there seems to be a saying by jews that there is a 5th part of the shulchan aruch (which is common sense) (i do not like this saying)

do/did any respectable Rabbis (Rebbes, Gedolay Hador, Talmiday Hachomim or Rabonim?) say or write this saying? (and by doing so made it a kosher saying)

  • Although I don't know if this is relevant to your idea, Shulchan Aruch is those laws which are obligatory and can be performed during exile. The 5th part could be referring to those laws that can be fulfilled after the final redemption. To that end, the Mishnah Torah and the Aruch HaShilchan HaAtid have that 5th part. Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 10:44
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    @YaacovDeane good point about the Aruch HaShulchan Ha'Atid; but colloquially, "it's a Fifth Chelek question" means one of judgment and common sense. That's what the questioner is referencing.
    – Shalom
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 10:52
  • I've heard some reputable people refer to the Pe'at HaShulchan as the "fifth chelek".
    – Chaim
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:50
  • Why do you assume it takes a respectable Rabbi saying something to make it a "kosher" saying?
    – Chaim
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:51
  • people say that chaxon ish said about a great baki that he didn't learn th fifth part of Sh.A
    – kouty
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


According to Jewish historian Joseph Telushkin in his A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 1, this description is attributed to Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, an early twentieth century Rabbi.

The story is told of a young scholar who approached the early twentieth-century rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik and asked the rabbi to grant him rabbinical ordination (semicha). Since ordination is normally given after testing the applicant's knowledge of the Shulchan Aruch, the sixteenth-century code of Jewish law, the rabbi began the examination by asking the young man to name the Shulchan Aruch's five volumes. Confused, the young student protested, "But there are only four volumes in the Shulchan Aruch." "No," the rabbi answered. "There is a fifth, unwritten volume. It is called common sense (seichel), and unless you know this volume, your knowledge of the other four volumes will not help you at all."

In an asterisk note, Telushkin notes that "the story, which may be apocryphal, is also attributed to other rabbis."

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    do/did any respectable Rabbis approvingly quote this story? Since it may be apocryphal it really isn't much of an answer. If it happened at all it may have happened without that particular expression. Joseph Telushkin may not be what the question was looking for.
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 13:35
  • @Yishai The fact that it is quoted in the name of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik (the Brisker Rav) means that is is supposed to teach a lesson in how one should learn. Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 16:03
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    @Yishai the OP didn't ask if any respectable rabbis quote the story. It asked if any respectable rabbis said or wrote the saying. According to this reputable source, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik said it. (Only as a footnote does he suggest it may be otherwise.)
    – Chaim
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 17:14

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