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Mishna Berura vs. Aruch Hashulchan

 

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

I’ve got some ‘musings’  that have been on my mind lately that I’d like to share. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that the Aruch Hashulchan just doesn’t get the full measure of attention or authority that it deserves. It often seems as if there is a popularity contest between the Mishna Berura and the Aruch Hashulchan.

Although not completely accurate, perhaps the state of affairs can be summarized as follows: the “yeshivishe” world follows the Mishna Berura (almost exclusively) while much of the learned, non-yeshivishe world defers to the Aruch Hashulchan. This is quite odd, actually, considering that the Aruch Hashulchan is a Lithuanian work while the Mishna Berura is a Polish one! While I certainly don’t want to marginalize the Mishna Berura, I would, however, like to discuss why the Aruch Hashulchan should be considered the posek acharon in a dispute between it and the Mishna Berura.

The Aruch Hashulchan is probably the most thorough and conveniently organized compilation of halacha today. Every halachic issue opens with a presentation of the relevant scriptural and Talmudic sources. So too, unlike the Mishna Berura’s text-based-tradition to deciding halacha, the Aruch Hashulchan tries to determine the halacha based on Talmudic precedents and contemporary practice…and often works hard to satisfy both. It’s not since the Rambam that there has been a work of halacha that covers all of Jewish law like the Aruch Hashulchan does.

So which should we follow? Mishna Berura or Aruch Hashulchan?

Rabbi Yehuda Henkin cites his grandfather, Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, as having ruled that the Aruch Hashulchan is the more definitive and authoritative decisor of halacha.[1] He offers a number of reasons for this. One reason is because most of the Aruch Hashulchan was written after the Mishna Berura. In fact, the Aruch Hashulchan often cites the Mishna Berura before issuing his own ruling. Another reason why the Aruch Hashulchan should be considered more authoritative is because it covers the entire Shulchan Aruch while the Mishna Berura only covers the Orach Chaim section.  So too, as mentioned, the Aruch Hashulchan also takes into account the common customs of his day before rendering a ruling. Finally, the Mishna Berura was essentially written by a scholar while the Aruch Hashulchan was written by a scholar who was also a practicing rabbi. As a practicing rabbi, the author regularly interacted with the community and dealt with the problems and issues that they faced. He had more hands-on experience in dealing with halachic dilemmas. Indeed, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein is reported to have said that the Aruch Hashulchan takes precedence over the Mishna Berura for this reason alone.

 …I welcome your thoughts.


[1] Bnei Banim 2:8.

 
 
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101 Responses

  1. i happen to like the aruch hashulhan because of the presentation and format. much easier to learn from than the mishnah berurah (in the wider sense of what today we consider the mishnah bererah volume), which requires looking all over the page, keeping track of multiple footnote symbols, etc. MB is good for looking up something specific, but not as friendly for casual learning.
    aruch hashulhan also seems to cite a wider array of opinions and sources.

    “Another reason why the Aruch Hashulchan should be considered more authoritative is because it covers the entire Shulchan Aruch while the Mishna Berura only covers the Orach Chaim section.”

    this particular argument is not convincing

  2. I’ve been thinking about this issue a great deal as well, and I prefer the Arukh haShulchan. One reason for this is that it gives greater attention to variation in local custom, and sometimes favours custom over the codified law, while the Mishne Berurah is far more absolutist. The Arukh haShulchan also gives greater attention to the writings of other Acharonim, making it a better tool for actually deciding law, and thus serves as a better presentation of the range of halakhic opinions (as you mention).

    That said, I think that the Be’er Heitev is an exceptional work of scholarship, and if you include that together with the Mishne Berurah, the only real reason that I would still come down in favour of the Arukh haShulchan is because it has a broader scope. For the issues that they both deal with, deciding between them would be a lot harder.

  3. Skeptic says:

    “In fact, the Aruch Hashulchan often cites the Mishna Berura before issuing his own ruling.”

    Often?

  4. HaDarda"i says:

    To Skeptic: See the teshuva in Bnei Vanim for a comprehensive list of places where the AhS either cites or is referring to the MB.

  5. David G. says:

    Rav Hershel Schachter has spoken about this before and actually did again in Ramat Bet Shemesh when he spoke on Sunday morning this week at Lev Hatorah. I should remember but I’m not positive; I think he said in Rav Soloveichik’s name that the Mishna Brura is usually more machmir and should be followed by bnei yeshiva. Baalei Batim could follow the Aruch Hashulchan.

  6. HaDarda"i says:

    While I prefer AhS to MB, it can’t be denied that MB contains more details than AhS and is a better compendium of the opinions of the Acharonim than AhS. This does not necessary result in a better p’sak, but it does make MB more appealing to those wanting to know everything about minutiae.

    Also, a ba’al dikduk once pointed out to me that the first word of the AhS’s title Arokh, not Arukh, based on a passuk in Yishaya. Arokh is the semichut noun.

  7. Aryeh says:

    IIRC: Rav H Schachter has been saying more and more that it used to be that in Litvish communities, the Chayey Adam reigned supreme. He says that growing up, the Mishna Brura was not widespread. He thinks that after the war, many people who had some kind of kesher with the Chofetz Chaim started spreading his halacha books, and that’s why they became more popular. He says that he did not own a set of Mishna Bruras until his wife bought it for him for their 6th anniversary. He also points out that the Mishna Brura can be very confusing, often contradictory in views, and he doesn’t know why that style has become popular to learn.

