Sunday, September 3, 2023

Halacha by committee - Mishna Berura

 Rav Bluth told me that Rav Moshe had said to him, that the Mishna Berura was composed by a committee of talmidei chochomim and therefore it is more binding than if composed by an individual

I am not aware of any recognized sefer that was composed by a committee. The Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Aruch HaShulchan, Tur, Beis Yosef etc etc were all composed by individuals and their authority comes because they were widely accepted. So why was this different?

Rav Bulman told me that the Mishna Berura was written because many cities in Europe had government appointed Rabbis who were often maskilim and were therefore  largely ignored by the yeshiva world. If a bochur or avreich needed to know what the normative practice was he had no where to go. So the Chofetz Chaim created a source book listing various views and indicating normative practice

It was not immediately accepted and even in Radin they relied on the Aruch HaShulchan. Rabbi Heineman told me  that post world war II with the loss of many poskim it was decided that their needed to be a common reference and the Mishna Berura was chosen. His rebbe, Rav Kotler always went around carrying a volume of Mishna Berura in order to increase its importance.


  1. What was the format and composition of the alleged committee?
    All The above statements are contradictory.
    The other authors are not as prestigious as the Chofetz Chaim.
    A "documentary hypothesis " on authorship make it less reliable and less binding.
    In any case, Arukh hashulchan was the source of choice for Rav Moshe and rav Henkin. So the committee claim of authority not even accepted by rav Moshe himself.

  2. Committee for ejf proselytizing :

    More than 1000 rabbis applied to attend the conference, which is why the Eternal Jewish Family is planning additional events in other major US cities. The next major conference in the US is planned for Boston in the Fall.

    Rabbi Leib Tropper, dean of Yeshiva Kol Yaakov, called the conference "a monumental achievement by daas Torah throughout the world." He added: "We are well on the way towards adopting universal standards for conversions in intermarriage. We will be sending a strong message that when it comes to geirus in intermarriage, there is only one halochoh."

    Chareidi policy?

  3. The Shulcan Aruch was also written by committee. The Beis Yosef even names them - the Rambam, the Rif and the Rosh.

  4. Everything depends on PR. If you announce enough times that a certain book is the final book on the subject, write all your stuff on that assumption and then repeat it ad nauseam, it doesn't matter what the facts are anymore.

  5. And the Rema was also part of that "committee "

  6. As I have previously mentioned,
    It's interesting that whereas the MB has so much publicity and is taught in yeshivot as a basic text, the Arukh hashulchan has a much wider scope - covers all the shulchan Arukh, as well as a future work ie for Eretz yisroel and Moshiach. And although the major gedolei hador referred to it in practical halacha, it is still virtually a hidden book. There is no big marketing or PR drive, no institutions or English versions, artscroll etc.

  7. It is essentially the same as the "big lie" theory, also used by the Kuzari principle


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