Yaakov Chaim Sofer
- Not to be confused with Chaim Sofer, the Hungarian rabbi and author of Machne Chaim
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
Yaakov Hayyim Sofer (1870–1939) (Hebrew: יעקב חיים סופר) was an Orthodox rabbi, Kabbalist, Talmudist and posek (decider of halakha). Sofer is the author of Kaf HaHayyim, a work of halakha (Jewish law), by which title he is also known.
Sofer was born in Baghdad, where he studied under Sephardi sages such as Yosef Hayyim and Abdallah Somekh. In 1904, he journeyed to Palestine in order to pray at the graves of tzadikim ("the righteous"). After visiting Jerusalem, he decided to settle there permanently. He studied in the Bet El yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, well known for the study of kabbalah. In 1909 he moved to the newly founded Shoshanim leDavid yeshiva. It was here that he composed his works.
Rabbi Sofer authored several works of halakha and aggadah. His books are known for discussing the original traditions of Iraqi Jews and are studied to this day. Rabbi Hayyim was well known for his role in working on behalf of Torah education in Jerusalem. His great grandson founded two yeshivot in his memory, Kaf HaHayyim and Torat Ya'akov.
Kaf HaHayyim (כף החיים) is a monumental work, considered a classic by both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities. In this work, Sofer discusses the halakha in light of the Rishonim and Acharonim. Kaf HaHayyim, usually published in ten volumes, covers Orah Hayyim (8 vol.) and parts of Yoreh De'ah (2 vol.). It is often compared to the Mishna Berura in terms of scope and approach, but differs in its more extensive reliance upon quotations. This work also surveys the views of many kabbalistic sages (particularly Isaac Luria), when these impact the Halakha. Shinun Halacha is a work summarising the Halakhic conclusions presented in Kaf HaHayyim.
In addition to the Kaf Hachaim, Rabbi Chayim authored:
- Kol Ya'akov: on the laws of writing torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzot, as well as on the tefillin in general
- Yagel Ya'akov: a compendium of Shabbat drashot (sermons) delivered while in mourning for his father
- Yismah Yisrael: novellae on the parsha, the weekly Torah reading.
- Hayyim Ad Ha'Olam on the agadah of the Talmud.
- Ben Ish Hai, by Rabbi Yosef Hayyim, a contemporaneous Sephardi work of Halakha incorporating Kabbalistic teachings.
- Yalkut Yosef, a contemporary Sephardi work of Halakha, based on the rulings of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
|This biographical article about a rabbi from the Middle East is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|
|This Iraqi biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|