...

Chabad mesora is that the Maggid instructed the Baal HaTanya to recodify the Shulchan Aruch, the Siddur and formulate the Ktav Ari in STAM if I am not mistaken.

When I asked my Rebbe if that is so, why we dont all use the Shulchan Aruch HaRav daven Nusach Arizal of the Tanya and use his ksav, my Rebbe answered "thats' Chabad's mesora not ours."

 
At December 27, 2007 at 11:15:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Rabbi Zwecker: It is interesting you mentioned this because when I told another non-Chabad chassid that the Maggid of Mezeritz instructed the Baal HaTanya to do this, the chassid looked at me quizically and then replied that this belief was only held by Lubavitchers.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 12:54:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I just spoke with the Sudilkover Rebbe and he does NOT dispute the fact that the Maggid of Mezeritch instructed the Baal HaTanya to put together a new Shulchan Aruch. He seemed to be baffled that anyone would even question this fact.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 12:58:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

I think that the confusion is this:
Some say that the Maggid "instructed" while others say that he "encouraged." Small difference I know, but perhaps significant...

 
At December 27, 2007 at 1:45:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Either way, the Baal HaTanya wouldn't have done it unless the Maggid mentioned it.

The Sudilkover Rebbe even told me to start supplementing my Kitzur Shulchan Aruch with Shulchan Aruch HaRav.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 4:22:00 PM EST, Blogger Long Beach Chasid said...

My Rabbi follows Rebbe Chaskel Besser of the 84th st. Shtiebel in Manhatten. He comes from the Radomsk Dynasty. He told me the Shulchan Aroach HaRav is important and so says the picture of the Alte Rebbe in his dining room. All i know is my Rabbi and Chabad and Wikipedia (not the best learning source for yiddishkite) so ive been under the impression that the Alte Rebbe was the Maggid's chief deciple and thus all groups of Chassidim would appreciate and value his teachings.

Did Chassidim get along better before the war?

 
At December 27, 2007 at 4:29:00 PM EST, Blogger Adam said...

You bring up a really good question ASJ.

In his book on prayer, Rabbi Steinsaltz suggests that the Shulchan Aruch of the Baal HaTanya might have been fully accepted universally among Jews (just like its namesake) had it been complete. Perhaps the fact that the work is incomplete is, in part, one of the reasons it isn't the "the halacha sefer of choice for all Chassidim"?

Another factor might be the differences between the rulings in that work and those in the siddur of the Baal HaTanya. Since the Shulchan Aruch of the Baal HaTanya was incomplete and later its own author changed some of his rulings, it might have been seen as a less viable halachik work at the time.

However, one should keep in mind that the Shulchan Aruch of the Baal HaTanya was one of the sources used by Rabbi Ganzfried in making the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Interestingly, one of the other sources was the Chayai Adam, which you mention in your post.

I think your rebbes advice to add the SA in question to your learning is good. While I don't study it regularly, I do enjoy the recenly published English/Hebrew version by Kahot. One of the most facinating aspects of it is to see the differences between what the Baal HaTanya wrote and what contemporary Lubavitch practice is.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 4:50:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Adam: I agree with you 100% about the new English/Hebrew version put out by Kehos. Last night, I started with Volume 1 and plan to continue page by page through all of them.

 
At December 27, 2007 at 11:47:00 PM EST, Anonymous Yirmeyahu said...

By and large the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, the Chayei Adam, and even the later Aruch HaShulchan are at a disadvantage having to "compete" for attention with the Mishnah Berurah. In general I believe that those who spend time learning Sifrei Halachah are more likely to learn Mishnah Berurah or start at the "top" with the Shulchan Aruch and then go through the Meforshim. Just my impression.

Nevertheless the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (i.e. "the Graz") gets plenty of attention in the Mishneh Berurah as does the Chayei Adam.

In short, it has been my observation that the Shulchan Aruch HaRav is treated comparably with any other posek.

 
At December 28, 2007 at 7:47:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yirmeyahu: In the past I have attempted to learn Mishnah Berurah. Perhaps I am too simple of a simple Jew, but I found it a little too complicated for my unsophisticated mind and so I returned to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.

