Shulchan Arukh

(ca. 1570)

Please purchase for access to the document text and analysis


The original audience for the Shulchan Arukh was learned Jews. In the age when it was written, literacy rates were low—perhaps between 20 and 30 percent among Jews in their own dialects, while the Hebrew literacy rate was perhaps between 5 and 10 percent. Thus, few other than rabbis and Jewish scholars, who would have also been experts in Jewish law, and who were responsible for disseminating and interpreting information for fellow Jews in their area, would have been able to read...