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I have been learning in a yeshiva/kollel in EY for 5 years. I am a BT so I didn't grow up learning, and BH I have been zocheh to gain a lot of clarity and a depth of understanding in learning sugyos in Shas. However I have found it difficult to get anywhere in terms of halacha. Learning MB does not work for me. I find that since I didn't learn the sugyas, I pashut cannot remember anything, and even halachos that I learned a bunch of times I simply do not know the basics. Too many random details without yesodos/klallim/sources for me to get any real tefisa.

I did have some hatzlachah with Aruch HaShulchan, it was just time consuming and he doesn't discuss every halachah, so you would for sure have to also learn MB or at least the SA itself in order to have a complete picture.

I found the sefer Orchos Shabbos to be very good for hilchos Shabbos - he brings the sugyas and the basic Rishonim before the brings all of the halachos.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I am thinking of trying to do all of the Aruch HaShulchan, supplemented with MB (as I wrote above) but I always want to hear from others if this is a mehalech.

Also I understand that this is probably just b'etzem a problem when it comes to learning halachah without learning the sugyos. And I will speak this out with my Rebbeim - just they are more or less of a certain shita and I am pretty sure they hold that MB is the way to go. It just hasn't been working for me for the period of time I have been learning.

Thanks for the help

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  • Try learning the MB with built in chazaros. The principles are there, just not spelled out in a linear fashion. With repetition you should find it.
    – N.T.
    Oct 23, 2022 at 11:51
  • @N.T. Thanks for your input! You will probably answer this question with "go and learn and see for yourself" but could you possibly provide an example? Meaning, what you are saying is that if you just learn it once or twice then it seems like a big mess, but if you would see it again and again and again then you would start to see a structure - even without having a background in the sugyas? That is what I am having difficulty with
    – Shaul
    Oct 24, 2022 at 7:00
  • There are cases where MB provides introductions to areas of halacha. He also usually gives the reason for a halacha, just with extreme brevity, and on a case by case basis. I found that if I chazzered what I learned the day before, and then also built in regular chazaros as I went along (end of siman, and end of section) I could usually find the basic principles of the halacha. Not enough to pasken obviously, but enough to get the gist of the topic.
    – N.T.
    Oct 24, 2022 at 8:25
  • Yalkut Yosef is such a good way to learn halacha too. Its an encyclopaedia of sources all on the page for every halacha.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 8, 2023 at 17:10

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The Mishna Achrona from Dovid Lichtenstein is very good for bringing down the basic gemara and rishonim, and it also brings the later poskim when they have what to say. So far he has only put out chalakim א, ג, and ו, but they are really good, especially if you want to stick to Mishna Brura. (It's also dirt cheap because Lichtenstein is a billionaire and subsidized his seforim).

But a more classic option could be Tur with Beis Yosef, the Beis Yosef always brings down the relevant gemara and the major rishonim. I personally own the Mechon HaMeor edition of the Tur, which has truly incredible footnotes which bring down lots of information from the broader sugya.

Perhaps you can also consider the Chayei Adam if you're learning Orach Chayim (or Chochmas Adam for Yoreh De'ah, same author) who is perhaps clearer than the mishna brura and it is shorter than the Aruch Hashulchan.

I would add that the Piskei Teshuvos is a phenomenal sefer for filling in gaps in yediyos klaliyos. He is my go-to when I want a quick way to get the basics before diving in to a siman. This is besides all of the pratim he discusses within the siman. Often He will include in the beginning of a siman important information, kind of like what the Mishna Brura does himself sometimes, but the Piskei Teshuvos does it more often and much clearer (the mishna brura in general is not a very clear sefer).

My personal seforim stack when I'm learning Orach Chayim is a Tur, Mishna Brura, Aruch Hashulchan, and sometimes a Piskei Teshuvos or Mishna Achrona.

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  • Thanks for the help with this. You have found that you are able to remember the halachah, after learning through these sefarim? You feel like you have a solid enough understanding that it's not just "facts" that you are memorizing, but rather you are actually getting the yesodos? Also, do you go through the mishnah brerurah last? I would assume that you would first do Tor/Aruch Hashulchan, and then jump to the Mishna Brura to see how we "come out."
    – Shaul
    Oct 18, 2022 at 7:08
  • @user3979986 For my "halacha seder" I primarily use my Mishna Brura, I will use the Aruch Hashulchan to see how he paskens and sometimes just for clarity (I find him much clearer), and my Tur is mostly for reference when the M"B quotes a Bach or Beis Yosef. Sometimes I'll begin with the Tur but that takes much longer and I don't feel like I need it. Like I said, the Piskei Teshuvos is my go-to for filling in yesodos that I don't know, but I suppose the Tur w/ B"Y could be as well, it's just longer and less to-the-point. But, yes I do feel that I remember what I learn with this mehalech. Oct 18, 2022 at 7:52
  • But there's no Piskei Tshuvos on OC, right? I didn't see in the side of the SA
    – Shaul
    Oct 18, 2022 at 13:32
  • @Shaul The Piskei Tshuvos is a separate sefer that won't be found in the Shulchan Aruch. It can be found as a set of 6 sefarim in probably any seforim store in any major Jewish center. Oct 18, 2022 at 16:53
  • @Shaul You said you're in E"Y, that's great for many reasons, one of which is that seforim are much, much cheaper here. Piskei Tshuvos shouldn't run you more than, say, 380 shekels. It goes on sale after Pesach (when all the seforim sales happen) for about 315. Generally, Seforim Vinkle in Ezras Torah and Next-to-the-Mir/Sifrei Hayeshiva (which is next to the Mir) in Beis Yisrael are the cheapest stores you'll find in Yerushalayim. Manny's and Feldheim/Yefeh Nof are more expensive options but you'll definitely find a set in any serious seforim store you walk in to. Oct 18, 2022 at 17:06

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