Mishnah Berurah

Mishnah Berurah
Author Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan
Original title משנה ברורה
Language Hebrew
Published 1904
Original text
משנה ברורה at Hebrew Wikisource

The Mishnah Berurah (Hebrew: משנה ברורה "Clarified Teaching") is a work of halakha (Jewish law) by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (Poland, 1838–1933), also colloquially known by the name of another of his books, Chofetz Chaim "Desirer of Life". It was first published in 1904.

His Mishnah Berurah is a commentary on Orach Chayim, the first section of the Shulchan Aruch which deals with laws of prayer, synagogue, Shabbat and holidays, summarizing the opinions of the Acharonim (post-Medieval rabbinic authorities) on that work.[1]

The title Mishnah Berurah is a reference to the portion in Deuteronomy where Israel is commanded to inscribe God's commandments in large clear writing on a mountainside.

The Mishnah Berurah is traditionally printed in 6 volumes alongside selected other commentaries. The work provides simple and contemporary explanatory remarks and citations to daily aspects of halakha. It is widely used as a reference and has mostly supplanted the Chayei Adam and the Aruch HaShulchan as the primary authority on Jewish daily living among Ashkenazi Jews, particularly those closely associated with haredi yeshivas. The Mishnah Berurah is accompanied by additional in-depth glosses called Be'ur Halakha, a reference section called Sha'ar Hatziyun (these two were also written by the Chofetz Chaim), and additional commentaries called Be'er Hagolah, Be'er Heitev, and Sha'arei Teshuvah.

The Mishnah Berurah's "literary style can be described as follows: In relation to a given law of the Shulhan Aruch, he raises a particular case with certain peculiarities that may change the law; then, he enumerates the opinions of the Ahronim (the later authorities, of the 16th century and on) on that case, from the most lenient to the most stringent ; and finally, he decides between them.... Having displayed what we may call the "leniency-stringency spectrum", [he] actually offers the reader an array of conduct options from which he may pick the one that seems right for him. This choice is not altogether free, since [he] shows a clear inclination to one side of the spectrum - the stringent - and encourages the reader to follow it, but still, the soft language of the ruling suggests that if one follows the other side of the spectrum, the lenient, he will not sin, since there are trustworthy authorities that may back his choice."[2]

"Mishnah Berurah Yomit" is a daily study programme initiated by Vaad Daas Halacha and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. The study program proceeds either on a 2½-year cycle ("Daf a Day") or a 5-year cycle ("Amud a Day") and includes a focus on each Yom Tov (festival) in the 30 preceding days.

See also

Other study cycles:


  1. "The Chofetz Chaim - Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen". Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  2. Benjamin Brown, "'Soft Stringency' in the Mishnah Vrurah: Jurisprudential, Social, and ideological Aspects of a Halachic Formulation," Contemporary Jewry 27 (2007), 7.
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