  8. Skeptic says:

    HaDarda”i:

    The comprehensive list is quite short indeed, which was precisely the point of my question. But thank you for emphasizing the fact.

  9. Ari Enkin says:

    David -

    I didnt know RHS was in town!! Schucks.

    Ari

  10. J. says:

    Firstly, I’m not convinced that the Mishnah Berurah is less ‘Litvish’ than the Aruch Hashulchan. Regardless of which side of the border Radin happened to be in when the Chofetz Chaim wrote it, he was clearly ‘Litvish’ in orientation. As a matter of fact, in his style of psak, which was quite revolutionary is several areas (e.g. hilchos stam and eruvin) the MB displayed less of a ‘Polish’ style respect for mesora than a Litvish independence in re-examining the sources. The role of Litvish gedolim such as the Chazon Ish and R. Aharon Kotler is establishing the MB’s predominance should not be understated.

    Secondly, I would argue that a key difference between the AHS and the MB is the former’s ‘koach hapesak’ compared to the latter’s ‘yiras ha’horaah’. There are far more appearances of the phrase ‘baal nefesh yachmir’ in the MB; this may be due both to the Chofetz Chaim’s personality and also the fact that the AHS was a town rav. This is related to the trend mentioned in R. Enkin’s post – that of the AHS treating minhag yisrael as sacrosanct. For some clear examples of both of these trends, take a look at the different approaches they take to the issues of chadash, shishim ribo as a fundament of reshus harabbim, and the ‘niskatnu habeitzim’ issue.

  11. daat y says:

    Chofetz Chaim noted as a tzaddik,in my mind,wrote the M.B. from that perspective.He tried to satisfy many of the nosei kelim on the S.A. and ended up many times being machmir.

    I agree with one of the main points of R.Enkin that being a Rav of a community allows the Rav to understand how the members of the community act,their customs and further to understand that not all can be tzaddikim.
    This should be true for all those who posek halacha in general.

  12. Litvak says:

    “the Aruch Hashulchan is a Lithuanian work while the Mishna Berura is a Polish one”

    Radin, or Radun, where the Chofetz Chaim resided in his later years, is in the same general area that Novhardok, where the Aruch Hashulchan was Rav then, is.

    They are both in White Russia, a part of Lita in Jewish terms, also known as רייסין (as in סליחות כמנהג ליטא – רייסין וזאמוט seen on the cover of old selichos booklets). Both are in the present day state of Belarus, in the interwar years (between WWI & WWII) were in Poland, and before WWI were in the Russian empire, under the Czars. They seem to be just perhaps twenty five miles or so from each other.

    So it seems that they are both basically equally Litvish in Jewish terms, rather than Polish.

  13. The Aruch Hashulchan presents the underlying concepts of each halacha and how it was understood by the different Rishonim. The presentation is concise and lucid. When one applies the halacha to the particular case one can understand the nuances and act accordingly. The MB does not do that and it is easy to just follow a ruling without really understanding the underlying logic thus missing important nuances that affect the practice. the Biur Halacha tries to rectify that but it is usually ignored and only looked at by someone who studies a sugya beiyun. When one does learn him he is impressive and we can appreciate how great a scholar he was.

  14. shmuel says:

    While I agree with your discussion re AH vs MB as posek acharon and many of the great contemporary poskim did too, I beleive that the MB is more user friendly in that one can read the mechaber , rema and review the MB as practical footnotes. The AH requires reviewing virtually the entire siman to find the halachah taking more time and effort. Therefore as baalei baatim became more educated (and bnei yeshiva became interested in practical halachah not just theoretics) the MB became an easily accessible handbook while the AH required more time and effort be put in to finding a quick answer

  15. AA says:

    The MB is not Polish. It is Litvish.

  16. Shlomo says:

    One reason for this is that it gives greater attention to variation in local custom, and sometimes favours custom over the codified law,

    Which custom? If your custom is not the same as that of the Aruch Hashulchan’s home town, then the incorporation of custom has no value, and perhaps negative value.

  17. Moshe says:

    Better than either is the Rambam.

  18. joel rich says:

    He also points out that the Mishna Brura can be very confusing, often contradictory in views, and he doesn’t know why that style has become popular to learn.

    ——————
    R’HS has said that this is because the C”C acted as a general editor but did not write the whole thing.

    Those who read audioroundup (all 3 of you :-))know I’m a big AH”S fan for many of the reasons outlined above, IIRC I heard a shiur on the topic where it was posited that R’ A Kotler made a strong effort to have the M”B reign, not sure exactly why. Rabbi A Mintz has a great shiur (to be reviewed in tomorrow night’s audio roundup ) on the topic

    KT

  19. diezmacho says:

    In talks with a member of the Soloveichik family, it was relayed that they held that, halakha lema’ase, the Arukh haShulhan was more authoritative. The point raised, amongst others, was that he was the Rabbi of a kehilla and not a Rosh Yeshiva.

