Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (book)

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Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
AuthorShlomo Ganzfried
Publication date

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (קיצור שולחן ערוך), first published in 1864, is a work of halacha written by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried. The work was written in simple Hebrew which made it easy for the lay person to understand and contributed to its great popularity.


The work is a summary of the Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Joseph Caro, with references to later rabbinical commentaries.[1][2] It focuses on the Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah sections of the Shulchan Aruch, and includes laws of daily life, Shabbat, holidays, and so on. It is divided into 221 chapters (called simanim).

This work was explicitly written as a popular text and as such is not at the level of detail of the Shulchan Aruch itself, while generally following the Shulchan Aruch's structure. Rabbi Ganzfried expressed his intentions in his introduction:[3]

[This book] includes from the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch, those necessary and essential laws for all people in Yisrael in order to know them and are written in a simple language and a correct order. It is a good compilation and effective, B’ezrat Hashem, for businessmen that do not have the time to delve into the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries. They shall find in [this work] that which they require with ease and also [be able to] educate the youth and plant in their hearts the commandments of Hashem in their youth and [so that] also in their later life they will not leave them…

Ganzfried based his decisions on the opinions of three Ashkenazi rabbinic authorities: Rabbis Yaakov Lorberbaum (author of Nesivos HaMishpat), Schneur Zalman of Liadi (author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav), and Abraham Danzig (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 Isaac Alfasi, Maimonides, and Asher ben Yechiel.

Ganzfried was a Hungarian Jew, and put the emphasis of his work on the customs of the Hungarian Jews of his time. The work is also known for its strict rulings.[4]


The Kitzur became immensely popular after its publication for its simplicity, and is still a popular book in Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism where it is commonly studied. Many other works – Ben Ish Hai, Chayei Adam and others – are also concise, and suitable for laypersons as summaries of the Shulchan Aruch, but did not reach the level of the Kitzur's popularity.

It is thought that the title added to this book's immediate and continuing popularity.[citation needed]

The Kitzur is not used as a basis for making decisions of a legal nature; instead, rabbis use the full Shulchan Aruch and later works by the achronim and poskim.

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. There is a commentary by Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Braun on this work, entitled Shearim Metzuyanim be-Halakhah, which examines contemporary problems in the light of the 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.[citation needed]

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi ("Daily Kitzur Shulchan Aruch") is a daily learning program where the study of this work is completed in one year. The schedule does not follow the contents in order; rather it is arranged such that one reviews the laws of the Jewish holidays in the weeks before each. A person can start learning at any time of the year and complete it over the course of the year. The program is increasingly popular as it requires only 5 – 10 minutes per day.


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch has been translated into English several times. Hyman E. Goldin's translation was published in 1961 with an attempt to eliminate errors and improve upon previous translations, making it "more comprehensible to scholar and layperson alike."[5] Goldin's translation bore the English title "Code of Jewish Law", and it is thought[by whom?] that this title added to the popularity of the translated book, although the title is misleading.

The 1980s and 90s saw the publication of two modernized translations, which included cross references similar to those in contemporary Hebrew editions as above: in 1987 Metsudah Publications released a translation by Rabbi Avrohom Davis,[6] and in 1991 Moznaim Publishing released a translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger.[7] The Artscroll translation of 2011,[8] under the general editorship of Rabbi Eliyahu Klugman, includes comparisons with the Mishnah Berurah and the Igrot Moshe of Moshe Feinstein. Various other translations are available online.[9]

  • Code of Jewish Law. Hebrew Publishing Co. (Transl. Hyman Goldin), 1927. ISBN 0-88482-779-8
  • Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Compact Set. Metsudah Publications, 2006. ISBN 1-931681-99-6
  • Kitzur Schulchan Oruch. Moznaim Publishing Corp, 1991. ISBN 0-940118-63-7
  • The Kleinman Edition Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Vol. 1. Artscroll, 2008. ISBN 1-4226-0832-8

It has been translated also into Spanish in two volumes by Rabbi Nosson Grunblatt and published by Kehot Lubavitch Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Electronic versions[edit]

See also[edit]

Similar works[edit]

Other study cycles[edit]

Academic articles[edit]


  1. ^ "Rabi Shlomo Gantzfrid (Kitzur Shuljan Aruj)" (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Kitzur Shulján Aruj Vol. 1 - Síntesis de la Ley Judía - Hebreo /Español - KEHOT" (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ as quoted by Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Michael J. Broyde and Shlomo C. Pill, Building the Set Table: An Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel Epstein’s Arukh ha-Shulhan in Contrast to the Mishnah Berurah, p.32
  5. ^ Goldin, Hyman E. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch – Code of Jewish Law, Forward to the New Edition. (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1961)
  6. ^ Metsudah Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (3 Volumes). ISBN 1-931681-99-6
  7. ^ Kitzur Schulchan Oruch - Code of Jewish Law (2 Volumes). ISBN 0-940118-63-7
  8. ^ The Kleinman Edition Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (5 Volumes). ISBN 1-4226-1104-3
  9. ^ See Sefaria