What’s In the New Sections of Shulchan Aruch?

The news that previously-unknown sections of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch had been discovered excited chassidim and Torah scholars world over. But what is contained in those new sections?

By Anash.org reporter

The news that previously-unknown sections of the Alter Rebbe‘s Shulchan Aruch had been discovered excited chassidim and Torah scholars the world over. But what is contained in those new sections?

As reported on Wednesday, Chabad scholar Rabbi Avraham Alashvili discovered the new sections while combing through the thousands of manuscripts released by the Rebbe’s library. With few manuscript editions of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch in existence, the manuscript provided a rare look at the Shulchan Aruch before the Tsarist censors redacted large portions.

When comparing the manuscript to the printed version, scholars noticed a large number of differences. Some were major, adding full phrases, and other were minor edits or changes. The largest differences were due to passages removed by the censors, due to their “offensive” nature, as they were discussing dealings with non-Jews, or the laws of geirus, a criminal offense in Russia at that time.

But scholars noticed other differences that could not be attributed to censors, such as the omission of a line in Hilchos Talmud Torah that discussed the obligation to learn Nach. This led some scholars to debate if the manuscript was perhaps and earlier edition that had been edited later by the Alter Rebbe.

In this week’s Kfar Chabad Magazine, where the story first broke, the editors printed a full-page containing each of the larger phrases and paragraphs, where one can clearly notice the difference between the editions.

Another publication, prepared by Rabbi Sholom Ber Shuchat, presents the full text of Chapters 155 and 156, contrasting the printed edition with the manuscript edition, allowing one to compare even the smallest edits.

Anash.org presents both publications, to allow readers to learn and enjoy the newly revealed treasures.

Click here to download Chapters 155-156 of Shulchan Aruch with comparison of old and new editions.

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  1. בהכת״י בסימן קנה תחלת סעיף א קודם התיבות ׳ובעת זו צריך שילמד׳ נרשם: הר״י פ״ק דברכות
    כמו שנדפס בדפוס ראשון (ובהוצאה חדשה: אות טז).

    [In rabbi Shochat’s booklet, he misinterpreted the manuscript in the beginning of #155 to read: הר״י פ״ג דברכות

    ומה שנדפס בקונטרסו של שלום בער שוחט בשם הכת״י ׳פ״ג׳ הוא טעות המפענח.

    ראה צורת אות הקוף שורה ומחצה אח״כ בהכתב יד (שורה המתחלת: התפלה) קודם שילך לעסקיו.

    וראה צורת התיבה: פ״ג, בשורה אחרונה שבכתב יד ע׳ 1

  2. Listen to the insertion into the mitzva ואהבת לרעך in סימן קנו סעיף ה.

    Untill now was blur distinguishing the bal avaira who we are commanded to love versus the rasha we distance.

    But now the Alter Rebbe is clarifying that the rasha we distance is only a very rare type, “שאינו מקבל תוכחה” who continues his ways even after you acomplished your mitzvas asey of הוכח תוכיח.

    This commandment from Leviticus 19.17 is obviously performed with sensitivity. Chazal taught that the Aibeshter perserved even Bilam Harasha’s dignity by silencing his donkey after it mocked “how can you overpower an entire nation when you are powerless to kill me”
    “חס הקבה על כבודו של אותו רשע”
    במדבר רבה כ יב

    Also note the Alter Rebbe’s update אבל מצוה להחיותו that even this rare akshan who maintains his wicked ways we are commanded to support.

    Which is similar to the Mezritcher Magid’s teaching to his talmid, “Elimelech, do you hear what is heard in heaven, that Ahavas Yisroel means to love a Rasha Gamur just the same as a Tzadik Gamur”
    ראה ספר “מעלתן של ישראל” מכון מלכות שבתפארת עמוד קכג

    מי להוי׳ אלי

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