  20. Sam says:

    I think the yeshiva world was influenced by chaZon ish who wrote that piskei mishna brura are like from sanhedrin in lishkas hagazis
    Btw the new aruch hashulchan that includes the piskei

  21. Jonathan Berger says:

    R. Hayyim Soleveitchik compares the two in his famous essay “Rupture and Reconstuction.” I am pasting footnote 6 because I think it directly addresses some of what has been questioned and discussed; he argues that much of the difference between the two is attributable to the different cultures they were addressing.

    6. Israel Meir ha-Kohen, Mishnah Berurah. This six volume work, which has been photo-offset innumerable times, was initially published over the span of eleven years, 1896-1907, and appears contemporaneous with the Arukh ha-Shulhan. Bibliographically, this is correct; culturally, nothing could be farther from the truth. Though born only nine years apart, their temperaments and life experiences were such that they belong to different ages. The Arukh ha-Shulhan stands firmly in a traditional society, un-assaulted and undisturbed by secular movements, in which rabbinic Judaism still “moved easy in harness,” R. Israel Meir Ha-Kohen, better known as the Hafetz Hayyim, stood, throughout his long life (1838- 1933), in the forefront of the battle against Enlightenment and the growing forces of Socialism and Zionism in Eastern Europe. His response to the growing impact of modernity was not only general and attitudinal, as noted here and below, n. 20 sec. c, but also specific and substantive. When asked to rule on the permissibility of Torah instruction for women, he replied that, in the past, the traditional home had provided women with the requisite religious background; now, however, the home had lost its capacity for effective transmission, and text instruction was not only permissible, but necessary. What is remarkable is not that he perceived the erosion of the mimetic society, most observers by that time (1917-1918) did, but rather that he sensed at this early a date, the necessity of a textual substitute. (Likkutei Halakhot, Sotah 2 la [Pieterkow, 1918].) The remarks of the Hafetz Hayyim should be contrasted with the traditional stand both taken and described by the Arukh ha-Shulhan, Yoreh De’ah 246:19. One might take this as further evidence of the difference between these two halakhists set forth in the text and documented in n. 7. One should note, however, that this passage was written at a much later date than the Mishnah Berurah, at the close of World War I, when traditional Jewish society was clearly undergoing massive shock. (For simplicity’s sake, I described the Mishnah Berurah in the text as a “code,” as, in effect, it is. Strictly speaking, it is, of course, is a commentary to a code.)

  22. Rafael Araujo says:

    Reb Ari – when I learn MB, I actually try to learn both together and compare their psakim in OC. It is quite instructive.

    However, I disagree about the RY/Rov distinction. The CC was a sought after Gadol HaDor, to whom people streamed with questions or advice. So, while it is true that he was not the Rov of Radin, he did receive questions from the hamon am.

  23. Ephrayim says:

    Interesting how you left out one of the reasons Rav Henkin said for preferring the Aroch HaShulchan over the Mishna Brura. I don’t remember if it is in the hakdamah to the first or the second volume. He expresses sentiments that resemble those of daat y. He writes that the Chofetz Chaim was too big a tzadik to be a posek, and could not objectively decide the halacha in fear that he might paskin too laxly.

  24. Ari Enkin says:

    R’ Rafael-

    But it seems unaninmous, from Rav Moshe to Rav Henkin, that even though the CC was sought after for advice — it doesnt compare to being a full time rav.

    Ari Enkin

  25. S. says:

    “So too, unlike the Mishna Berura’s text-based-tradition to deciding halacha, the Aruch Hashulchan tries to determine the halacha based on Talmudic precedents and contemporary practice…and often works hard to satisfy both.”

    That posits the Aruch Hashulchan as a desirable model for psak, not for being the “posek acharon.”

    Unless “contemporary practice” should mean “practice in Lithuania 125 years ago.” The irony would be that if we were to advocate adopting an Aruch Hashulchan-esque approach which pays mind to “contemporary practice” that means paying mind to the Mishnah Berurah’s rulings.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The ערוך השלחן comes from sefardim his style of writing resembles that of חכמי ספרד, in my opinion to really see the beuty of the Mishna Berura is only by learning first טור, ב”י, שו”ע ונו”כ and then M”B it is מעין עולם הבא

  27. Yeedle says:

    “much of the learned, non-yeshivishe world defers to the Aruch Hashulchan”

    Modern Orthodox? Yeshivish lite?

    Just for the record, Chassidim definitely follow MB (besides for when Baal Hatanyeh offers a dissenting view).

  28. Anonymous says:

    Yeedle wrote “Just for the record, Chassidim definitely follow MB (besides for when Baal Hatanyeh offers a dissenting view).”

    The שו”ע הגר”ז differs from the M”B dozens of times. Today we have M”B printed with פסקי החוז”א, פסקי הגר”ז, פסקי הגר”א נבנצל, פסקי הגר,י פישר
    , ואיש מצליח לספרדים.

    In my opinion it was wrong from Oz Vahdar to publish the ערוך השלחן with פסקי המשנ”ב

  29. Hirhurim says:

    In my MB, I penciled in Piskei Aruch Ha-Shulkhan (but only for a few sections).

  30. Yoni K. says:

    While in a vacum, I certain agree with the preference for the AH”Sh over the MB for a variety of reasons – including those mentioned above. Also, I have heard numerous times from R’ Shachter and R’ Lichtenstein – along with my father’s Rav (who WAS a Rav in Lithuania) – their prefernce for the AH”Sh. That said, we can not simply ignore the fact that in the past 50 years, the M”B has become widely accepted as “normative” – which caries its own halachik weight.

