Hacham Nissim Trabelsi

A Short Tribute

Hacham Nissim Trabelsi was born to Camashna and Hacham Yitzhak in 1910, in Djerba, Tunisia. He was studious even as a child, and would go from synagogue to synagogue to learn Torah. As an adult, he studied with Hacham Makhluf Idan and Hacham Joseph Buchris.  In 1929, Hacham Nissim Trabelsi married Atirssa, daughter of Pinchas Trabelsi, and the couple had eight children. That year, his mother-in-law died and they followed Hacham Joseph Buchris' advice and moved to live with his family in the city of Zarzis, Tunisia, where Hacham Nissim Trabelsi served as a children's teacher, shochet, cantor and halakhic adjudicator.

In 1949 Hacham Nissim Trabelsi immigrated to Israel, where he first lived in Ashkelon. After a short while, he settled in Moshav Tlamim. He worked as a farmer during his first years there, and then took on the position Rabbi of Moshav Tlamim.

Hacham Nissim Trabelsi led the Tlamim community for 50 years. He founded the Ateret Hen synagogue in his home, where he gave Torah classes. Every Thursday, he would travel to Hacham Raphael Kadir Tzabban's home to study Torah with a group of sages from the region that included Hacham Almoslino, Hacham Peretz Maimon, Hacham Shlomo Mazouz and others.

Hacham Nissim Trabelsi was known for his great devotion and love for the community, in particular for its children. He held an afternoon of intensive study for the moshav's children on a regular basis, during which he taught reading and Chumash.

In 1983, after his wife's decease, Hacham Nissim Trabelsi collected his original commentary in a book he entitled Em HaBanim Semeha.

Hacham Nissim Trabelsi passed away on 15 Sivan, 5757 (1997). The Pe'er Nissim non-profit organization, which operates a kollel and charity fund, was founded in his commemoration.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing' in which he teaches that it is preferable to give foodstuffs rather than money to the needy

In a tale concerning Abba Hilkiah the Talmud says that the value of charity given by women surpasses that of charity given by men, for a man gives only money, and the needy do not immediately benefit from the charity they receive, having first to make a purchase and then cook. Women, however, who give prepared food to the needy, immediately meet their needs. This helps explain the text: "The generous man is blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor." "The generous" – the one giving charity; "is blessed" – whose reward is greater than another giving charity, in the case that "he gives of his bread to the poor". Actual bread, ready for "the poor" to eat, for he brings benefit closer to the poor. This is also indicated by the text, "My fruit is better than gold, fine gold, And my produce better than choice silver". It means "My fruit is better" – when I give charity, it is better if I give a fruit that is ready for eating; it is better than "gold, fine gold" – than giving the needy silver or gold. "And my produce" also, things that are eaten as they are, are "better than choice silver".

Em HaBanim Semeha, p. 212, Orly Press, Tel Aviv, 1985