A friend of mine once claimed that Rav Yosef Caro didn't have access to Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvos. It's apparently evident from comments he makes in Beis Yosef and Kessef Mishnah. I was hoping to see some examples where this is evident.

  • See Kesef Mishneh to Hilchos Teshuva 1:1 where he doesn't know where the Rambam got the idea of verbal admission of guilt when it comes to interpersonal mitzvos, not realizing that the Rambam himself cites the source in Sefer HaMitzvos Aseh § 73
    – robev
    Commented May 2 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


Perhaps he meant to share the claim regarding a number of Rishonim.

From Halachipedia

There's a debate regarding if specific Rishonim such as the Samag, Maggid Mishneh, and Migdal Oz saw the Sefer HaMitzvot, as it wasn't translated from Arabic to Hebrew for some time. Later Acharonim culled lists of instances in which each of them cites the Sefer HaMitzvot to dispel those claims.[38]

Regarding your friend's, claim, I wonder how tenable it is given R' Yosef Karo had all these Rishonim.

Also, a quick search on Bar Ilan for "ספר המצות" in Kesef Mishneh, Beit Yosef, and Avkat Rochel yield over a hundred results. True, some are for the ספר מצות גדול\קטן, there are a bunch that clearly are citing the Rambam in the sefer and in the shorashim.

  • Didn't Rav Yosef Caro know Arabic? Also, wasn't Sefer HaMitzvos translated by ibn Tibbon in Rambam's lifetime?
    – robev
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 17:58
  • 1
    Those are also good reasons to say this claim is incorrect.
    – MDjava
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 18:01
  • 2
    Indeed, SH was translated durring the Rabmams lifetime. In his responsa he even directs non arabic speakers to it
    – Mbrevda
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 18:08
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    @Mbrevda I think he even referred them to it before it was translated, on the grounds that so much of it is quotations from the Gemara that even someone who doesn't understand Arabic would be able to get the general gist.
    – Meir
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 21:27

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