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Is there a general principle for how we treat a י"א = יש אומרים (yesh omrim, "some say") cited in the Shulchan Aruch for the purposes of determining halacha? If not, are there examples of two halachos where we use different approaches towards a י"א (e.g. following one but not the other, treating one as going l'chumra and one as going l'kula, etc.)?

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Synopsized from Yad Malachi (K'lalei Haposkim - HSh"' VRM"' #13,14,16,17):

  • When the Shulchan Aruch quotes an unattributed halacha followed by one introduced with the words "yesh om'rim" it indicates that the unattributed opinion is authoritative.
    • This is [almost] universally agreed despite the fact that occasionally the conclusion of Beis Yosef coincides with an opinion under the heading "yesh om'rim" and not with the unattributed one that preceded it.
  • When it says "yesh om'rim X v'yesh om'rim Y" it is deciding in favor of the second opinion.
    • Some interpret such a formulation as non-determinative.
  • When it introduces an opinion with "yesh om'rim" and follows that with an opinion beginning "v'yesh mi she'omer" the first one is authoritative.
    • Some disagree and therefore this rule is unreliable.
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    [almost] universally ... I love it :P – avi Dec 12 '13 at 10:56
  • Where does he get these rules from? Did Rav Karo ever clarify? Did people just make it up? – Double AA Dec 30 '13 at 6:20
  • @DoubleAA Yad Malachi gets them from all kinds of other sifrei k'lalim and interspersed in standard commentaries. He cites them on those pages. If you're asking how Rav Yosef Karo ranked opinions, there are some indications therein as well. In some instances it's actually obvious since his explicitly stated algorithm (in the intro to Beis Yosef) is majority-of-small-sample-based. – WAF Dec 30 '13 at 10:42

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