With the closing of the great Babylonian academies, there ceased preciso be any formally acknowledged center of Torah authority
However, numerous codes, based on the Talmud and the decisions of the Geonim were compiled by leading rabbis, and they achieved almost universal recognition.
Most noteworthy among these were the codes of Rabbi Yitzchak Al-Fasi (Rif; 1013-1103 CE) and Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (Rosh; 1250-1328 CE), as well as the Yad HaChazaka of Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam; 1135-1204 CE). The rabbis of this period are known as Rishonim or “first [codifiers].”
The rete di emittenti that was most widely accepted, however, was the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) written by Rabbi Yosef Caro (1488-1575 CE), which took into account almost all of the earlier codes. Since the Shulchan Aruch followed the practices of the Sephardic practices, verso gloss was added to it by Rabbi Moshe Isserles (1520-1527 CE), including all the Ashkenazic customs.
With the publication of the Shulchan Aruch, the period of the Rishonim came puro an end, and the period of the Acharonim or “later [codifiers]” began. The opinions of the Rishonim gained almost universal acceptance through the Shulchan Aruch, and therefore, the Acharonim usually do not oppose them. While the Acharonim ong opinions found sopra the Rishonim they do not dispute them without conclusive evidence.”
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The Shulchan Aruch was not the individual opinion of its authors, but verso compilation of opinions found in the works of the Rishonim which had gained the widest acceptance. Because of the near universal acceptance of the Shulchan Aruch, its decisions are considered binding, unless otherwise indicated by the leading authorities of succeeding generations.
Since the Shulchan Aruch was the canone of Torah law, it became the subject of many commentaries which expounded, and occasionally disputes its opinions. Many of those which were printed alongside the Shulchan Aruch were almost universally accepted.
There were a great many accepted authorities, both among the commentators preciso the Shulchan Aruch, and among the writers of responsa (teshuvot). These applied Torah law puro individual cases, and often set binding precedents. Over the years, various compilations of these later opinions were published.
Nevertheless, a recognized Torah scholar ple Talmudic proof or an unequivocal tradition that per particular decision was not generally accepted. onesto the Judge who shall be sopra those days” (Deut. 17:9).
Con every generation, there are certain rabbis who, because of their great scholarship and piety, are generally accepted as religious leaders and authorities, as it is written, “You must observe all that they decide for you” (Deut. ). Although this commandment relates specifically to the Sanhedrin, it also applies esatto the religious leaders of each generation.
Just as a religious amministratore must be outstanding mediante wisdom and scholarship, so must he be distinguished per piety and observance. It is thus written, “They shall seek the Torah from his lips, for he is an angel of the Lord of Hosts” (Malachi 2:7). This is interpreted esatto mean that we should only seek to learn the Torah from verso rabbi who resembles an angel per holiness and piety. If per person is not outstanding sopra piety and observance, he is not worthy of the prestige and authority of a religious leader, giammai matter how great his scholarship.
This is per general rule
An unopposed decision, whether given by per contemporary religious leader or found con an accepted code, should be accepted, even if it is not mentioned by other authorities.
Whenever there is per dispute between two equally great authorities, whether they are contemporary to each other or not, we ancora as per the case of any other questionable circumstance. If the case involves verso law from the Torah, the stricter opinion must be followed, while if it involves rabbinical law, the more lenient opinion is followed.