In the name of more clearly understanding which work represents his most final conclusion, and in the purely academic interest of knowing which works were drawing from the others, I am curious as to the order of writing (not of publication) of three works of Rav Moshe Isserles - the Darkei Moshe (commentary to the Tur), Toras Hachattas (Halachic guide to Issur V'Hetter), and the Mappah (glosses to R' Yosef Cairo's Shulchan Aruch).

My research so far:

I am aware that the Chida in Sheim HaGedolim (חלק מערכת הספרים ד"ה תורת החטאת) rejects an opinion that the Mappah came before Toras Hachattas and strongly asserts that Torah Hachattas came before the Mappah, and that the Shach (Yoreh De'ah 99:15) suggests that the Rema's omission of something in the Mappah is a sign that he retracted from what he wrote in the Toras Hachattas. I have also noted that the commentaries on the Mappah in basar b'cholov and ta'aruvos often cross-reference what the Rema wrote in Toras Chattas and seldom reference the Darkei Moshe, even when what he wrote in Darkei Moshe seems to be more similar to what he wrote in the Mappah, leading me to wonder if the Darkei Moshe was merely less accessible, or perhaps it was written afterwards and therefore is not assumed to be as relevant in the development of what made it into the Mappah.

I am also aware that the Taz in Y.D. 106 cites the Toras Hachattas as asking a question on what the Mechaber writes in Shulchan Aruch, which would mean that Toras Hachattas was written after Shulchan Aruch was published. In order for Toras Hachattas to predate the Mappah would mean it had to have been between the publishing of Shulchan Aruch and the writing of the Mappah, which I understand to be a fairly narrow window of time.

Looking for authoritative sources.


1 Answer 1


Bet Yosef Orach Chaim first appeared in 1550 (Yoreh Deah in 1551; Even HaEzer in 1553; Choshen Mishpat in 1558). In R. Isserles' intro. to Orach Chaim he writes that in the middle of compiling his grand work Darkei Moshe the BY appeared and so he refrained from continuing and instead reviewed R. Karo's work in a critical fashion, critiquing and supplementing where he saw the aforementioned work lacking. Ergo, DM's initial compilation began prior to 1550. However, it is important to further note that in the intro. (ibid) he informs us that he consequently began reviewing his original work, Darkei Moshe, essentially preparing a second edition. We therefore may be compelled to believe that the material of Darkei Moshe is a synthesis of pre-1550 work and also post-1550.

In a responsum (§131), R. Isserles attests that the Mappah (glosses to Shulchan Aruch) was authored after the Darkei Moshe as the former was based on, and apparently culled from, the latter.

Rav Isserles signs in his intro. to Toras HaChattas that he authored the work in 1568 (and first pub. in 1569, three years before his leaving this world).

In summation, it appears that the chronological order of the noted works is as follows: Darkei Moshe, Mappah, Toras HaChattas

However, R. Yitzhak Nissim asserts, in his essay that appeared in the Sinai Jubilee volume (סיני - ספר היובל), that the TH was written before the glosses.

Source: R. Asher Ziv's 'Rabbenu Moshe Isserles' (New York, 1972)

  • +1 Do you know when the Mappa was first printed? If before 1568, then it must precede Torah HaHattat. From this it seems the mappa was first printed in 1570, but it could have been written before Torat HaHattat, or concurrent with it.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 4, 2018 at 17:41
  • @mevaqesh It's hard to ascertain with certainty. Ziv maintains, based on the publisher's admission (R. Shmuel b. Yitzchok Fiem), that OC was printed during the lifetime of Rema since Rema says so -and references to its published ed.- himself, whereas the other vols. weren't; YD July 1578, CM Oct. 1579, EH Feb. 1580. However, as an astute individual as yourself would note, printing /= compilation. For all I know, the glosses may have been compiled concurrent with the larger DM (and indeed they were glosses which IIRC were in circulation among his students); i.e. redacted before TH.
    – Oliver
    Jan 4, 2018 at 19:02
  • 1
    +1 and thanks for the sources! I am confused how you arrived at your concluding summary that Mappah came before Torah HaChattas without having provided any information about when Mappah was written other than that it was after Darchei Moshe. Jan 4, 2018 at 21:22
  • @Yez You're welcome. DM was his extensive work on Tur which ultimately turned into a super-work on Bet Yosef after the latter first appeared in 1550. It also appears that the glosses were reduced to some written form years before it reached printing (OC during his life and YD only in 1578) since he refers to them in responsa. As noted, Rema writes in his intro. to TH that he wrote it when his father had already passed away in 1568 (four years before Rema passed away)....
    – Oliver
    Jan 4, 2018 at 23:05
  • ... However it may be plausible to argue that the three later vols. of glosses and the resp. referring to them were all written between 1578 and his passing away four years later.
    – Oliver
    Jan 4, 2018 at 23:05

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