100 Years of the Mishnah Berurah

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3 Responses

  1. Mordechai says:

    I recently heard a tape from Rav Simcha Wasserman, zarzal who attributed the following response to the Brisker Rav

    Someone once asked: if the Chofetz Chaim so wished to avoid fame, and was already praying that he not become known as a scholar, then why did he not also pray that he not become famous as a saint? The answer goes that it was so clear to the Chofetz Chaim himself that he was not a saint, that he never considered it necessary to pray that people recognize the obvious!

  2. mycroft says:

    Thanks for the reminder of one of the leading Jewish personalities of the past couple hundred years.
    Technical point-didn’t the Chafeitz Chaim live for 95 years rather than 105 years.
    “while his Mishnah Berurah is not even mentioned in the article.”

    historically-it appears that the Mishnah Berurah has received more acceptance as authoritative — rather than the Chaii Adam, or Aruch Hashulchan for example after the Chafeitz Chaims p’tirah.

    BTW an interesting discussion would be can one not follow the Mishna Berurah and follow Aruch Hashulachan or Chaii Adam–it is probably not as obvious an answer as students of Rav Ahron Kotler ZT”L assume.

  3. Micha Berger says:

    For what it’s worth, many of his peers disagreed with Rav Aharon Kotler — including Rav Hutner (Chaim Berlin), Rav Y. Yaakov Weinber (Ner Israel), and my own rebbe, Rav Dovid Lifshitz (the Suvalker Rav and RIETS).

    Personally, I advocate an Arukh haShulchan Yomi program. Partly because of my rebbe’s advice when I got married, that it be the guide to be used on questions that do not require I got to a rabbi. Partly also because it has more of the mechanics of the halachic process, as opposed to the Mishnah Berurah’s orientation toward citing sources without explaning the logic of their positions. It makes it easier to stick to for daily learning.

    It’s clear that Rav Yisrael Meir haKohein (Kagan) personally did not intend the Mishnah Berurah to serve in the role it does. To give two examples: The becher he used at the seder was inherited by his daughter and measured. It’s not large enough according to the Mishnah Berurah. Another: He didn’t wear his tzitzis strings out, even though the primary source for the contemporary practice of those who do so (including myself) is the Mishnah Berurah.

    The shift from a survey and theoretic discussion to a halachic guide was a program of Rav Aharon Kotler’s. Now, I’m not going to say that following the Mishnah Berurah pragmatically is any less a good idea because one is following Rav Aharon rather than the Chafeitz Chaim by doing so. But I just want to be clear. It also explains why this tendency is slightly less true in yeshivos less connected to Lakewood.

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