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17****Rabbi Chaim Falagi

Rabbi Chaim Falagi 

Born: Turkey, 1788

Died: Izmir, Turkey, 1858

Rabbi of Izmir, kabbalist, halachist.                                                                    

Rabbi Chaim Palagi was a prolific author. Seventy-two of his works are known, but it also is known that some of his manuscripts were destroyed in the great fire which struck Izmir in 1841. Every time R' Falaji published a new book, he made a festive meal and ate a new fruit, on which he would recite the blessing of "She'he'cheyanu." (There is a dispute amongst poskim/halachic authorities whether one may recite this blessing in honor of printing a sefer.) 

In one of his works, R' Falagi describes his own life as follows: I call heaven and earth to testify that from the age when I could control my faculties until I was 20, I used to devote myself single-mindedly to Torah study, day and night, with no wasted time. I had no involvement with worldly matters. From age 20 to age 40, when my children were dependent on me, I dealt with worldly matters as a broker. Nevertheless, whenever I had no work, I did not turn to frivolity and wasteful things, but rather I returned to my studies. From age 40, when I was appointed to be a rabbinical judge and teacher and to handle matters of concern to the public, until this day, there is not a minute when I am not surrounded by litigants or by public affairs. These matters come both from this city and its environs, and also various decrees of the government keep me busy with matters affecting the public. Therefore my heart worries within me that I do not spend sufficient time studying. I therefore force myself to use the limited time that I have for studying, and may others see me and do the same; may they learn from me that when distractions come along, whether they come from public or private matters -- for one's eyes and heart search for a spare moment -- that spare time, when it comes, should not be wasted. If one lives thus, his Torah studies will be blessed.

 R' Falagi's son wrote of him: His behavior with his family and the excellence of his character traits in dealing with them was unique in the world. He never became upset about any household issue; to the contrary, he always made peace overtures . . . He never became upset at the children's noise. He used to call them to him each morning to recite the morning blessings, and they prayed out loud. Very patiently, every day, he performed the mitzvah of "You shall teach them to your children." He would instruct his children in fearing Hashem . . . and never to make fun of any person. Once, a member of his household offended another person, and he [i.e., R' Falagi] did not rest until that person had been appeased. A number of times, he even gave money to a person who had been offended. 

The most famous book written by Rabbi  Falagi is Kaf HaChaim.  

*** For books available by Rabbi Chaim Falagi click here.

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Chaim Falagi  protect us all, Amen.


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