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Monday, April 6, 2009

Honoring the Memory of the Author of Shulchan Aruch

As it is now the beginning of 13 Nissan (in Eretz Yisrael where I live) - the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch, whose work of Halacha has been studied worldwide and quoted in virtually every Halachic responsa for around 450 years (made Aliyah at one point in his life, lived and was buried in Tzfas), it would be most appropriate to write a little bit on the subject of learning Halacha - as translated from a Nanach booklet called "Ba'al HaRan":

1) By learning Poskim and Shulchan Aruch, one merits to be the "Ba'al HaBayis" and ruler over the world (through this, one merits to establish the gates of Gan Eden and comprehend through this both the higher and lower wisdoms which is the main pleasure of Gan Eden).

2) It is a BIG obligation on every Jew to learn EVERYDAY an amount of Posek (Halacha learning) - a statute that is not to be passed over. Even in a very pressing time when one doesn't have the focus or is on the road; nevertheless, one should learn at least one paragraph of the Shulchan Aruch in whatever section of it that it may be, even if it isn't in one's order of daily reading (for example, one learns one paragraph of the Shulchan Aruch in order every day, but the very day that one finds himself extra busy at work let's say, the paragraph that one is up to happens to be extra long and hard to comprehend quickly. In such a situation, one should pick a smaller, easier paragraph in another section, and only when less busy, whether that day or afterwards, can he then catch up, but not miss one day of learning some Halacha), thus, there will be not one day that one will go without learning Shulchan Aruch. On days that one is not pressed for time, he should learn all four volumes of the Shulchan Aruch in order until completion and then return learning it once more in order. (Sichos HaRan)

3) Learning Halacha is a very big rectification to weed out and rectify all the blemishes that one caused by his sins, for learning Poskim sorts out the good from the bad, which includes all of the rectifications.

As an example of this, let's learn a Halacha here - taken from the volume of Orach Chayim: Siman 229 - Blessing of the Rainbow & Blessing of the Sun in its Cycle, the first paragraph of two:

UPON SEEING THE RAINBOW, ONE SAYS, "BLESSED ARE YOU HASHEM OUR G-D KING OF THE WORLD, WHO REMEMBERS THE COVENANT, TRUSTWORTHY IN HIS COVENANT, AND FULFILLS HIS WORD". IT IS FORBIDDEN TO EXCESSIVELY STARE AT THE RAINBOW.

(The next paragraph is the very Halacha for the Beracha we will be reciting, B'Ezras Hashem, on Wednesday morning (14 Nissan) for an event that occurs once in every 28 years. Hope to post this tomorrow, B'Ezras Hashem)

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