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The Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, literally: "Set Table") is a compilation of Jewish law, or halakha. It was written by Rabbi Yosef Karo in 1563 in Tzfat (Safed), a city in the Galilee region of what is now Israel. It was published in Venice two years later. Rabbi Karo was a Sephardi Jew. His Shulchan Aruch provided a summary of Jewish law from the Torah and Talmud as understood by Sephardi Jews.
A few years later, a Polish Rabbi, Moses Isserles, wrote a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch called the mappah (literally: "tablecloth"). Rabbi Isserles's commentary provided a summary of Jewish law as understood by Ashkenazi Jews.
Since 1578, copies of the Shulchan Aruch have almost always included Rabbi Isserles's commentary. Today, the name "Shulchan Aruch" usually means both Karo's work and Isserles's work together. This combined Shulchan Aruch is the most widely accepted book of practical Jewish law in the world.
- Codex Judaica, Mattis Kantor 2005
- "Caro, Joseph Ben Ephraim". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906.