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Are there any hard and fast rules as to how to assign relative importance of one authority over another in formulating a psak halacha? For example if the Rambam and the Rashba argue over a specific halacha to whom would a posek give more credence and on what basis? Are there blanket generalities or would we, for example favor the Rambam in hilchos Shabbos and the Rashba in shechita?

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"Are there blanket generalities or would we, for example favor the Rambam in hilchos Shabbos and the Rashba in shechita?" or maybe every case is different? –  Double AA May 27 '13 at 4:15
    
there are many "Klalei HaPoskim" that I've never learned. Here are some that may interest you: hebrewbooks.org/41687 hebrewbooks.org/41179 hebrewbooks.org/38189 hebrewbooks.org/32530 –  Menachem May 28 '13 at 3:55
    
More or less, besides the Yemenite community that has held like the RamBam for around 1k years, everyone goes by the Shulchan Aruch(with Rema for Ashkenazim). Beyond that you're really in the domain of the various meforshim on the Shulchan Aruch, i.e. machlokes rishonim tends not to be the main issues anymore, its typically shitas that are after Beis Yosef. As far as how the Beis Yosef compiled his sefer and the Rema and the various commentators, I think a lot had to do with their geographically linked customs, i.e. the Rosh was Ashkenazi as was his son, where as the Rambam was mizrachi etc. –  warz3 Apr 2 at 16:48

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