Building the Set Table: An Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel Epstein’s Arukh ha-Shulhan in Contrast to the Mishnah Berurah
33 Dine Israel 1 (2020)
70 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2022
Date Written: 2020
This paper offers an historical overview of the development of Jewish law in terms competing tendencies favoring legal codification and discursive jurisprudence. This historical tension between differing perspectives on the best way to conceptualize and communicate Jewish law set the stage for a basic methodological divide between two late-nineteenth century efforts to restate Jewish law at a critical juncture in Jewish life and religious development: Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel Epstein's "Arukh ha-Shulhan" and Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan's "Mishnah Berurah." This paper goes on the explicate fundamental differences in the jurisprudential methods of these two seminal works, and illustrates these differences by exploring four substantive disagreements on particular points of ritual law.
Keywords: Jewish Law, Jurisprudence, Codification, Arukh Hashulchan, Mishnah Berurah, Legal Methodology
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