Contact Us

Mahadura Basra — The Later Edition

Mahadura Basra — The Later Edition

Show content in:

This1 [manuscript] was found among the sacred writings of our late revered master, the Rebbe. When, with the Divine inspiration that rested upon him, he began to compose a second edition of the Shulchan Aruch, he added many new laws. Though many matters had already been stated we felt that they should not be passed over, so that nothing would be lacking, and the [original] teaching would not be laid aside.2

זֹאת 1 מָצָאנוּ בְּכִתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ שֶׁל אֲדוֹנֵנוּ מוֹרֵנוּ וְרַבֵּנוּ זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה נִשְׁמָתוֹ עֵדֶן שֶׁהִתְחִיל לְחַבֵּר הַשֻּׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ מַהֲדוּרָא תִּנְיָנָא כְּיַד ה' הַטּוֹבָה עָלָיו הִשְׂכִּיל וְהוֹסִיף הַרְבֵּה חִדּוּשֵׁי דִּינִים וְאַף שֶׁיֵּשׁ הַרְבֵּה דְּבָרִים מַה שֶּׁכְּבָר נֶאֶמְרוּ אָמַרְנוּ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַלֵּג לְמַעַן לֹא יֶחְסַר כָּל בּוֹ וּמִשְׁנָה לֹא זָזָה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ. 2

This passage, introducing the four surviving chapters of Mahadura Basra (“The Later Edition”) of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, was added when the entire work was published. As to why the Alter Rebbe sought to revise his original text — Mahadura Kama (“The First Edition”) — see the above Overview and the Prefaces written by his sons.
The closing phrase borrows a Talmudic expression, which Rashi (Shevuos 4a) interprets as follows: Once the text of a mishnah had been disseminated among scholars, then even when its author, R. Yehudah HaNasi, had since revised its content, the original version was not discarded. Nevertheless, while both versions were thus preserved for posterity, discerning students knew that the later teaching was the one accepted as law. The same principle applies with regard to these four revised chapters of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch.
Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Uri Kaploun.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining