Sometimes poskim will pasken from the Talmud (gemara) instead of the Shulchan Arukh. However, I thought that we pasken from the Shulchan Arukh and not from the Talmud. What is the proper way for deciding the halacha?

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    Any source for your first sentence? for your second? – msh210 Jul 22 '12 at 19:58
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    I can't think of any source, but I definitely have seen it before. If anyone can think of one, then please go ahead and edit it in! Thanks. – Adam Mosheh Jul 22 '12 at 19:58
  • I want to improve this question... Any advice, rabotai? – Adam Mosheh Jul 22 '12 at 20:11
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36222 – msh210 Mar 12 '14 at 15:52

See here.

The Talmud is the source of Halacha and not the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch, on the other hand, is really 'only' a useful guide as to which opinions within the Talmud are accepted as normative Halacha, and what normative Halacha considers to be proper applications of the numerous general concepts found in the Talmud. In that sense the Shulchan Aruch (with the Rema) is the most major/accepted Halachic authority, but the Talmud is still the source of all Halacha, and in theory the only authority a Posek needs to answer to.

  • This doesn't really disagree with the answer that I gave, does it? – Adam Mosheh Jul 23 '12 at 14:10

Although I cannot remember where I learned this, I recently learned that the Vilna Gaon (a.k.a., the G.R.A.), one of the most knowledgable rabbinic luminaries of all time, famously innovatively taught his students that when there was a disagreement between the views of the Talmud and the Shulchan Arukh, it was better to follow the view of the Talmud.

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    The Shulchan Aruch never contradicts the gemara (and if it did, one of the nos'ei keilim would point it out). Sometimes, though, he brings the Zohar over gemara (but the Gra usually follows Zohar over gemara as well). – b a Jul 22 '12 at 19:56
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    @ba "The Gra usually follows the Zohar over the gemara": really? Can you give some examples? – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 19:58
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    This is something I've believed for a long time. I'll look for a source or examples – b a Jul 22 '12 at 20:01
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    @DoubleAA Note #6 here. However, I did find one contradictory Biur HaGra 56:9. – b a Jul 22 '12 at 20:35
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    @ba That note just says he introduced practices based on the Zohar, not that he rules like the Zohar against a gemara. – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 20:38

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