  31. Anonymous says:

    If anything that makes more sense. Rav Yaov Hillel in his hakdama to his sefer Gevoros Hari writes that Sefardim should learn from Askenazim that accepted the M”B as posek achron… In my opinon this not true at all (see my earlier post)

  32. Anonymous says:

    I also heard from Rav Abadi”s grandson that he prefers ערוך השלחן because he is more definitive then the M”B, who many times does not take a position

  33. Anonymous says:

    “Indeed, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein is reported to have said that the Aruch Hashulchan takes precedence over the Mishna Berura for this reason alone.”
    Does anyone know a source for this?

  34. Anonymous says:

    The A’H.
    It is a psak sefer. I think that the M’B says in his hakdoma that he was not writing it for psak – only as a likut of recent achronim. The M’B was not learned in Europe before the war and the CC was not considered a posek. I understand the argument that currently the M’B is the sefer that is popular – but it is a shame.

  35. CK says:

    A number of years ago, I asked Rav Dovid Feinstein if his father actually ever said that the Aruch Hashulchan takes precedence over the Mishna Berurah. He told me that his father never said this, and that the Mishnah Berurah should be viewed as the Posek Acharon.

  36. Rafael Araujo says:

    I don’t know how the CC wasn’t considered a posek when he wrote a number of seforim which are collections of halochos psukos – Sifrei CC, Ahavas Chesed, Machaneh Yisroel, Nidchei Yisroel. I agree that a lot of his writings were intended to strenghthen the observance of mitzvos by various sectors of the population, or mitzvos he felt were not properly observed (mikveh, lashon horo and rechilus,etc.) However, it is clear his intention was to provide halachic guidance. Also, you see from his writings that he was addressing the issues of his day and the concerns that Yidden had. In fact, even though he was a RY, I understand that it was more in title only that R’ Naftoli Tropp was the “real” RY. The CC was not known for, nor did he publish, shiurim on Shas.

  37. Rafael Araujo says:

    In other words, I would suggest that the title RY for the CC creates an artificial distinction between him and the Aruch HaShulchan. In practice, they both dealt with the halachic concerns of the Jewish population at that time.

  38. J. says:

    And both came to consistently different conclusions, with clear dividing lines between them.

  39. Why does the Maharsham never get any mention in these types of discussions? The MB himself used to ask the Maharsham questions of practical halakha?

  40. Anonymous says:

    CK wrote “A number of years ago, I asked Rav Dovid Feinstein if his father actually ever said that the Aruch Hashulchan takes precedence over the Mishna Berurah. He told me that his father never said this, and that the Mishnah Berurah should be viewed as the Posek Acharon”.

    Just asking does Rav Dovid know every single statement he made to every person? Isn’t possible that he said this to somebody?

  41. Anonymous says:

    I had the privelage to aske Rav Shabtai Rappaport once about the source for the so said Rav Moshe statement and he responded that Rav Moshe said that the Aruch Hashulchan is great because he brings the sources of different generations clearly. However, he affirmed that Clal Yisrael have still accepted the psak of the Mishne Brura as the default. Interestingly what prompted my inquiry was also hearing that Rav Moshe had said that the psak of the Aruch Hashulchan trumps that of the Mishne Brura. What really must be asked is: what’s the source for this misconception?

  42. Anonymous says:

    I agree, my point is when one says my father never said … does one know every statement he ever made? Its more accurate to say, to the best of my knowledge he never said….

  43. S. says:

    “Just asking does Rav Dovid know every single statement he made to every person? Isn’t possible that he said this to somebody?”

    Of course it’s possible. However, the truth of the statement also must depend upon whether it is consistent with R. Moshe’s real approach. I am not a person qualified to judge if it is. Presumably R. David is (at least that’s what they say).

    The only fly in the ointment is that the statement attributed to R. Moshe clearly flies in the face of yeshivish hashkafah as it has developed. As far as I can tell, R. David more or less is in agreement with contemporary yeshivish hashkafah. As a gatekeeper of his father’s legacy one could imagine that with both these things in mind he would see a great purpose in denying that his father made such a statement, even if he knew it was untrue (or was unaware).

    But the question is, again, if it is even possible that this was his father’s view? You have to be more familiar with R. Moshe to say if it is even possible. Then once you are past that, we also have to note that we have no source for that statement attributed to him. It’s only a rumor.

  44. Ari says:

    The aruch hashulchan presents the whole sugya, which makes it better for someone learning, but not as quick if you just want the final halacha. The mishnah berurah separates out the discussion part, so that may have helped it become more accepted. The Aruch haShulchan is more willing to pasken in a case of dispute, while the mishnah berurah often tries to be choshesh for both sides. This may have also helped the MB become more accepted in yeshivish circles.

  45. Shragie says:

    The MB and the AH are 2 very different approaches in halacha.

    The MB condenses the Taz M”A, the Pri Megadim etc into a clear (Berurah) form. It is encyclopedic more than it is a study. The AH starts with the source and links it to the halacha bypassing many commentaries.