From my last few nights of learning Shulchan Aruch HaRav, it seems to be a little more clear and straightforward.

As a side note, I also think the larger and more pleasing font in Kehos's printing also adds to my preference as well.

 
At December 28, 2007 at 11:46:00 AM EST, Anonymous Yirmeyahu said...

ASJ- I can certainly empathize. I had a great deal of difficulty with the Mishneh Berurah (and the Shimirath Shabbath) when I initially tried to learn them. At that time I was trying to learn them in the English translations. When I began to work through the Hebrew word by word, it got easier to read the English as well. I think being forced to go word by word helped me not get ahead of myself. And I don't claim it is a breeze now, but that is generally because I may not be familiar with the language of a given topic, or I've already learned a section and I struggle with having the patience to review (even though it is essential.

Shulchan Aruch HaRav is a good choice and in the long run is probably more constructive of a choice that the KSA, it would seem to me. The "Graz" (Gaon Rav Zalman) is probably closer to l'maseh for most. But I believe the KSA is important especially starting out, so one has a birds eye view.

There is a nice MB available with nekudos which is a good crisp version. There is also a nice Chayei Adam available with nekudos. I find the style of the work, and this printing, very readable.

 
At December 28, 2007 at 11:51:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for your feedback, Yirmeyahu. Have a good Shabbos!

 
At December 29, 2007 at 9:45:00 PM EST, Anonymous avakesh said...

The actual psak that Chabad follows is often different from Rav's SHulchnm Aruch. This is often explained to be because in his Shulchan Aruch the Alter Rebbe paskined according to nigleh but in practice he and Rebbes of Lubavitch paskined according to nistar.

 
At December 31, 2007 at 2:26:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Avakesh,

I recall that the (Lubavitcher) Rebbe discussed this idea, and he writes that such an explanation doesn’t really fit the facts. Most likely the Baal HaTanya simply changed his opinion (for example, his brother the Mahari”l writes that the Baal haTanya had expressed regret for giving the Magen Avraham too much weight in psak earlier in his life).

There are sometimes differences in psak between his Shulchan Aruch (which, BTW, was unfinished and was printed after his passing), the "Sidder" and the "Luach." Since he actually printed the Siddur & Luach, they are considered more authoritative (I think the Luach is the latest of the three and so it takes precedence, the Siddur, then the S”A).

 
At March 1, 2008 at 7:09:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incorrect, the Siddur was writen last, and hence the most authoritative. Then the Lu'ach, and then the S"A.

 
At February 4, 2009 at 12:20:00 PM EST, Blogger Yisroel Phillips said...

I came across this Blog when I did a Google search for Shulchan Aruch HaRav and I would like to add my 2 cents worth.

I am presently studying Hilchos Shabbos using the Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning program.

With each Seif (or sometimes a couple of Seifim) of Shulchan Aruch I first learn the relevant Tur and Beis Yosef (with Gemoras as necessary using ArtScroll); then I learn the Shulchan Aruch with the Magein Avrohom, Taz and Pri Megadim; then I turn my attention to the Mishna Berura and Biur Halacha; once I have completed the Siman, to make sure I have understood what I have learnt, and to get a good overview of the topics, I learn the Siman in the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, although I have to say that his sentences can be extremely long. But his is a valuable work for anyone learning Orach Chaim (and presumably the parts of the other Chalokim that are extant).

 
At January 2, 2011 at 5:07:00 PM EST, Blogger david said...

I am part of a chabura learning hilchos Shabbos using Mishna Brurah. The maggid shiur is Rabbi Yosef Meir Kantor, shlita, a talmid of haRav haGaon Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky. Rabbi Kantor often quotes and makes references to the Shulchan Aruch haRav. So, the Shulchan Aruch haRav is more often learned than we might think.

 
At June 14, 2011 at 2:00:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Yishai said...

The funny is that it seems that Lubavitchers today put more emphasis on studying the Mishnei Torah daily than on Shulchan Aruch HaRav. This must be because of the urging of the Rebbe to learn Mishnei Torah daily. But do any Chabadniks also study Shulchan Aruch HaRav daily as well?

 

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