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A local Orthodox rabbi told me that while most of the decisions in the Shulchan Aruch were based on taking the majority of the Rambam, Rosh and Rif (all of whom he claimed supported laying tefilin on Chol HaMoed), the Shulchan Aruch ruled against laying tefilin on Chol HaMoed based on the ruling of the Zohar.

Where does the Shulchan Aruch say this? Why did he apparently deviate from his normal rule of psak?

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I have tried to edit the question to make it more useful. Feel free to revert or expand on the changes. (As currently posed, +1) –  Double AA Sep 25 '13 at 8:49
    
@DoubleAA Why do you object to stating what the common practice was prior to the Sh"A's ruling? Should that be a separate question in and of itself? –  Robert S. Barnes Sep 25 '13 at 8:52
    
@RobertS.Barnes It is unsubstantiated and seemingly irrelevant to the question of "why did the Shulchan Aruch break his rule?". (Furthermore, it is only somewhat accurate. The Ashkenazim who don't wear Tefillin on Chol haMoed certainly don't not do so because of the Sh"A, and the Beit Yosef already notes a shift in common Sefardi practice on the matter before he wrote his works. I cannot comment intelligently about prior or current Yemenite practice in this regard.) –  Double AA Sep 25 '13 at 8:53
    
@DoubleAA So I will make it a separate question. –  Robert S. Barnes Sep 25 '13 at 8:59
    
IIRC the Bet Yosef Siman 37 writes that if there is no Pesak from the Gemara on something we follow the Zohar. –  Hacham Gabriel Oct 14 '13 at 3:47

2 Answers 2

The source is a zohar in Shir Hashirim Chapter 8. When I looked it up it seemed to me that he wasn't recording normative practice but innovating based on his contemporary the Arizal. That would also explain why so many ashkenazim don't wear tefillin on chol hamoed but litvaks and yekkes who were less influenced by chassidus and hence by the Arizal still do.

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Could you add a quote and or links? –  Robert S. Barnes Feb 13 at 10:11
    
I'm at work now, and I don't find Hebrewbooks easy to use. Bli"n when I get home –  Yitzchak Feb 13 at 17:00

He deviates from the normal rule because it was the established practice before his time, with a basis in Rishonim and in Kabbalah. Established practice is not over-ruled by the harmonizing of the three main opinions in Halacha.

But regardless the Kesef Mishna (by the same author as the S"A) understands the Rambam to mean that wearing Tefilin on Chol Hamoed is not to be done (see here footnote 146).

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When was it the established practice? Are you saying no one ever layed teffilin on chol hamoed, or just that at the time the Beit Yosef ruled it had become the normative practice? –  Robert S. Barnes Oct 14 '13 at 17:57
    
I am saying that "at the time ... it had become the normative practice." –  Yishai Oct 14 '13 at 18:27
    
This answer would be greatly improved if you could show that the R Karo felt that "establish [sic] practice is not over-ruled by the harmonizing of the three main opinions in Halacha." –  Double AA Oct 14 '13 at 21:30
    
@DoubleAA, putting together the various Psakim that do the same thing throughout S"A is a bit beyond my available time, sorry. –  Yishai Oct 14 '13 at 21:36
    
You could cite the general rule being stated. You don't need to make the argument yourself. –  Double AA Oct 14 '13 at 21:58

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