The Kaf HaHayyim was written roughly contemporaneously with the Aruch HaShulchan and the Mishnah Berurah, but is the last of the three seforim to be finished, with its final chapters completed by the young Rabbi Ovadia Yosef after the death of the author in 1939. The Kaf HaHayyim saw both of these seforim and quotes them both. Citations to the Mishnah Berurah can be easily found in Hilchot Purim, and citations to the Aruch HaShulchan can be found in Yoreh Deah 74, 75, and 76 (at least), but there are interesting opinions brought in the Aruch HaShulchan that would seem appropriate to cite in Yoreh Deah 69 and 70, yet Kaf HaHayyim does not cite them.

I haven't learned the Kaf HaHayyim from cover to cover yet, but maybe someone who has can answer this: where in Kaf HaHayyim does he first cite each of these works?

The Kaf HaHayyim cites ער’’ה often, but I think always refers to the Erech HaShulchan (ערך השלחן), by the Tunisian posek R’ Yitzhak Taieb, as that's the only work given for that acronym in the luach rahsei teviot. The work by Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (ערוך השלחן) that I'm asking about in this question appears to always be cited by full name.

  • The kaf hachaim often misses out 'original' opinions of the mishne berura which I think means he doesnt agree with them.
    – user2800
    Aug 13, 2013 at 8:24
  • Although he seems to have had many seforim I get the impression that he didnt have the 'bikurai yaakov'.
    – user2800
    Aug 13, 2013 at 8:25
  • 2
    @annex: Kaf HaHayyim 69:290 goes against his normal shita about stam v'yesh to rule that one reason why we don't do chalita is because we can be sure all of the blood came out of the meat since we salt the meat for an hour, not just 18 minutes. The Kaf HaHayyim doesn't quote anybody as saying this. I assume if he'd seen the Aruch HaShulchan when he wrote this reason, he'd have quoted Aruch Hashulchan 69:35-37 who explains it in great detail. I could be wrong. That's why I'm curious when the Kaf HaHayyim first saw these other two works.
    – Chanoch
    Aug 14, 2013 at 20:32
  • see Kaf Hachaim 637:5 for what I wrote before about the mishne berura.
    – user2800
    Aug 15, 2013 at 9:16
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    Is there basis to presume that the KH was written in sequential order thus determining the earliest citation of AH?
    – Oliver
    May 11, 2018 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


I did an analysis inspired by MDJava's. I used the JSON format text to compute the frequency with which the Mishnah Berurah and Aruch HaShulchan are cited by simain in the Kaf HaHaayyim.

I identified the Mishnah Berurah by searching for the text מ"ב או. This sefer is cited by acronym, but the Misat Binyamin is also cited using the מ"ב acronym, so I disambiguated by taking advantage of the different ways of referrring to parts of each text.

I identified the Aruch HaShulchan by the text ערוך השלחן, because this sefer is never cited by acronym. (ער"ה, which is cited a lot, always refers to Erech HaShulchan by R' Yitzchak Taieb, a Tunisian posek.)

  • The Aruch HaShulchan was never cited in Orach Chayim at all. The two references to that text substring are literally about having a set table for a seudah.
  • The Mishnah Berurah is mentioned throughout Orach Chayim, but there's a noticable uptick starting in Siman 447. (The graph below is the fraction of paragraphs in each siman that refer to the Mishnah Berurah)

Times the Mishnah Berurah is cited in Kaf HaHayyim Orach Chayim

  • The Aruch HaShulchan is mentioned once in Yoreh Deah Siman 1, but after that, the first mention is in Yoreh Deah Siman 61, and the sefer is cited somewhat consistently after that, though less consistently than the Mishnah Berurah. (One should note that the Kaf HaHayyim died at Yoreh Deah 117:12, and so simanim 117,118, and 119 were completed by Rav Ovadia Yosef)

Times the Aruch HaShulchan is cited in Kaf HaHayyim Yoreh Deah

  • Other poskim rise and fall in frequency througout the Kaf HaHayyim, but it's usually correlated with the parts of the Shulchan Aruch where that posek wrote or didn't write, rather than when the Kaf HaHayyim got access ot that sefer. For example, Shulchan Aruch HaRav is a much older text than the Kaf HaHayyim, and the Kaf HaHayyim certainly had a full copy before he started. Shulchan Aruch HaRav wrote on all of Orach Chayim and is cited pretty consistently through the Kaf HaHayyim.

Times the Shulchan Aruch HaRav is cited in Kaf HaHayyim Yoreh Deah


Searching the text of Kaf HaChaim Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah yields the following:

Mishnah Berurah cited a max of 328 times (325 "מ"ב אות" and 3 "משנה ברורה"), starting around 15:1. Haven't checked how many are referring to others Aruch HaShulchan cited 0 time in Orach Chaim and 383 times in Yoreh Deah. (ערוך הש(ו)לחן)

Visual Studio Code search term: enter image description here

  • 1
    Great! Never dreamed Visual could help for limud ! :D +1 Where did you found the informatized text please?
    – yO_
    Jun 11, 2018 at 7:39
  • Click the Sefaria link above and scroll to the download button.
    – MDjava
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:27
  • Your hit for Aruch HaShulchan in Orach Chaim is a false positive: It appears in the phrase "יש למחות ביד הנוהגין לערוך השלחן בליל שבת בפת שלם"
    – Chanoch
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:24
  • There should be way more than 39 references to Mishna Berurah as מ"ב in Orach Chaim. Somewhere starting in the halachot of matzah baking, he starts quoting the Mishna Berurah (as מ"ב) all the time. Also, מ"ב can also mean the Misat Binyamin.
    – Chanoch
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:28
  • A: Thank you for double checking B: I didn't realize there were two text files for Orach Chaim and I had only downloaded one. Searching again.
    – MDjava
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:16

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