Caro, Joseph ben Ephraim

Caro or Karo, Joseph ben Ephraim käˈrō [key], 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. His literary works rank among the masterpieces of rabbinical literature. Chief among them are the Bet Yosef [house of Joseph] and Shulhan Aruk [the table set], parts of which are still used as the authoritative code for Orthodox religious and legal disputes. This code owes its fame and popularity as much to the opposition it aroused and the many commentaries it inspired as it does to its merits. Caro was also a noted kabbalist (see kabbalah) who claimed to have had heavenly visitations. He recorded much of this in a diary later edited to appear as a commentary on the Pentateuch (Maggid Mesharim, 1646).

See study by R. J. Werblowsky (1962).

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