Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (book)

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Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
AuthorShlomo Ganzfried
Publication date

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch was published for the first time in 1864, the work is a summary of the Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Joseph Caro, with references to later rabbinical commentaries.[1][2]

The book was written by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried, to be studied by the God-fearing Jews, who were not in a position to complete the study of the whole Shulchan Aruch, with its corresponding commentaries. The work was written in hebrew language, and it was easy to learn and understand.

The Kitzur establishes what is allowed, and what is not allowed without ambiguity. Ganzfried was a hungarian Jew, and put the emphasis of his work on the customs of the hungarian Jews of his time.

This work was written to be a popular text, and as such does not have the level of detail of the original Shulchan Aruch, although it normally follows its own internal structure.

Ganzfried based his decisions on the opinions of three rabbinic authorities: Rabbis Yaakov Lorberbaum, Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav, and Abraham Danzig, the author of Chayei Adam and Chochmat Adam.

In cases of disagreement between them, Ganzfried adopted the majority view. Caro had already used a similar method to write the Shulchan Aruch in 1563, his rabbinic authorities of reference were the rabbis: Isaac Alfasi, Maimonides, and Asher ben Yechiel.

The Kitzur became immensely popular after its publication for its simplicity, and is still a popular book in the orthodox rabbinic judaism, it is commonly used as a work of study.

Within the rabbinical literature, there are other works that are precise and easy to understand by the common people, these works are summaries of the Shulchan Aruch, among them are included the following: Ben Ish Chai, Chayei Adam, and so on.

The Kitzur is not used as a basis for making decisions of a legal nature, instead, the rabbis use the Shulchan Aruch, their comments and later works such as Kaf HaChaim[disambiguation needed] or the Mishna Berura.

Due to its popularity, this book is often printed with cross references of other halacha works, especially the Shulchan Aruch HaRav or the Mishna Berura, a popular edition contains notes by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, entitled Darkeh Halacha, with cross-references of the sephardic rabbinical authorities.

Many editions of the Kitzur, include an appendix with the laws pertaining to the Land of Israel, which were compiled by the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz). There is a commentary by Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Braun on this work.

Ganzfried, however, stated that comments were not needed for this work, since it tried to summarize the Halacha, as far as possible, and that these comments should be included in the original Shulchan Aruch, and not in the Kitzur.

Currently, the Mishna Berura has practically supplanted the other works such as the Chayei Adam and the Aruch HaShulchan, as the primary authority in everything related to the daily life of the ashkenazi Jews.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi, is a daily learning program, where the study of this work is completed in one year.

The pace of study of this work, does not follow an established order, instead of this, it is ordered so that the student studies the laws referring to the Jewish festivities, during the weeks prior to each celebration.

The student can start learning at any time of the year, and complete the study cycle during the course of a year. The program is very popular, because it only requires between five and ten minutes of study each day. There are many resources on the Internet.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch has been translated into english on several occasions. The translation of Hyman E. Goldin was published in 1961, with the intention of improving the previous translations of the work, and making it more understandable, both for academics, as for the common people.

During the 80s and 90s of the 20th century, two modernized translations of the work were published, which included cross references similar to those that appeared in the modern hebrew version: in 1987, Metsudah Publications published a translation by Rabbi Avrohom Davis, and in 1991, Moznaim Publishing, published a translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger.

The Artscroll translation of the year 2011, was made under the editorial supervision of Rabbi Eliyahu Klugman, it included comparisons with the Mishna Berura, and with the Igrot Moshe of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. Currently there are several translations available online.


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