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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works


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Yechiel Michel ben Aharon ha-Levi Epstein
Hebrew Name(s): יחיאל מיכל בן אהרן הלןי עפשטיין; ערוך השלחן
Other Names: The Aruch ha-Shulchan, Yechiel Michel Epstein
Period: Acharonim — 19th Century
Location: Lithuania
Dates: 1829–1908

Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein is often called "The Arukh ha-Shulchan" after his main work (Arukh HaShulchan). He was a rabbi and posek (teacher of Jewish law) in Lithuania. His surname is often preceded by ha-Levi as he descended from a family of Levites.  
Yechiel Michel Epstein spent his first years as a rabbi in Novozypkov (Russia) before accepting a position in Navahrudak where he became a respected decisor of Jewish law. He remained in Navahrudak until dis death in 1908.
Yechiel married the sister of the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin) and later, after the death of his wife, he married  Rabbi Berlin's daughter.  Yechiel Michel Epstein was the father of Rabbi Baruch ha-Levi Epstein.

Aruch HaShulchan (Laying the Table); Aruch HaShulchan he'Atid (Laying the Table of the Future); Or li-Yesharim; Mical ha-Mayim; Liel Shimurim

The Aruch HaShulchan is a halakhic work. It traces the origins of each law and custom to its origins, provides the views of the Rishonim (12th-15th Century) and arrives at a decision (psak), often, though not always, supported by the Acharonim.
Aruch HaShulchan he'Atid is a work similar to Epstein’s Aruch HaShulchan which deals with laws that will apply in messianic times. This work became relevant when Jews settled in Israel and began farming since many of the agricultural laws defined in Aruch HaShulchan he'Atid apply only in the Land of Israel.
Or li-Yesharim is a commentary on Sefer ha-Yashar.
Mical ha-Mayim is a commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud.
Liel Shimurim is a commentary on the Haggadah.


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