Acharonim (Hebrew: אחרונים Aḥaronim; sing. אחרון, Aḥaron; lit. "last ones") is a term used in Jewish law and history, to signify the leading rabbis and poskim (Jewish legal decisors) living from roughly the 16th century to the present, and more specifically since the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, "Set Table", a code of Jewish law) in 1563 CE.
The Acharonim follow the Rishonim, the "first ones" - the rabbinic scholars between the 11th and the 16th century following the Geonim and preceding the Shulkhan Arukh. The publication of the Shulkhan Arukh thus marks the transition from the era of Rishonim to that of Acharonim. However, in the highly regarded CODEX JUDAICA (Chronological Index of Jewish History) the author has presented a paper (Appendix D to the volume) that argues (quite convincingly) that there was a distinct major trend of scholars between the Rishonim and the Acharonim. He presents a clearly delineated period between 1492 and 1648, that shows distinctive elements of scholarship (which he provides), and calls it (them, the scholars) Kov'im (Hebrew: קובעים) "the consolidators".
Consequences for Halakhic change 
According to Orthodox Jewish tradition, scholars in one era within the history of halachic development do not challenge the rulings of previous-era scholars, and hence Acharonim cannot dispute the rulings of rabbis of previous eras unless they find support from other rabbis of previous eras.
The question of which prior rulings can and cannot be disputed has led to efforts to define which rulings are within the Acharonim era with precision. According to many rabbis the Shulkhan Arukh is from an Acharon. Some hold that Rabbi Yosef Karo's Beit Yosef has the halakhic status of a work of a Rishon, while his later Shulkhan Arukh has the status of a work of an Acharon. This type of compromise is eliminated by the inclusion of the separate era of scholars, the Kov'im (Hebrew: קובעים) "the consolidators", as mentioned above.
- ^ CODEX JUDAICA - A Chronological Index of JEWISH HISTORY, NY, 2005 [ISBN 978-0--9670378-3-7].
- ^ See Kesef Mishna (Maamrim 2:2), Kovetz Igros Chazon Ish (2:26)
Some Acharonim 
- Isaac Abendana, 17th century Sephardic scholar in England
- Jacob Abendana, 17th century Sephardic rabbi in England
- Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, 17th century Dutch scholar and Kabbalist, first Rabbi in the Americas
- Yehudah Leib Alter (Sfas Emes), Gerrer rebbe.
- Bezalel Ashkenazi (Shitah Mekubetzet), 16th century Talmudist
- Chaim Joseph David Azulai (Chida), 18th century scholar and traveler, pioneered history of rabbinic writings
- Yair Bacharach (Havvot Yair), 17th century German Talmudist
- Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (Netziv, HaEmek Davar), 19th century head of Volozhin Yeshiva in Lithuania
- Josef Chaim of Baghdad (Ben Ish Chai), 19th century Iraqi Halakhist, Posek, Kabbalist and communal leader
- Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (Ramak), 16th century Holy Land Kabbalistic scholar
- Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (Michtav Me'Eliyahu), 20th century religious philosopher and ethicist
- Dovber of Mezeritch (Maggid), 18th century Eastern European mystic, primary disciple of the Baal Shem Tov
- Samuel Eidels (Maharsha), 16th century Talmudist famous for his commentary on the Talmud
- Elijah ben Solomon (Gra, Vilna Gaon), 18th century Lithuanian Talmudist and Kabbalist, leader of the Mitnagdim (opponents of Hasidic Judaism) - Note: The Chazon Ish held him to be a Rishon.
- Mordechai Eliyahu, Halakhist, Posek, and former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel
- Jacob Emden, 18th century Danish/German scholar
- Baruch Epstein (Torah Temimah), 20th century Lithuanian Torah commentator
- Moshe Mordechai Epstein (Levush Mordechai), 20th century Talmudist and co-head of Slabodka Yeshiva
- Yechiel Michel Epstein (Aruch ha-Shulchan), 19th/20th century Halakhist and Posek
- Jonathan Eybeschutz, 18th century scholar, Dayan of Prague, accused of heresy
- Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe), 20th century Russian-American Halakhist, Posek, and Talmudist
- Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Alter/Sabba of Slabodka), early 20th century founder of Slabodka Yeshiva, Lithuania. Disciples opened major yeshivas in US and Israel
- Kalonymus Haberkasten, 16th century Polish rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva of many early Acharonim
- Hillel ben Naphtali Zevi (Bet Hillel), 17th century Lithuanian scholar
- Samson Raphael Hirsch, 19th century German rabbi, founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz movement
- Yitzchok Hutner (Pachad Yitzchok), 20th century European-born, American and Israeli Rosh Yeshiva
- Moshe Isserles (Rema), 16th century Polish halakhic authority and Posek, author of HaMapah component of the Shulkhan Arukh.
- Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz (Chazon Ish), 20th century Belarussian-born, leading halakhic authority and leader of Haredi Judaism in Israel.
- Yisrael Meir Kagan (Chofetz Chaim), 20th century Polish Halakhist, Posek, and moralist
- Yosef Karo (the Mechaber), 16th century Spanish and Land of Israel legal codifier of the Shulkhan Arukh code of Torah Law
- Abraham Isaac Kook, 20th century philosopher and mystic, first chief rabbi of Palestine
- Judah Loew ben Bezalel (Maharal), 16th century Prague mystic and Talmudist
- Isaac Luria (Ari), 16th century Cairo and Holy Land mystic, founder of Lurianic Kabbalah
- Solomon Luria (Maharshal), 16th century Posek and Talmudist
- Avigdor Nebenzahl, former chief Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem, and teacher at Yeshivat Hakotel.
- Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal), 18th century Italian philosopher, mystic, and moralist
- Meir Leib ben Yechiel Michel (Malbim), 19th century Russian preacher and scholar
- Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (Ohr Sameiach, Meshech Chochmah), Lithuanian-Latvian Talmudist and communal leader
- Menasseh Ben Israel, 17th century Portuguese/Dutch Kabbalist, diplomat and publisher
- Obadiah ben Abraham of Bertinoro, (Bartenura), 15th century commentator on the Mishnah
- Avraham Aharon Price of Toronto, Canada, 20th century scholar, writer, educator, and community leader.
- Chaim Rabinowitz, Rosh Yeshivah in Telz, Lithuania
- Yisrael Lipkin Salanter, 19th century Lithuanian ethicist and moralist
- David HaLevi Segal (Taz), 16th century Halakhist, major commentator on the Shulkhan Aruch
- Sforno, 15th, 16th, and 17th-century family of Italian Torah scholars and philosophers
- Shalom Sharabi, 18th/19th-century Yemenite Sage, Kabbalist and founder of the Beit El Yeshiva, Jerusalem
- Menachem Mendel Schneerson, seventh Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch.
- Moses Sofer (Chatam Sofer), 19th century Hungarian rabbi
- Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik ("Reb Chaim Brisker"), 19th century Rosh Yeshivah in Volozhyn
- Chaim Vital, 16th century Kabbalist and primary disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria
- Ovadia Yosef, Iraqi-born Halakhist, Posek and Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel
- Yisroel ben Eliezer (Baal Shem Tov) considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism
- David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (Radbaz), 15th/16th century Halakhist, Posek and Chief Rabbi of Egypt
- Moses S. Margolies (Ramaz)
See also 
External links and references