Isserles, Moses ben Israel

Isserles, Moses ben Israel

(ĭs`ərlĕs), c.1525–1572, Polish rabbi, annotator, and philosopher, b. Kraków, known as Remah. He is best known for his glosses on the code of Jewish law of Joseph ben Ephraim CaroCaro or Karo, Joseph ben Ephraim
, 1488–1575, eminent Jewish codifier of law, b. Toledo, Spain. He left Spain as a child when the Jews were expelled (1492) and finally settled in Safed, Palestine.
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. Isserles became chief rabbi in Kraków, where he established a yeshiva. In 1553 he built the Remah Synagogue, which is still in use. Isserles was controversial, but wielded wide influence. He quoted Aristotle, with whom he was familiar through the works of Maimonides and others. In his halakic works (see halakahhalakah
or halacha
[Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.
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) he stressed the importance of local custom. Since Karo, a Palestinian Jew, followed Sephardic traditions, Isserles's comments and additions, which followed Ashkenazic practice, helped Karo's code to become authoritative for Ashkenazic Jews.
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