    RMF clearly chose the latter of the two approaches. You can almost hear the AH when looking at a Igros Moshe.

  46. Ari Enkin says:

    Reb Moshe did prefer the AH over the MB. It is cited here:

    “Two Sons, Two Views, One Vision – A Conversation with the Legendary Sons of Rav Moshe Feinstein…” Mishpacha Magazine – 4 Sivan 5769 5.27.09″

    Ari Enkin

  47. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    chassidim prefer SAHaRav because it gives straight halacha (and is often quoted by MB; prob never by AH)

    shragie 148pm — see rupture and transformation footnote 7 (and six). (actually, the article should be a prerequisite to this discussion.)

    re: RHS’s comment — there is a famous story that some rav gets his first “shteller” (rabbinical position) as is told by his RY to study AH and MB. why both? cause AH is for your congregants, MB is for you (i.e., AH is (generally) maykil, MB is generally machmir.)

  48. Dov F. says:

    Reb Chaim HaQoton -

    Why does the Maharsham never get any mention in these types of discussions

    Interesting you point that out. I know of someone who was told by R’ Moshe Bik, “by me, the Maharsham is the posek acharon.”

  49. I am not sure I am adding much but I think I would suggest the following. The Aruch HaShulchan is good for learning sugyot in depth. I think for many, that is a daunting task. The MB, meanwhile, is more that a kitzur shulchan aruch, but less than a comprehensive work, and as such people feel more comfortable saying, I follow the MB, because it would already be a sefer a person has to at least work through, even if not as extensively. Additionally, it seems as though Rabbanim and publishers are more inclined toward the Mishna Berura because there is more left to the imagination in terms of engaging the text in the form of commentary. I think if someone were to attempt this with the AH, it might prove an extremely daunting challenge, though one I wish we would see, especially considering the variety of MBs out there for purchase.

  50. J. says:

    If that was the case, why did Rabbi Bik fight so vehemently against those who wanted to follow the Maharsham’s opinions on eruvin?

  51. Dov F. says:

    J. -

    I don’t know anything about that, though there is no reason a posek cannot argue on someone he believes is posek acharon.

    All I know is that I heard this from a reliable source (who heard it from the person R’ Bik told it to). This person also told me that it is common knowledge that the Biks follow the Maharsham.

  52. Things that can be done says:

    Many people who have commented here share the view that the AhS is an excellent work both for learning halakhah and as a source of psak, and that it is preferable for both purposes over the Mishnah Berurah. Rather than continue to argue that point (with which I entirely agree), I’d like to suggest something things that can be done.

    First of all, you can’t even read the whole AhS on the internet! Even the incredibly wonderful website hebrewbooks.org, with tens of thousands of scans (including the Mishnah Berurah of course), doesn’t have a decent scan of all the volumes of the AhS. For Orach Chaim in particular the scan is absolutely awful. So one thing that could be done is to do a good, full scan of the entire AhS and upload it to hebrewbooks.org. If you are someone who knows how to do it right, them a one-time donation of several hours of labor (scanning) would make the AhS available for everyone in the world to use forever.

    Another thing to do is shiurim: Give oral halakhah shiurim going through the AhS, siman by siman. Record them and upload them to the internet so that the whole world can learn it with you.

    Another thing to do is get your yeshiva to change its ways. One of the things that personally turned me off to the study of practical halakhah for many years were the dreaded “MBAT”s at Yeshiva University (RIETS). So tell your Rosh Yeshiva that you’d rather learn the AhS. If there need to be bekiut exams for halakhah, then ask that the exams be on the AhS. At YU at least there ought to be some Roshei Yeshiva who would be amenable to this.

  53. Hirhurim says:

    Things that can be done: See here Wikitext

  54. Things that can be done says:

    Thanks Hirhurim, I’m aware of that and it’s great! But it’s only on Orach Chaim and some other parts (most is still missing).

    It would be best and totally amazing to have ***both*** of them complete: A full quality scan of the printed edition, and a full typed scan in the Wiki Project.

  55. Jacob says:

    FWIW – I heard from a second-hand source that when RMF was asked what one should do in cases where the MB and the ARH argue, he purportedly answered simply – in cases that are de’oraysa, you go lechumra and in cases that are derabbanan you go lekula.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Would anyone be willing/able to share the article from Mishpacha, “Two Sons, Two Views, One Vision – A Conversation with the Legendary Sons of Rav Moshe Feinstein”?

    Many thanks…

  57. R.W. says:

    The Satmar Rav zt”l famously said, “The Aruch Hashulchan is just fine up until…v’li nireh.”

  58. pg says:

    “I think the yeshiva world was influenced by chaZon ish who wrote that piskei mishna brura are like from sanhedrin in lishkas hagazis”

    and does the chazon ish himself always follow the mb?
    here are two posts w/ some examples of the CI paskening differently than MB:

    http://bariveshema.blogspot.com/2006/05/shabbos-leniencies-of-chazon-ish-i.html
    http://bariveshema.blogspot.com/2006/05/shabbos-leniencies-of-chazon-ish-ii.html

  59. Jon Baker says:

    I just verified something I recall hearing from R Simcha Fishbane, namely, that the phrase “baal nefesh yachmir” only occurs 7 times in the MB. “Baal nefesh” with other similar verbs (yazhir, lo ysor) appears a total of 14 times in MB, and an additional 4 times in Biur Halacha.

