Hacham Nissim Yaggen

A Short Tribute

Hacham Nissim Yaggen was born to Rachel and Hacham Yaakov in 1941, in Jerusalem. His family, whose name was previously Gaguine, was originally from Turkey. Hacham Nissim Yaggen was a descendant of Hacham Haim Abraham Gaguine who was appointed Rishon LeZion in 1842. His father, Hacham Yaakov Yaggen was a student of kabbalist Hacham Mordecai Shaarabi.

As a youth Hacham Nissim Yaggen studied in Jerusalem and was associated with the ADMOR of Amshinov. Following the latter's advice, he traveled to the USA and spent five years studying Torah at the Lakewood yeshiva, headed at the time by Rabbi Aharon Kotler. He returned to Israel and married Malka.

Hacham Nissim Yaggen taught at the Or Baruch and Ohel Mo'ed yeshivas in Jerusalem and was a founding member of the Givat Ada yeshiva.

In 1978 he founded the Kehillot Yaakov kollel over which he presided. The kollel placed its emphasis on "Seder Mussar" [daily study of ethics] which was devoted to study and reflection on the repair of human character.


During his entire life, Hacham Nissim Yaggen sought to engage with the Jewish people, traveling all over the country to teach and give lectures, providing people with good counsel and bestowing his benediction on them. He offered his counsel to all who requested it, and was famous in particular for his advice on shlom bayit [domestic harmony]. His fine sensitivity to relations between men and women led him to deal in matchmaking. One of his notebooks, discovered after his decease, contained hundreds of names of marriage candidates.

Later in life he suffered from severe illness. He passed away on Shabbat B'Ha'alotkha, on 14 Sivan 5760 (2000) and was buried in Jerusalem.

A large collection of his lectures were published posthumously in a series of books entitled Netivei Or, most of which deals in ethics associated with festivals, the Sabbath, worship, and human character. Several volumes of the series were translated and published in Spanish, Russian, French and English. Scores of his lectures were recorded and are distributed for public benefit at no cost.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he teaches the reason behind the custom reciting Shalom Aleichem hurriedly before Kiddush
Many people hold on to all types of embellishments of commandments to which charitable acts are preferable tenfold. Some sing Shalom Aleichem in a leisurely way, while their hungry guests' stomachs are rumbling…
We should always try to learn and consider what the Holy One, blessed be He, desires from us. There will be cases when it will become clear that at times when the Almighty's will is that we benefit people – rather that embellish embellishments with embellishments, which may be neither required, appropriate nor timely.
Netivei Or, Counsel and Pearls, p. 256, Nivei HaKetav, Jerusalem, 2008