Which sforim and topics are commonly learned by students who are studying to receive Rabbinic ordination?

ie: Yoreh De'ah Melicha - Tur V'Shulchan Aruch

Different groups within Orthodox Judaism require different levels of in depth study in Halacha. The question will show readers a broad spectrum of what kind of learning goes into different Semicha programs.

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    @ه ه I took this to be an advice question - If I'm considering studying for Semichah, which Sefarim do I need to purchase or borrow?
    – Seth J
    Apr 18, 2012 at 16:58
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    there is no set of "required texts", nor can there be an exhaustive list of every text which was used in a particular program, and I don't think that hearing what anyone used in one program has any bearing on any other. If someone were to ask an English MA student "what books did you read" the student would say "the particular books are not what matters." It seems like a non-question or at least it has no real answer. Maybe a question like "what are the required texts for the _____ smicha program" is answerable, but maybe not.
    – rosends
    Apr 18, 2012 at 17:12
  • @dan I think you are looking to much into it to find a problem. There are a basic level of standard seforim like Tur V'Shulchan Aruch and many commentaries from Achronim. You are right that maybe "Kosher in the Kitchen" published by artscroll might not be appropriate for the list but then is it really a problem?
    – user1292
    Apr 18, 2012 at 17:17
  • so i was told before i started that i had to have an tur and a shulchan aruch constantly handy, and a rambam. but that doesn't cover what texts i used (no shas or tanach was listed...) or how i used them, or what achronim i relied on or had to learn. what does it really tell? just what i went out and bought before i started.
    – rosends
    Apr 18, 2012 at 17:24

3 Answers 3


In the Chabad world, it depends on the program.

All learn

  • Basar Bechalav
  • Taaroves (or Taaruvos)
  • Parts of Melicha

Some learn

  • Full Melicha
  • Koshering Vessels
  • Shabbos
  • Birchos Hanehenin
  • Pas Akum/Bishul Akum/Chalav Akum

Useful Materials

Yoreh De'ah -

  • Gemara/Rashi

  • Tur/Beis Yosef/some Bachs

  • Shulchan Aruch/Shach/Taz (some Pri Megadims, mostly brought down in Shiur)

  • Shaarei Yoreh Deyah - A summary of the "Shach"s and "Taz"es (similar to

  • Maareches Hashulchan

  • Badei Hashulchan (brought down in shiurim)

  • Aruch Hashulchan (brought down in shiurim)

  • Piskei Dinim of the Alter Rebbe on Yoreh Deah (it's a blue sefer which extrapolates R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi's shittos in Yoreh Deah from Hilchos Pesach (and other sources).

Shabbos - Due to the fact that I studies in Lubavitch, the material here is geared to the "Chabad" circle.

  • Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch.

  • Ktzos Hashulchan

  • Sefer Shabbos Kehalacha (brought down in shiurim)

Rabbanut gets tested on:

  • Shabbos - 242-344 (one must learn simanim 253-259, 279, 302, 307-311, 313-322, 325, 328-331, 337, 340 in depth).

  • Issur Veheter - Mlicha, Basar Bechalav, Taaroves, Bishul Akum, siman 212, 213, 220, 221.

  • Nidda
  • Mikvaos
  • Chuppa V'Kidushin - Even Haezer 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 13, 26, 27, 34, 42, 52:1, 61, 62, 64, 66, 126:2 - 126:7 and Choshen Mishpat 33-34

  • Semachot - Yoreh Deah siman 340-403

Useful Materials:

See Smicha.co.il

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    No Bet Yosef??` Apr 18, 2012 at 16:39
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    I consider it included in the Tur (like the Shach and Taz is included in the Shulchan Aruch). Apr 18, 2012 at 16:40
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    @SethJ It's also a useful (rough) Maarei Mkomos list Apr 18, 2012 at 17:01
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    The Alter Rebbe's Shuchlan Aruch is just as valid as Mishneh Berurah and Aruch HaShulchan.
    – user1292
    Apr 18, 2012 at 17:15
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    @SethJ The shulchan aruch isn't a sefer halacha, its a sum-up of the Bet Yosef. See its intro. Apr 18, 2012 at 17:33

The Kaf Hachaim, Dagul Marvava(Noda B'Yeuda) , Pischei Tshuva, Biur HaGra, Beir Heitev, They Really explain the Psak Halacha clearly and sometimes add very interesting things.


I would say that the goal should be to learn from the Gemara and Rishonim upwards- ie/ if doing aveilut, start with Moed Katan, if learning kashrut, start with Chullin, etc. This is the approach which I believe the Rabbanut uses. I am familiar with the derech halimud of the Institute for Traditional Judaism in Teaneck. They learn Perakim Gid haNasheh v' Kol haBasar from Masechet Chullin, Issur v' Heter (Melicha, Basar v'Chalav, Taaruvot) from the Gemara, Rishonim, Shulchan Aruch, and Nosei Keilim, and with special emphasis on the Tur and Torat HaBayit of the Rashba. Niddah is learned from the Rishonim and Masekhet Niddah, with the Baalei haNefesh of the Raavad, Torat haBayit of the Rashba, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, and Nosei Keilim. Hilkhot Shabbat is learned from Shulchan Aruch, Chayyei Adam, Mishnah Berurah, and Shemirat Shabbat keHilkhata. Hilkhot Geirut is learned from the Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, Nosei Keilim, and with an emphasis on the teshuvot of Reb Moshe, Melamed LeHoil, Rambam, and R' Benzion Uziel, and the remainder of Orach Chaim is learned with Mishnah Berurah and Aruch haShulchan (seder hayom, tefilla, chagim, taaniyot, etc.) See here: http://www.themetivta.org/curriculum

  • I heard that Maseches Nidda has very little to do with modern day Halachos (in contrast to Tuma/Tahara) Apr 22, 2012 at 5:53

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