    For comparison, I checked the Chayei Adam (4 times) and the Orach Chaim part of the Aruch Hashulchan (once), thanks to the Bar-Ilan database search.

    So while the MB uses such phrases far more often than the AhS, out of all the thousands of pages and se’ifim, it really isn’t used that often. The Chayei Adam, while naturally strict, does bow to custom more willingly than the MB.

  60. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “The Satmar Rav zt”l famously said, “The Aruch Hashulchan is just fine up until…v’li nireh.””

    rw — i heard he said that about the AH’s son, the torah temimah. (to read it above the line, not below the line.)

    historical note — the torah temimah came to america for two years. couldnt make a living as a rav, so he returned to lita (where he couldnt really make a living, either.) lita here = eastern europe parts historically called lita, not necessary “lithuania”.

  61. RRW says:

    Maybe if you want to become a Rosh Yeshivah, learn MB and if you want to become a Poseik learn AH

  62. Mordechai Tzion says:

    Ha-Rav Aviner once gave on a talk in the yeshiva on this issue.
    I post here: http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/02/blog-post.html
    I apologize it is only in Hebrew.

  63. Jr says:

    Marc Shapiro had correspondence with Rabbi Ratzabi on this issue and in general on relying on the aruch hashulchan.

    See here:
    http://seforim.blogspot.com/2008/01/clarifications-of-previous-posts-by.html?m=0

  64. The Dude says:

    I have heard it said that the Arukh HaShulḥan was more popular pre-WW II and the Mishneh Berurah, post.

    I believe the MB became popular because it is clear and concise. It is pretty easy to understand for the average ba’al habayit, compared to the AH. A while back there was a discussion here about English translations of the MB, which is endemic of the lack of Rabbinic literacy today.

    Unfortunately the AS is badly in need of a new edition. The MB is available in clear digital format w/ nikudot, etc. while the AS is still left in the old photo offset typeface. This is because it suffers from being less popular, but also doesn’t help the cause. Perhaps a publisher would be interested addressing this desideratum.
    (Unless a project is already under way?)

  65. Anonymous says:

    Dude,
    There are two new editions of the Arukh (Arokh) HaShulḥan, both printed quite nicely. One, if I am not mistaken, includes the material from R. Simcha Fishbane’s publication of the sections on Nedarim.

  66. The Dude says:

    Thanks Anonymous! Time to update my library.

  67. Nachum says:

    The Oz V’Hadar edition, for one, does not include the new sections. Moreover, it contains the p’sakim of the Mishna Berura, implying something along the lines of “The Aruch HaShulchan is nice, but don’t start getting ideas that it’s worth more than the Mishna Berura.” I find that particularly troubling. (Of course, lots of editions of the Mishna Berura include the Chazon Ish and others, and the same is done to the Kitzur, etc. And, of course, the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch weren’t meant to have nosei keilim either. But still.) Finally, it contains a biography that seems to be there, at least to my sensitivities, just to stress how anti-Zionist R’ Epstein was. This is in keeping with Oz V’Hadar being Satmar (I believe), but isn’t- what’s the word?- ah, yes, *true.*

    I once heard a legend that R’ Aharon Kotler, under request from the Kagan/Zaks families, was always seen in public (after the war) with a Mishna Berura, which added to its spread. Anyone know if that is true?

    My safrut rebbe in YU had a special bias against the MB, for obvious reasons. He claimed they all learned the AH in his day.

  68. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    interesting about r epstein / AH being anti zionist. he wrote an “aruch hashulchan ha’atid”, which i assumed would be a halachic code for times of mashiach (which i think should be written now; another story).

    no way. its just halachot of shmitta, t”um, etc that dont get in AH.

    2. nosei kelim on the rambam / SA is just a format for discussion (and opposing psak). chazon ish on kitzur and MB is just actual psak. (in fact, one may say MB is nosei kli on SA.)

  69. I will also quote what the Steipler Gaon wrote in his haskama to Daas Torah (Orach Chaim Vol. 4):
    כי באמת כל מורה ודאין לא יתכן שיחתוך הוראה הצריכה עיון ודיון מבלי דעת מקודם מה אומר רבינו המהרש”ם זצ”ל בדבר זה.

  70. Hirhurim says:

    I just remembered this old post on the 100th anniversary of the Mishnah Berurah: http://torahmusings.com/2006/11/mishnah-berurah-reaches-important/

  71. Hareidiman says:

    Satmar Rebbe quote – “Arukh Hashulschan H is the farkerter Shulchan Arukh”
    Beef that I know is the being matir in our days making brocho in front of woman with uncovered hair,
    That his son was the Torah Temima is also an issue. Some say that despite his son the Torah Temima, AH is ok.
    In the biography of Oz V’Hadar , Meir Bar-Ilan is quoted but not named.

  72. Tziporah says:

    I’ve never heard of a problem with the Torah Temima. What makes it controversial?

  73. Nachum says:

    Wow, Hareidiman, you must be on a very high madrega to be able to so blithely dismiss gedolim like R’ Baruch Epstein. Seriously? How much have you learned in comparison to him? How many widely-read sefarim have you written?

    If I had to pick between the two Rabbis Epstein on the one hand and the Satmar on the other…well, it’s not hard.

