The beit yosef has a very clear Shita. There are 3 important poskim:rosh.,rif,and rambam.

He goes after the majority of these Poskim in case of a machloket.

When looking into the rema(darkei moshe) it looks very chaotic.

It looks like he brings every posek known at his time and tries to compromise between them.

Is there a certain order in his Psakim? What was his Shita? Are there any scholarly articles regarding this?

  • The better question is how the BY was allowed to make up out of thin air an arbitrary algorithm for paskining everything in Judaism. Borderline reforming...
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:36
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    It is not correct that Beis Yosef always paskins like the majority vote of his 3. (e.g. I believe he holds we put 3 matzas on the table like the Rosh against both Rambam and Rif.) -- but he does do it most of the time.
    – gt6989b
    Jan 22, 2015 at 22:47
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    @gt6989b True. Sometimes he even rules against all three in favor of another rishon.
    – Fred
    Jan 23, 2015 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


The Ramma outlines his intent in his forward to Toras Chatas. He says he is writing a compendium of the modern works upon whom the practices of his times were observed. He says he is not competing with Rav Yosef Kaaro who's work spread all over the world. He is simply pointing out the places where if someone would open the Shulchan Aruch for a ruling, he would undo the minhagim that were practiced in those countries.

This seems to be in stark contrast to the Reb Yosef Kaaro, in his forward to his Beis Yosef on the Tur, who although he did bring modern sources when the classic ones did not discuss a subject, his express intent was a return to the basics and uncovering sources from the three pillars of halcha, the Riff, Rambam and Rosh. He limited his halakhic ruling to simplistic basic laws.

These differences show in their respective works as the Beis Yosef appears as a 'lamdan' discussing and clarifying, and the Ramma ends up as a 'milaket', a gatherer of ideas, without getting as much into foundations and theories.

  • "express intent was a return to the basics" More like his express intent was to be too lazy to try and work out the Halacha himself. That's basically how he describes it in his Hakdama.
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:46
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    @Double calling it lazy sounds too nasty for me to agree with you.
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:51
  • Say it or don't say it, it's basically what he says. And I'm not the first person to call him out on it, see the Hakdama to Darkei Moshe. Why are you quoting the Hakdama to Toras Chatas anyway?
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:56
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    @Double And i don't think it was laziness. He wanted to write an addendum to a classic work. He choose the Tur which already did the legwork of quoting the most opinions. This made life easier for the reader as well as the writer.
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:05
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    @Double In fact believe the story or not, the chida says there were three who we worthy to write the accepted code of law. But the beis yosef was chosen due to his extreme humility.
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:36

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