Monday, July 28, 2008

Sefer HaChinuch Or Kitzur Shulchan Aruch?

If you had a choice of whether to learn Kitzur Shulchan Aruch or Sefer HaChinuch on a daily basis, what would you choose and why?


At July 28, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM EDT, Blogger DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

I would say Kitzur Shulchan Aruch because it's more l'ma'aseh in learning to live a life in accordance with halacha.

-Dixie Yid

At July 28, 2008 at 10:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

That's what I was thinking as well, but I was curious just to get feedback from people who have learned Sefer HaChinuch; a sefer I have not learned yet.

At July 28, 2008 at 11:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Split the time in half and learn both. If you can't then halacha first.

At July 28, 2008 at 12:26:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kitzur Shulchan Arukh for sure -- because it is halachah l'ma'aseh, whereas the Sefer HaChinnuch attempts to explain the mitzvos, both in terms of their paramaters and some of their possible meanings (al pi the Rambam, with certain exceptions to the rule).

The commentary of Minchas Chinnuch became very popular in "heimishe" circles during the past century. There might be some good online English shiurim that would give you a taste of this limud, which should be very stimulating -- if you can find the time for both sedorim.

At July 28, 2008 at 1:31:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

If learning Shulchan Aruch HaRav and Rabbi Ribiat's "The 39 Melachos" is already part of my daily learning seder, would you still advise Kitzur Shulchan Aruch over Sefer HaChinuch?

At July 29, 2008 at 7:43:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to put in my two cents: I agree with Rabbi Sears.
The Kitzur is a bird's-eye view of many issues you will not cover in the Shabbos book (which is essential learning with the Kitzur,since he doesn't even cover all 39 melachos). As for Shulchan Aruch HaRav, if you were learning through it fairly fast, you may be able to skip most of the Orach Chaim portions of the Kitzur, but you will never get the other essential aspects (like the other three sections of Shulchan Aruch discussed in Kitzur) from any sefer that doesn't discuss them. Besides, how quickly could you be going through the deep but long Shulchan Aruch Harav anyway?
If you have already completed the Kitzur, I recommend that you review it once a year (there is a schedule in the Kitzur with Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's terse pirush as well as at the beginning of the small version of the Metzuda Kitzur.) I think this should take you around ten minutes a day.
If you feel drawn to learn Chinuch and can't find time during the week you can learn a little each Shabbos.
Many greats made time to learn the Chinuch each week so as to complete it once a year. It is written in order of the Parshios and is great learning for the weekly parshah. Of course, some parshios are very sparse, and some are so abundant in mitzvos that it would be very difficult to cover it in a single session (like some of Vayikra). There are only three mitzvos in all of Sefer Bereishis, which means that you can get a jump on Shemos and Vayikra so that, by the time you get there time-wise, you will already be ahead of the game.Either way, any parshah you don't finish be sure to mark so you can continue next time around where you left off the year before.

At July 29, 2008 at 7:54:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks, Rabbi Golshevsky. I have completed Kitzur Shulchan Aruch numerous times, however your suggestion to complete it once a year on the yomi schedule is indeed a good one that I think I will continue to follow. (I have been learning this in addition recently as well)

At July 29, 2008 at 10:22:00 PM EDT, Blogger Natan said...

I'd have to suggest differently than everyone else, I think the answer's clearly Chinuch. The Kitsur is clearly an important work, but really only so if you're an 18th Century Hungarian Jew, otherwise it's just a compendium.

The Chinuch on the other hand is a beautiful work of thought provoking analysis on each of the mitvot. Hundreds of pages that will get no reference in the Kitsur, and it's especially interesting when you compare it to the Rambam's sources.

At August 5, 2008 at 3:48:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The obvious answer is that it depends upon what else you are learning. If you already have a seder in halacha, as ASJ mentioned in a comment that he does, then obviously Sefer HaChinuch is the way to go. It's a wonderful sefer about which others have already commented.

If, on the other hand, you are new to halacha and do not have a halacha seder, then it is just as obvious that halacha l'maaseh takes top priority.


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