48 One speculates that the enormity of the event of the Spanish Expulsion in 1492 - which overnight emptied traditional bastions of Jewish learning in Iberia and forced the relocation of masses of Jews and the establishment of new centers of Jewish life and learning - brought about the new synthesis represented by the Shulchan Aruch. The author of this new synthesis, Joseph Karo (1488-1575), born in Spain immediately prior to the Expulsion, was taken by his parents to Turkey and later settled in Safed in the Upper Galilee. At the conclusion of Volume I the colophon reads: “Completed on Monday, 2 Ellul, in the year ‘Elo-him chashavah le-tovah’ [5315 / 1555] in the village of Biriah in the Upper Galilee.” Volume II concludes: “Completed Tuesday night, 2 Tammuz, 5,316 [1556] in Safed.” Volume III concludes: “Completed Tuesday, 19 Shevat, 5317” [1557] in Safed.” Volume IV concludes; “Completed Thursday night, 16 Adar I, in the year “edothecha sichah li” [5318 / 1558]. - Thus, R. Joseph Karo was able to produce this monumental work at the breakneck pace of one volume per year! Very rarely is the editio princeps of the Shulchan Aruch found complete. Parts III and IV (Even Ha’Ezer and Choshen Mishpat) are somewhat less scarce as opposed to the far more elusive first two parts, Orach Chaim and Yoreh De’ah, which, because of their utility to everyday life, were subjected to considerably more use, hence wear and tear. As a result, these two parts in particular are seldom obtainable complete. Kestenbaum & Company has only once had a complete set for sale, see: The Gradenwitz Collection (September, 2006) Lot 87.