Hirhurim just had a post about this topic, where he discussed some reasons that people should follow the aruch haShulchan. Yet in many circles, people just follow the Mishna Berura and rarely even study the aruch haShulchan for halacha. How did this develop and is it justified based on halachik principles?

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    I'm tempted to close as "not constructive," since this seems to be asking for opinions. Could you refocus more on "how did this come to be the case?" and/or "what do contemporary authorities say about this?"?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 18:56
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    I edited it to be less about opinions. I don't think an issue should depend on contemporary "authority", but on the actual sources and arguments.
    – Ariel K
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 20:06
  • looks like this goes back to the machlochet of Hillel and Shammai
    – Moda
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 7:21
  • A simple answer can be that the Chazon Ish only brings the mishne berura. I dont think he ever brings the Arach hashulchan or the graz for that matter.
    – user2709
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 8:05
  • Follow neither -- See Nesivos Olam Nesiv HaTorah sof Perek 15
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 1:43

3 Answers 3


I think there may be a number of factors that led to the Mishnah Berurah becoming the accepted work in many circles.

In each topic, the aruch hashulchan presents the whole sugya, which makes it better for someone learning, but not as quick if you just want the final halacha. The mishnah berurah separates out the discussion part, so its quicker to see the halacha, which may have helped it become more accepted. However, this is not a good reason to follow the MB in a case of dispute.

Also, the Aruch haShulchan is more willing to pasken in a case of dispute, while the mishnah berurah often tries to be choshesh for both sides. This may have helped the MB become more accepted in yeshivish circles. However, some may favor an approach that analyzes the sources and reaches a conclusion. The article I linked to quotes R' Henkin for some reasons that the Aruch haShulchan should be considered more authoritative.

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    +1. MB collects rather than paskens (though he does). Aruch HaShulchan goes through the sugya and gives a psak - which isn't always an accepted psak (Cholek on SA, RMA etc.)
    – JNF
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 7:45

The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that he was worthy that his sefer was accepted by all Jews since he was "a man who wanted life" (Ish Ha-chofetz Chaim).

The Lubavitcher Rebbe there suggested that people learn Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, the Rama, the Nosei Keilim, Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch (the Shulchan Aruch Harav) and the Mishna Brura.

  • +1. But I think you should clarify the last clause; I at first read it as saying that the Chafetz Chaim made this suggestion. (Actually, in the sicha there I don't see the Rebbe giving any suggestion one way or the other.)
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 19:40
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    I don't understand this answer. Did the Aruch haShulchan or other rabbis not desire life? (Obviously not.) What was different about the desires of the author of Mishna Berura?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 18:05
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    @DoubleAA: Without actually looking at it inside, I think the idea is the end of the verse. "Mi Ha-Ish...Netzor Leshoncha MeRa...". The Chofetz Chaim's exemplary focus on Shmirat HaLashon is what makes him stand out from the rest.
    – Menachem
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 16:03

Just to add another point, the Mishna Berurah is the most comprehensive work in terms of analyzing all the different opinions both in the Rishonim and in the commentaries of the Shulchan Aruch and other Halachic works, and he addresses almost every issue and difficulty that arises when one learns a siman in Shulchan Aruch in depth. In this regard, his work is almost unparralleled. This is one reason why his book is learned by many. Of course in a case of a specific disagreement between the Mishna Berurah and the Aruch Hashulchan, a posek might prefer to rule like the Aruch Hashulchan, on the basis of reasoning related to each specific case.

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    Re your first point, what makes that more true of Mishna B'rura than Aruch Hashulchan?
    – WAF
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 17:09
  • The Aruch Hashulchan is simply not as comprehensive as the Mishna Berurah in taking into account everything that was written on a topic, both in the Rishonim and the commentators of the Shulchan Aruch. He usually only addresses the major Rishonim, and the central commentators on the Shulchan Aruch. One could claim that this is a better method, and is indeed the method of most commentators of the Shulchan Aruch. I am not passing judgement, just pointing out that the Mishna Berurah is unique in this regard. Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 14:42
  • Doesn't MB list the specific sources that he uses for his treatment of the halachos? And isn't that list similar in length to that which AH includes? (Also, are you including the bracketed parts of AH in your comparison?)
    – WAF
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 15:42
  • Just go through the Sha'ar Hatziyun and the Be'ur Halacha, and the amount of sources he quotes is unbelievable, even in comparison to the AH including the brackets. But this is all my personal impression. I haven't made a scietific study of it. Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 14:28

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