    MeMedinat:

    “interesting about r epstein / AH being anti zionist.”

    Who said he was? They had to make him one to justify printing his sefer. I’ve never seen evidence he was. I’m not saying he was Herzl, but nu.

    “he wrote an “aruch hashulchan ha’atid”, which i assumed would be a halachic code for times of mashiach (which i think should be written now; another story).”

    Interestingly, he called it “LeAtid.” Mossad HaRav Kook printed it (I don’t think he ever did) and renamed it, for obvious reasons. (Ideological, yes, but it was also after 1948.)

    “no way. its just halachot of shmitta, t”um, etc that dont get in AH.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Zeraim is a small part of the work. The bulk of it deals with Kodshim, Taharot, and a volume on Sanhedrin. This is not hard to verify.

    “2. nosei kelim on the rambam / SA is just a format for discussion (and opposing psak). chazon ish on kitzur and MB is just actual psak. (in fact, one may say MB is nosei kli on SA.)”

    As Herman Wouk puts it in much better language than I, this is completely incorrect. We pasken based on nosei keilim all the time.

    (By the way, why not “1.” as well?)

  74. Nachum says:

    Tziporah- modernist tendencies in his other works and claims of plagiarism and inaccurate citations (which to be honest, I don’t find so compelling) in the Torah Temimah. Certainly doesn’t merit anonymous internet commenters (or even chassidish rebbes) from using such crass language.

  75. Litvak says:

    “Oz V’Hadar being Satmar (I believe)”

    R. Yehoshua Leifer of Oz Vehadar is from New Square.

    “I once heard a legend that R’ Aharon Kotler, under request from the Kagan/Zaks families, was always seen in public (after the war) with a Mishna Berura, which added to its spread. Anyone know if that is true?”

    I heard something like that, but not that it was at family request.

    There are photos of RAK with the MB, but in a new video of him online, he is without it. See http://www.mrlitvak.blogspot.com/2012/02/rav-aharon-kotler-ztl-seen-in-rare.html

  76. Rafael Araujo says:

    I believe there is a famous picture of RAK holding it while speaking with Reb Moshe.

  77. Steve Brizel says:

    The discussion on the Seforim blog illustrates why the yeshiva world relies on the MB, and frankly discusses the reservations therein about the AS. R Zevin ZL also wrote a sefer in which he surveyed the genres of various seforim, including the AS HaAtid. RHS once commented that the reviews therein were quite sharp in nature, and hasn’t been available for purchase for a while. I haven’t been able to buy the sefer anywhere. Anyone know if it is online?

  78. Nachum says:

    Probably “Sofrim USefarim,” a collection of book reviews. I’m sure the YU library has a copy. I know R’ Matis Blum has one.

  79. Nachum says:

    Come to think, there is a new set of all of his writings- except, I think, that one.

  80. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-thanks for the reference. IIRC, RHS mentioned that the reviews in Sofrim USefarim, which I once saw in the old Touro Beis Medrash library in midtown Manhattan, contained some very sharp reviews, and was not reprinted by the family, which IIRC, authorized the reprinting of all the editions of the other wonderful works of R Zevin ZL.

  81. Ephyg says:

    Am I the only one who finds the Aruch Hashulchan extremely difficult. I mean after spending weeks on a sugya and tearing it apart, I consistenly find that the Mishna berura seems to add great insights and sevros while the aruch hashulchan seems att odds with many rishonim and his evoros are not very convincing. He is helpul when one is not “holding”, but makes me very uncomfotable after seeing all the rishonim well. The MB allegedly spent 30 years on the mishna berura and i think it shows

  82. Nachum says:

    Steve: I think I’ll start scouring used bookshops for it.

    The mini-bio in the new editions does mention it.

    I did find it interesting that while the new edition of “L’Or Hahalacha” has many new essays, it does not include his article calling for the drafting of yeshiva students, even though there already is a whole section (with new essays) about the topic of war.

  83. Shemindex says:

    Hi,

    There is an attempt getting underway (slowly) to produce an English translation at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Arukh_ha-Shulchan to complement the Hebrew side at http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9A_%D7%94%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%97%D7%9F

    As you know, there are alot of pages in AH and help on any area of the work would be appreciated. You are welcome to add, edit or amend any part you wish.

    Shmeindex at Wikisource

  84. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-The copy of L’Or HaHalacha that I have that was republished in 1977 also did not contain the essay re drafting of yeshiva students, but did have eight essays on the topic of war.

  85. Hareidiman says:

    “Wow, Hareidiman, you must be on a very high madrega to be able to so blithely dismiss gedolim like R’ Baruch Epstein. Seriously? How much have you learned in comparison to him? How many widely-read sefarim have you written?”

    Didn’t make myself clear. It’s mot my opinion at all, I’m just reporting the Satmar view and I’ve heard this view in the Hareidi-Litvish world as well. This is the way they talk in Satmar.

    The blood sweat and tears of the Aruch Hashulchan are negated by the Satmar Rebbe’s vertel. In my opinion it’s a tragedy. Then again disrespect is a Satmar specialty.

  86. Hareidiman says:

    ““interesting about r epstein / AH being anti zionist.”

