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Isserles, Moses ben Israel

Moses ben Israel Isserles (Ĭs´ərlĕs), c.1525–1572, Polish rabbi, annotator, and philosopher, b. Kraków, known as Remah. He is best known for his glosses on the code of Jewish law of Joseph ben Ephraim Caro. Isserles became chief rabbi in Kraków, where he established a yeshiva. In 1553 he built the Remah Synagogue, which is still in use. Isserles was controversial, but wielded wide influence. He quoted Aristotle, with whom he was familiar through the works of Maimonides and others. In his halakic works (see halakah) he stressed the importance of local custom. Since Karo, a Palestinian Jew, followed Sephardic traditions, Isserles's comments and additions, which followed Ashkenazic practice, helped Karo's code to become authoritative for Ashkenazic Jews.

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Isserles, Moses ben Israel

Isserles, Moses ben Israel or Rema (c.1530–72). Jewish legal authority. Isserles was one of the great halakhic authorities of the time. He founded a yeshivah and gained a worldwide reputation for his responsa, being known as ‘the Maimonides of Polish Jewry’. Although he aroused opposition for his emphasis on custom (minhag) and his leniency (particularly when financial loss was involved), his rulings have become accepted as binding on Ashkenazi Jews.

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