Hacham Shalom Moshe Chai Gaguine

A Short Tribute

Hacham Shalom Moshe Chai Gaguine was born to Rivka, Hacham Raphael Shar'abi's daughter, and to Hacham Haim Abraham Gaguine during the month of Tevet 5593 (1833) in Jerusalem.

He studied Torah with his father, with Hacham Yedidya Raphael Abulafia and with the kabbalists of the Beth El yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City.

In 1862, Hacham Shalom Moshe Chai Gaguine left Jerusalem as a rabbinic emissary for the Beth El yeshiva and traveled among the Jewish communities of France and North Africa for a period of three years. He left on a mission again in 1871, this time traveling to Italy. Upon his return, he was appointed cantor of the Beth El yeshiva. He composed piyuttim and would give a weekly sermon at the Yochanan Ben Zakai synagogue in the Jewish Quarter.

Hacham Shalom Moshe Chai Gaguine passed away on 12 Elul 5643 (1883) and was buried in Jerusalem. His works include Yismach Lev – Responsa, Same'ach Libi – sermons, and Same'ach Nefesh – rules on Birkot HaNehenin [the blessings on pleasurable experiences]. He also wrote a commentary entitled Seviv LaOhel on his father's commentary on the Ohel Mo'ed book of rulings, written by Rabbi Shmuel Bar Meshulam Yarudeni.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he teaches about of the Jerusalem custom of publicly welcoming the Sabbath at the Western Wall
Concerning the custom in our holy city of Jerusalem, may it be speedily built and established, Amen, whose stones and earth are revered by God's servants who seek always to bare their souls at our Western Wall, which the Shechina has not abandoned… Every holy Sabbath Eve, people go to this holy place in large numbers to welcome the holy Sabbath Queen. The area barely suffices to hold them all. Their custom is to recite the mincha afternoon prayer, Kabbalat Shabbat and the 'Arvit evening prayer. Those who leave are replaced by those arriving to pray; they come and go in large processions, the one arriving when the other leaves, well into the night. No proper individual misses this, and they are such indeed, for the group that has completed the 'Arvit prayer will tarry, to answer the Kaddish and Kedusha being recited by the preceding group that is praying Mincha. And there are even some who tarry after having prayed 'Arvit to study chapters of Mishna, recite Psalms or the like, observing one group after another, answering in each recitation of the Kaddish, Kedusha and repetition of the Eighteen Blessings.
Yismach Libi, Orach Chaim, Section 16, p. 2, Otzrot Ge'onei Sepharad Publishing, Ashdod, 1997