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Famous Talmudic scholar and author of the Shulhan Arukh, the core of Jewish law. Orthodox Jewish life for the last 400 years has been regulated by the Shulhan Arukh. Born in Toledo, Spain, Karo was forced to go into exile with his parents when only four years old. After much wandering, the family finally settled in Turkey where he received his education. Karo acquired his greatest fame in Safed, Palestine, at that time a center for the study of the Talmud and of Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah. In this city, high on the mountains of upper Galilee, Karo founded a yeshivah and wrote most of his books. Before compiling the Shulhan Arukh, he spent many years in the writing of Bet Joseph, a commentary on the Arbaah Turim, an earlier code of Jewish law composed by Jacob Ben Asher. Other works by Karo are Kesef Mishneh, a commentary on the famed Maimonides Code. Joseph Karo, himself steeped in the Kabbalah, greatly influenced his students, many of whom were famous Kabbalists.

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