How can I get good at translating the Shulchan Aruch? Due to the fact that a lot of the words are more of a Rabbinic Hebrew rather then a Modern Hebrew, it's harder to translate without an English-Hebrew Dictionary. Can y'all give me some advice on how I can improve my Shulchan Aruch reading skills?

  • 2
    What's wrong with sitting there with a dictionary as you described and working hard?
    – Double AA
    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:56
  • The Shulchan Aruch was written as a summary of the author's Beis Yosef, and assumes familiarity with the subject matter. If you want practical halacha, you are better off with a modern sefer that deals with modern situations. If you want to build skills, you would be better off starting with gemara. Without a basic familiarity with Talmudic methodology, it isn't possible to truly grasp the Shulchan Aruch's intent even with a translation.
    – N.T.
    Oct 6, 2021 at 5:50

2 Answers 2


The Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah is an excellent translation of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim including Mishna Brura. Learning a few perakim there will familiarize you with the vocabulary of Shulchan Aruch. You can then use it as a reference for when you get stuck on specific expressions or words.

You might also find a dictionary of abbreviations (e.g., here but there are many of them) helpful since SA and its commentaries are full of it.


I suggest reading the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch first, especially the Kleinman Edition from ArtScroll with an elucidated English translation. That should introduce you to some basic terms repeated throughout the regular Shulchan Aruch.

  • Thanks. But I was referring more to Yoreh De'ah, Choshen Mishpat and E"h @ezra
    – Moshe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 5:14
  • @Moshe Nu? And the Kitzur does not touch on those topics?
    – ezra
    Mar 6, 2019 at 5:15
  • He does. Just not in any way that'll help me translate independently Shulchan Aruch. @ezra
    – Moshe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 5:16
  • 2
    @Moshe Please note that bits and pieces are already translated on Sefaria and Wikisource. You might start with that. Mar 6, 2019 at 8:35

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