This question beautifully summarises the structure of the sefer we call Mishna Berura. It says that the Chofetz Chaim,

“wrote the sections to his commentary to the Code of Jewish Law: Mishna Berura - concise and easy to learn additional laws and customs to the Shulhan Aruch as well as explanations usually bringing earlier sages such as: Elya Raba, Magen Avraham, and Baer Hetev.

Biur Halacha - a little more in depth than the Mishna Berura where he usually sources his opinions and says why he holds like does.

Shaar HaTziyun - the sources for his words.”

(That question asked, “do the Ashkenazim that follow the M"B follow the words of the Biur Halacha as well?”).

My question is similar but different and in two parts.

It comes about from seeing the Shaar HaTziyun 47 in Simon 253 (see picture below).

  1. Why does the Author place his decision (לפענ״ד פשוט דיש לסמוך על המקילין בבעיא זו:) in the Shaar HaTziyun and not in the Mishna Berura?
  2. Is the decision equally accepted for its appearance in the Shaar HaTziyun as in the Mishna Berura? shaar hatziyun
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – msh210 Nov 4 '20 at 12:16

In this particular case, his pesak is indeed implicitly found in Mishnah Berurah. Sha’ar HaTziyun is just making it explicit.

Rema writes that one of the conditions to permit chazara is that the pot remains in his hand. Magen Avraham writes that this means to exclude a case where he puts the pot on a bed or on a bench or pours the contents into another pot.

Mishnah Berurah quotes Magen Avraham regarding putting the pot on a bed or bench, but omits the case of pouring the contents into another pot, because he does not rule like Magen Avraham in that specific case.

All he does in Sha’ar HaTziyun is point this out explicitly, and explain why he rules this way.

  • A good reminder to everyone that learning Mishna Berurah by itself isn't enough to understand it. You have to learn the acharonim first to know what he's skipping and what he's not. – Double AA Nov 3 '20 at 16:54

I'm not sure if this fully answers your question, but I saw in an English sefer on pesak (halachic rulings), The making of a halachic decision, a similar question posed to Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky. The author asked why the Mishnah Berurah sometimes puts sources in the text itself in square brackets, and sometimes relegates the source to the Sha'ar HaTziyun.

Rav Yaakov responded that things in the square brackets are the Mishnah Berurah's final rulings. Sources in the Sha'ar HaTziyun are simply letting you know who says what. He's not necessarily giving a final ruling (I'll add that that's mainly what the sefer is for, a digest of opinions). When asked how Rav Yaakov knew this, he responded:

When you learn Mishnah Berurah as much as I do, it becomes obvious.

As such, sources in the Sha'ar HaTziyun are actually indicative of not being a final ruling. Nevertheless, we see the author sometimes editorializes in there. Even though it's not the norm, if he writes "my opinion is such and such", I would think he should be taken at face value. Why he sometimes does this might be indicative of the fact that the later volumes were composed with the assistance of the Chofetz Chaim's son (Kol Kisvei Chofetz Chaim III p. 37). I noticed later volumes contain more editorializing than earlier ones, again probably for the same reason. His son might have had a different style and preferred to put longer comments in the Sha'ar HaTziyun.

  • Upon rereading your question I realize you might be specifically asking about this case. If so, I'll delete this answer. Your title fits more closely with my answer. – robev Nov 3 '20 at 16:54
  • Thanks @robev, I meant the question generally; it's just this occurrence which prompted the question. – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 3 '20 at 17:23

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