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Shulchan Arukh

The Shulchan Arukh (Hebrew word, literally: "Set Table") is a codex, or written catalogue, of Jewish law (Halakha), composed by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century. It is considered the most authoritative compilation halakha since the Talmud, and with its commentaries it is the main authoritative source of Jewish law and custom, and hence often simply referred to as the Code of Jewish Law.

The Shulchan Arukh (and its forerunner Beth Yosef) follow the same structure as Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher. There are four books, subdivided on chapters and paragraphs:

  • Orach Chayim: laws of prayer and synagogue, Sabbath, holidays,

  • Yoreh De'ah: laws of ritual cutting down (shechita), dietetics (kashrut), religious conversion,

  • Even Ha'ezer: laws of marriage, divorce and related issues,

  • Choshen Mishpat: laws of finance, financial responsibility, damages (personal and financial), and the rules of the Rabbinic Court (Bet Din), as well as the laws of witnesses.