Appel, Gersion Rabbi. “The Concise Code of Jewish Law: A Guide to the Observance of Shabbat”, edited by Rabbi Daniel Goldstein, OU Press, YU Press, Maggid, May, 2016.
Modern, Up-to-Date and User Friendly
“The Concise Code of Jewish Law” was originally conceived and writer by Rabbi Gersion Appel as a four volume comprehensive work but he was only able to successfully complete the first two volumes which were published in 1997 and 1989. His family took it upon itself to update those volumes as well as finish the set by writing the two missing volumes. The concise code was written as a need for the times. The main text comes from halachah and its classic sources and it follows loosely the pattern of the shortened Shulchan Aruch, supplemented by notes that explore issues in greater depth and address a wide variety of contemporary applications.
This is the updated edition by Rabbi Daniel Goldstein, in style as well as in substance and it addresses new technological developments. It includes the halachic decisions of classic works in addition to the rulings of the greatest leading Jewish scholars of the recent past as well as leading scholars today.
“Concise Code is a perfect text for students, as well as all those interested in enhancing their observance of halachah and acquiring greater knowledge about the intricacies of practical halachah in our time”.
Rabbi Appel translated the text loosely from the shortened Shulchan Aruch and emphasized certain laws and added others. Some of the newer laws have taken on more importance than the older ones. Appel also eliminated those that were no longer relevant to modern life and added two elements that he felt were missing— philosophy and the meaning of mitzvoth. He updated he text and made the decision to relegate the Hebrew references to endnotes thus allowing the text to flow.
In this updated edition the writing has been changed from the more formal and many practical applications have been updated and some new ones have been added. We begin with a general introduction to Shabbat with various definitions of the word and move onto the welcoming of Shabbat, prayer and the reading of Torah. We are presented with a long list of the classes of labor that are forbidden, discussions of carrying on Shabbat and additional laws including those for concluding it. (These include laws for illness and treatment, women and childbirth, weekday activities that are forbidden on Shabbat and a section on non-Jews). Finally there are notes on sources and references, codes, responsa and other works, a glossary, a list of annotations from Halacha, an index of subjects and notes on the author.