“Classic Halachah Greats” Ike composed the original series of Halachipedia articles while he learned through Torat Hamoadim and Halachah Berurah, voluminous works by Hacham David Yosef, shelita, which present the halachic rulings of his venerated father, HaGaon Hacham Ovadia Yosef, shelita.“I’m Sephardic… and certainly that’s the reason I originally was learning from those sefarim,” he says. As he studied the material, Ike carefully annotated the sources with the precise volume, chapter, and page number to enable Halachipedia users to research the commentary from its source. His plan was never to solely translate, but to assimilate the material, and select the more practical halachot and write the significant opinions on the topic along with their reasoning. As Ike’s level of scholarship advanced, he began to use a wider array of works. Presently, each halachah presented on the site is derived from what Ike calls the “classic halachah greats” such as the Tur, Bet Yosef, Shulhan Aruch, Mishna Berurah, and the contemporary masterpiece Yalkut Yosef. Each halachah is accompanied by the relevant background information underlying the practical conclusion. And the conclusion, Ike says, is “usually not my own improvisation, but rather it is the halachic writing of the Mishnah Berurah’s ruling for Ashkenazim, Yalkut Yosef’s for Sephardim, and other equivalent sefarim for both groups.” The material is frequently revisited and updated when pertinent sources which may have been initially overlooked are then discovered. Ike proudly reports that he has received submissions from several published authors. “I was surprised at the overwhelming amount of positive responses, and many offered to email me published articles to be posted on Halachipedia,” he says.
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A Glorious Future Halachipedia is still growing, and plans are underway to gradually develop the site on a much grander scale. Ike hopes to include “everything raised in the Shulhan Aruch - halachic opinions on absolutely any topic, a tremendous amount of content organized in a very user-friendly way.” To that end, he hopes to peruse libraries, online databases, and the internet to cull additional contemporary sources so the material will be more comprehensive. “There’s an advantage to having everything in one place,” he explains. “Many contemporary books of halacha only deal with the Ashkenazic halacha or the general halacha for Sephardim, but our site is open to expressing the minhag for each and every community. Additionally, since we’re not limited in space, if I had the time I would write out the entire development of halacha - from
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the Gemara, through the Rishonim (leading Rabbis during the 11th to 15th centuries) to the Achronim (leading Rabbis from the 15th century onwards).” “I like the responsibility and I also like the fact that it’s learning and contributing to the learning of others,” he professes. It is not my job to finish rather I’m here to make an effort, which, Gd-willing will make a positive impact on the future of the Jewish community.” A word of caution taken from Halachapedia.com: Although Halachipedia makes a great effort to ensure that the halachic information presented is authentic and valid, due to the nature of the wiki interface when using this information for practical purposes please ensure to consult a reliable halachic work or competent Orthodox Rabbi. Mrs. A.D. Cohen is a freelance writer with weekly columns in national publications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org HESVAN 5774 OCTOBER 2013