    Who said he was? They had to make him one to justify printing his sefer. I’ve never seen evidence he was. I’m not saying he was Herzl, but nu.”

    R’Meir Berlin writes in “Fun Volozhin biz Yerushalayim” that his grandfather AH was anti-Zionist.

  87. Ari Enkin says:

    Shemindex-

    Rabbi Michale Broyde has translated all of AH Hilchot Shabbat. Perhpas you should contact him to see if he would like to post it.

    Ari Enkin

  88. Nachum says:

    Harediman- sorry re: the first point, and thanks for the info re: the second.

    Litvak: I saw the New Square thing, but I remember once reading that the editors are Satmar. I’m probably wrong, though- I’ve been before. :-)

    Steve: The edition I have was done only a couple of years ago. It has many new essays, marked with a star, including in the “War” section. (But not the draft article- that was in Tradition in translation, and led to the famous exchange of letters about Artscroll’s treatment of him.) There’s even a whole new back and forth on his famous Shylock essay.

  89. Shemindex says:

    Hi Ari,

    Thank you, I didn’t know that. I will contact him.

    -Shemindex

  90. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    1. i only commented based on the previous comment that AH was anti zionist. no personal knowledge. (of course, as you write mossad harav kook published his “le’atid”.)

    2. i saw the mossad edition this morning, and it says only zeraim was previously published. they published the other volumes.

    3. i said “noisei kelim is format for discussion and psak.” no argument. even from wouk.

    4. item 1 is unnumbered, till here.

  91. mycroft says:

    “1. i only commented based on the previous comment that AH was anti zionist. no personal knowledge.”

    Who says he was anti-Zionist why write the AH Haatid-assuming he wrote it, See intro of RavMeir Bar ILlan to the sefer -see due to return of Jews to EY. See R BAr Illan on the ashre shezachinu to return of Jews to our Holy Land-wothwhile sefer no matter who wrote it-I like to assume the same author as AH.

  92. mycroft says:

    “Interestingly, he called it “LeAtid.” Mossad HaRav Kook printed it (I don’t think he ever did) and renamed it, for obvious reasons. (Ideological, yes, but it was also after 1948.)”
    rAQV mEIR bAR iLLAN WROTE THE PREFACE TO MY EDITION AND CERTAINLY WAY BEFORE 1948-IT WAS AFTER THE YISHUV STARTED GETTING BIGGER.

  93. CK says:

    My neighbor was kind enough to share with me his copy of the May 27, 2009 issue of Mishpacha Magazine. On page 38, quoting Rav Reuven Feinstein, it states as follows:

    “The Rosh Yeshivah [Rav Moshe] once commented that the decisions of the Aruch Hashulchan — who was a full-time Rav — take precedence over many poskim who were not active rabbanim. A Rav takes into consideration more than just the abstract and black-and-white concepts of the halachah when rendering a halachic opinion.”

    Does “many poskim” also include the Chofetz Chaim???

  94. Yerachmiel says:

    I was surprised by some of the comments above not talking about the AH in terms of psak, but in terms of learning halachah. It is true that the MB is a good digest of certain acharonim (mainly the Magen Avraham and Pri Megadim), but I’ve always found it a terrible way to try to learn halachah. Even the Shulchan Aruch itself was never meant to be a text for learning halachah, but rather for review after a person already learned the Beis Yosef. And indeed it is no surprise therefore that the SA gives a beginner (who hasn’t learned the Beis Yosef) a dry, uninteresting, uninspiring, and often incomprehensible summary of certain laws. Adding to this the MB gives a further digest of certain acharonim, but hardly assists at all to put the halachos into context.

    The AH on the other hand does exactly that: Each siman is a full-fledged halachah shiur, and you see how the halachos are derived from their roots. It also summarizes the acharonim (though it doesn’t follow them slavishly like the MB). It is also written very clearly (certainly no less clearly than the MB). The author comes through not just as a great scholar and dayyan (which he was), but also as a teacher.

    Personally, during many years in yeshivah, I used to hate learning halakhah, and having to push through siman after siman of the MB literally gave me a stomach ache. Discovering the AH changed all of that for the better.

  95. YK says:

    Rabbi Braun, of Shiurim Metzuyanim Behalacha, often said that the Aruch Hashulchan would take precedence because he was an actual Rav, and as such, had a special hashgacha.

  96. brisk says:

    I have always felt that if you didn’t learn the sugya then the AHS is more desirable, it lays out everything for you, and makes you feels as if you learned the sugya. But after learning the sugya very well the MB is usually a lot more in line with the Rishonim. I think what it comes down to is two very diffrent ways of psak. The MB felt that we could only rely on the rishonim. As opposed to the Aruch Hashulchan who dealt with a lot less sources, and more with the Gemara and main rishonim. And it is well known that R’shlomo Zalman once said that the only one who could Pasken from Gemara is R’moshe Feinstein so it could be that is why R’Moshe might have preferred AHS since it was more in line with his wa of Psak.

  97. Yerachmiel says:

    Brisk: I don’t understand your comment. The AH is as you say “in line with the main rishonim.” But the MB is NOT as you say “usually a lot more in line with the Rishonim” but rather more in line with the Acharonim. Typo?

  98. [...] Ari Enkin, Mishna Berura vs. Aruch Hashulchan, [...]

 
 

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