The Rama wrote a series of glosses to the Shulchan Aruch to reflect standard Ashkenazi practice, as the Shulchan Aruch was weighted towards the Sephardim. These glosses have been reprinted in almost every edition since then and are introduced in the text usually with a font change and the word הגה=gloss. Sometimes, one comes across a gloss that has a different font, but is not preceded by the word הגה. Sometimes these anonymous glosses are in parenthesis and sometimes not. (One such example is here.)

Who wrote these glosses? Was it the Rama? Was it a later publisher? If they are the Rama's, why don't they start with the usual הגה?


4 Answers 4


Those glosses printed in the same font as the Remah are indeed from the Remah even though they don't start with the usual הגה as is evident from the commentaries in such places. Not always did the Remah start of writing הגה. However, there are glosses which are printed in the same font as the Remah and are in parentheses, they usually consist of sources and/or definitions of words. These glosses are NOT from the Remah, but they are very old. They are also known for being completely wrong in many instances. The commentaries sometimes deal with these glosses, but usually do not.

Source: I am studying Semicha under Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Lerner.

  • 6
    Did Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Lerner say this, or it that just your qualification for answering?
    – Double AA
    Feb 28, 2012 at 17:55
  • 2
    Can you provide an example of a place where it is evident from the commentaries there that it is still the Rama writing that comment?
    – Double AA
    Feb 28, 2012 at 17:56
  • 5
    He said it numerous times (in fact, today again he mentioned part of what I wrote yesterday). Feb 29, 2012 at 17:43
  • Do you have any examples as to where the comentaries 'deal with' the marginal glosses and where they are wrong?
    – fartgeek
    Jun 23, 2023 at 1:34
  • @fartgeek Not off-hand, but it's all over the place. Jun 23, 2023 at 11:15

This is (partly) addressed by the editors in the beginning of the Tzuras Hadaf edition of Shulchan Aruch. They note that many of the in-text explanations and citations are not actually from the Mechaber and Rema, but were simply added in by later editors/commentators and were printed as if they were the words of the Mechaber and Rema. And the reverse occurred as well:

ציונים ופירושים – דברי המחבר והרמ"א מלאים וגדושים בהערות ציונים ופרושים ופעמים רבות אינם מדבריהם אלא נוספו במהדורות מאוחרות ע"י מגיהים ופרשנים שונים ואעפ"כ נדפסו תוספות אלא כאילו הם מדברי המחבר והרמ"א גופא וכן להיפך פעמים רבות דברי המחבר והרמ"א נדפסו בסוגרים כך שניתן להבין כאילו אינם מדבריהם ראה לדוגמא אורח חיים סימן קל"ט ס"ג בסעיף זה המגיה חולק על המחבר והדבר נראה כאילו הם דברי הרמ"א או יורה דיעה סימן רל"ט ס"ב שם המגיה חולק על דברי הרמ"א

They endeavored to correct this in their edition by putting all the "additions" in parentheses and a different font, and by removing the parentheses and restoring the font of words which are actually from the Mechaber and Rema:

ציונים והערות – כל התוספות שהופיעו בדברי המחבר והרמ"א ואינם מדבריהם אלא ממחברים אחרים באו הדפסנום בסוגרים ובאות שונה בכל המקומות שדברי המחבר והרמ"א נדפסו בסוגרים ונראו כתוספת שאינה מדבריהם מחקנו הסוגרים והשוונו האותיות

  • The introduction of the Mechon Yerushalaim edition has a few full pages about this topic.
    – Mordechai
    Jul 1, 2021 at 21:35

I have noticed that when the Remah has a non-hagah comment and a hagah comment within one seif the non-hagah comment is an elaboration of the Sulchan Aruchs position and the hagah comment is the Remah's own position and thoughts. I'm not sure if this plays out as a general principle but 2 examples of this is in Siman 98/(99?) of Yoreh Deah. (I will edit this to give a specific seif when I have the time to look it up.)

  • 1
    Interesting idea. Providing some concrete examples would be very helpful when you can.
    – Double AA
    Aug 19, 2013 at 3:01

--edited for clarity--

it really depends on the print, a good print has almost only ramah in the actual text, and the other things are on the side.

why it is this way: over the years many smart-alec printers, thought adding their "genius" (gaon-ness) to the rama would be helpful, usually in the form of maareh mekomos. sometimes even good maareh mekomos for shulchan aruch were placed as the source for the rama, or vice-verse, and other such things. which resulted in alot of other stuff there not written by the ramah himself. but the fact that it doesn't say hagaah alone doesnt mean much (aside for the fact that you may want a newer print).

see mechon yerushalaim print of shulchan aruch orech chaim 1 intro, and sources quoted there for more info.

  • 5
    You have posted many answers, none of which cite any sources at all. We don't know you, so all we have is the word of an anonymous person on the Internet. Please cite sources for your answers wherever possible! Here, you've cited one source "mechon yerushalaim print of shulchan aruch orech chaim 1 intro", which is a good start. If you can do the same for your other answers (and also clarify which parts of this answer are supported by your cites source), that'd be better. (Also, sentences, with proper punctuation and capitalization, would make your answers much more readable.)
    – msh210
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:33

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