The phrase "al pi Kabalah" (based on Kabalah) is often used in teshuvot for various minhagim or halachot.

When is the first recorded instance of somebody recording the Halacha either "al pi Kabalah" or by quoting the Zohar? To clarify, I want to know the Year. It does not matter if they were a major posek or not, just as long a they were mentioning practical rather than theoretical halacha. If they are quoting the zohar they have to mention it by name.

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3826
    – WAF
    Jan 5, 2014 at 1:05
  • I voted to close because the other question asks for all books of the class of which this question asks for the earliest member. cc @WAF
    – msh210
    Jan 5, 2014 at 3:58
  • That doesn't even come close to answering myvquestion!!!!!
    – avi
    Jan 5, 2014 at 5:38
  • 2
    Avi, are you looking for a source quoting the Zohar specifically, or any legal ruling based on 'the hidden Torah'? If the latter, than the answer would be someone very early (all of the Chasidei Ashkenaz, for example) Oct 28, 2014 at 18:49
  • 1
    Would Beit Yosef 's statement on Tur Orach Chayim 426 "והר"י גיקטילי"א בעל שערי אורה כתב בתשובה שעל פי הקבלה אין לברך על חידוש הלבנה עד שיעברו עליה ז' ימים" qualify with regard to R. Yosef Gikatilla (especially considering it is brought le-Halakhah in Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 426:4, even against the Rif, the Rambam and the Rosh who say one is obligated to do Qidush Levanah from the first day)?
    – Tamir Evan
    Dec 4, 2014 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Seems like the Bet Yosef is one of the earliest to quote the Zohar as the source of a Halacha.

The first instance, IIRC, is the various details of Negel Vaser, like pouring from one vessel to another and not using the water for anything else.

He actually prefaces this section with an announcement [caveat?] that these Halachot are not found in writings of other Poskim:

וכן כתכ בספר הזוהר פרשת וישב על פסוק ויאמר האיש נסעו מזה ועוד כתובים שם בנטילת ידים שחרית חדושין שאינם נמצאים בפוסקים וז״ל ...‏

Source: Tur Orach Chaim Ch. 4 - 4th wide line.

The Bet Yosef [on the Tur] was completed in 1547, according to Wikipedia in Hebrew.

  • 1
    (1) Where does the Bet Yosef mention the obligation to wash Negel Vaser before doing anything else being from the Zohar? Ba'er Heitev on Orach Chayim 1:1 s.v. ha-Shachar comments on the Bach's surprise at the Beit Yosef for not having mentioned the Zohar 's position on the importance of Netilat Yadayim before all else. (2) Hebrew Wikipedia's article on the Beit Yosef says it's writing (which took 25 years) was completed in 1547.
    – Tamir Evan
    Nov 27, 2014 at 18:02
  • @TamirEvan - I wrote that from [faulty] memory (which is why I said IIRC.) I'm going to edit it. Dec 2, 2014 at 8:16
  • I do have another question: Considering the Beit Yosef is actually a commentary on the Arba'ah Turim, bringing various Halakhic sources to bare on the latter, with the Shulchan Arukh bringing the author's actual Pesaq (and especially considering it's introduction claiming to decide Halakhah based on the majority of the Rif, the Rambam and the Rosh, unless existing custom or majority of other Poseqim is otherwise), does the Beit Yosef qualify as R. Karo making a Halachic ruling based on Kabalah (or as "recording the Halacha either 'al pi Kabalah' or by quoting the Zohar")?
    – Tamir Evan
    Dec 4, 2014 at 19:02
  • @TamirEvan - that's a fascinating question - which should be sent to the community for its own consideration. Dec 7, 2014 at 7:23
  • I believe the Beis Yosef's uncle was very into paskening from kabbala, perhaps even more than the Beis Yosef. His responsa are cited by the Beis Yosef IIRC.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 1, 2015 at 22:49

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