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M"B 25:42 makes it clear that we always follow Gemara over Zohar. And we similarly follow Bavli over Yerushalmi (as is clear from the Hirhurim article quoted in this related discussion).

However, do we follow Zohar or Yerushalmi?

  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3826/759 – Double AA Jun 20 '12 at 6:15
  • Could you give an example of something that differs between Zohar and Yerushalmi but does not appear in Bavli? – yoel Jun 20 '12 at 7:24
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    @Yoel wearing tefilin during chol hamoed – avi Jun 20 '12 at 7:42
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    @yoel Yerushalmi Moed Katan 3:4 Rosh Hilchot Tefillin 16 – sam Jun 20 '12 at 15:12
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    @yoel The question is mostly about how the Shulchan Aruch and other poskim decide the halachah. But it's possible that there will be an area not covered by the Shulchan Aruch (e.g. Zeraim) in which there is a dispute as well. – b a Jun 20 '12 at 16:26
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According to Harav Yishak Yosef Shelit"a (En Yishak vol. 1 pg. 334) we follow the Yerushalmi over the Zohar.

Sources to support: Petah Hadvir 46c, Sede Hemed Kelale HaPoskim 2:5, Yabia Omer vol. 4 pg 39a).

  • So does he rule to wear Tefillin on Chol haMoed in accordance with the Yerushalmi and against the Zohar? – Double AA Oct 15 '13 at 5:16
  • You have a good question sorry for oversimplfying. Ill bn look it up. – Hacham Gabriel Oct 20 '13 at 3:38
  • @DoubleAA it could take precedence in theory while practically speaking there is still (for those that go like this) a Shulchan Aruch to follow even if it ignores this klal (or in fact ignores his -- the shulchan aruch's -- own klalim!) – Yehoshua Apr 24 '16 at 15:06
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In the discussion of the correct procedure for cutting the bread at the Shabbat meal, R. Joel Sirkes writes (Bayit Chadash O.C. siman 274) the following:

דאין עוברין על דין התלמוד מפני שהוא כך על פי הקבלה וכי היכי דאנו מניחין תפילין בחולו של מועד ע"פ תלמוד ירושלמי כמ"ש לעיל בסימן ל"א ולדברי הזוהר הוא חייב מיתה

We do not violate a Talmudic law when Kabbalah specifies a certain way, just like we put on tefillin on Chol Hamoed in accordance with the Talmud Yerushalmi, as I wrote earlier in siman 31, even though according to the Zohar this carries the death penalty.

This appears to be a clear statement that the Yerushalmi supersedes the Zohar.

However, R. Joseph Karo writes (Beit Yosef O.C. siman 31 ) that originally the Benei Sefard would put on tefillin on Chol Hamoed, but once they discovered what the Zohar said they stopped:

ועכשיו נהגו כל בני ספרד שלא להניחם בחול המועד כדברי הרא"ש ואחר כך מצאו שכתב רבי שמעון בן יוחאי במאמר אחד שאסור להניחם בחול המועד ועל פיו נמנעו מלהניחם בחול המועד וכן כתב מורי דודי הה"ר יצחק קארו ז"ל בתשובה

He concludes by saying that since this question is not explicitly clarified in the Talmud Bavli, no one has the guts to actively defy the strong words of R. Shimon Bar Yochai:

ומאחר שבתלמודא דידן לא נתבאר דין זה בפירוש מי יערב לבו לגשת לעבור בקום ועשה על דברי רבי שמעון בן יוחאי המפליג כל כך באיסור הנחתם

This would seem to indicate that the Zohar supersedes the Yerushalmi, in which case we would be left with a dispute about which supersedes the other. However, R. Karo is not necessarily assigning greater authority to the Zohar than to the Yerushalmi. First-of-all, it is possible that he holds that the proof from the Yerushalmi is not a clear-cut proof (i.e. perhaps the Yerushalmi is not actually conflicting with the Zohar), and second-of-all, it is possible that his reasoning is not based on measuring authority but instead based on what he wrote in the last line.

  • Could you please add the daf in Yerushalmi, which discusses this case? – Kazi bácsi Mar 8 '18 at 18:18
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    @Kazibácsi It's MK 3:4. Arguably of course one could assert those opinions held Shabbat is Zman Tefillin, but I don't know that that is all that convincing. – Double AA Mar 8 '18 at 18:25
  • That's a great point in the last paragraph. I asked the question (6 years ago) looking for a general rule, but it seems obvious now that it differs case by case. Like the fast of the firstborn, which (I think) none of the rishonim writes against, even though the Yerushalmi in Pesachim 10 clearly proves they didn't observe that fast universally. Now I wonder more what the "general rules" mean at all. – b a Mar 8 '18 at 18:46
  • @ba I'd switch the accepted answer (also to incentivise Double AA) – Kazi bácsi Mar 8 '18 at 22:42
  • @DoubleAA the Bach indeed quotes those who make that argument. – Alex Mar 9 '18 at 0:39

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