Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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61
M
irsky
— J
ew ish
C
odes
in the year 5285 (1522). But he began to write his code,
Shulhan
Arukh,
after he arrived in Safed in the year 1537. In the follow-
ing year, the famous controversy over the renewal of ordination
took place. R. Jacob Berab, who was ordained by the assembly
of scholars and empowered to ordain others, had time to ordain
but a few scholars before he had to flee from Safed. Chief among
those he ordained was Karo, who became the head of all the
scholars in Safed. This aroused, it seems, feelings of jealousy in
some of his colleagues (see the responsum still in ms. by R.
Moshe b. Joseph de Troni,
Sefunot,
vol. VI and The School of
R. Jacob Berab, ibid., vol. VII).
Although his being ordained may have enhanced his authority
and may have given the impression that the line of ordination
abruptly halted centuries ago in Tiberias was now resumed in
neighboring Safed, Karo did not stress this point at all. He took
practically no sides in the matter of the renewal of ordination
which was strongly opposed by R. Levi b. Habib of Jerusalem.
An entry in the
Maggid
states that his celestial mentor told Karo:
“Because you have devoted yourself to the cause of the restora-
tion of ordination, therefore you shall be found worthy to be
ordained by all scholars of the land of Israel and the diaspora.
Through you I shall restore ordination.” But in his
Kessef
Mishneh
which he composed after the
Shulhan Arukh,
com-
menting on the passage in Maimonides (Sanhedrin IV) which
served as the halakhic basis for the renewal of ordination, he
expressly did not indicate his approval of the restoration of
ordination. Apparently he preferred to rely more upon the force
of his code than on the formal authority vested in him by
ordination.
The first printed edition of the
Shulhan Arukh
appeared in
Venice in 1565 and was immediately followed by others. Ten
years later (1575) an annotated edition appeared in Krakow car-
rying the annotations by R. Moshe Isserles, but without sources.
The sources were added later by a different hand and are full
of errors, but they have continued to appear in all subsequent
editions.
Jacob Kastro, known by the initial letters of his name as Maha-
rikash, is in a sense the Sephardic Isserles. Since Isserles empha-
sized the Ashkenazic customs while Kastro merely added notes
based on Sephardic responsa literature differing with the deci-
sions of the
Shulhan Arukh,
only Isserles was considered essen-
tial in supplementing the
Shulhan Arukh
and in making it a
unified code for Jewry as a whole.
Additional leaves to the Set Table were added two centuries
later by R. Israel of Shklow in the same city where the
Shulhan
Arukh
was composed, Safed, under the title
Peat haShulhan