Some rules when learning the Shulhan Aruch

In the Sefer Shulhan Arukh of Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575) there are some principals that are necessary in order for proper applications can be followed. First a small introduction on how to he ruled will also be presented. When Maran (“our master” sometimes Rabbi Yosef Karo is referred to in this way) wrote the Shulhan Aruch, he based his rulings mostly on three Rabbis: Rif (Rabbi Yis’haq Alfasi), Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon), and the Rosh (Rabenu Asher). When comes to the conclusion he bases it on the majority. Of course, sometimes he bases he conclusions on the other Rishonim (such as Tosafot, and the Rashba).             When it says the Halakha without saying “Yesh Omerim- some say” that is the way he holds (Yad Malakhi, Siman 14). The only reason Maran  stated this second “some say” practice was to show honor to those that hold so (Helqat HaMehoqeq, Eben Ha’Ezer 1:11). There are those that say that the reason that Maran writes “some say” in the cases where it is meaning in a way of Humra (stringency), it is to show the Mahmir (stringent) opinion and there is to follow them even though it is alright to be lenient (Or Lesion, Heleq 2).

  •  However, when he writes “Yesh Omerim, WeYesh Omerim- some say, and some say” it means that we follow the second opinion (Birke Yosef).
  •  When it says “Yesh Mi SheOmer- there are those that say” it means that this is his opinion on the matter (ibid. 103).
  •  Wherever it says “Yesh LeHezaher- there is to be careful”, it means there is to be careful from the beginning, however after the fact it is okay (Mahziq Berakha, Siman 630).
  •  When it says “Tob- it is good” it means this the Halakha from the beginning, however after the fact it is alright.
  •  Whenever its says “Loqeh- lashes” it means even in our times, this person is not kosher to be a witness.                                        Lastly, if it says in Maran or Rama “Hefsed Merubeh, O’Sha’at HaDahaq- a large loss, or an emergency” they mean it is really permitted, however usually in these cases the other Posqim are very stringent on the matter. (Sede Hemed, Siman 16).
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