World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Yaakov Chaim Sofer

Not to be confused with Chaim Sofer, the Hungarian rabbi and author of Machne Chaim

Yaakov Chaim Sofer (1870–1939) (Hebrew: יעקב חיים סופר) was an Orthodox rabbi, Kabbalist, Talmudist and posek (decider of halakha). Sofer is the author of Kaf Hachaim, 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 Chaim (the Ben Ish Chai) and Abdallah Somech. In 1904, he journeyed to Ottoman 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 Chaim 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 Hachaim and Torat Yaakov.


Kaf Hachaim (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 Hachaim, usually published in ten volumes, covers Orach Chayim (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 Hachaim.

In addition to the Kaf Hachaim, Rabbi Chayim authored:

  • Kol Yaakov: on the laws of writing torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzot, as well as on the tefillin in general
  • Yagel Yaakov: a compendium of Shabbat drashot (sermons) delivered while in mourning for his father
  • Yismach Yisrael: novellae on the parsha, the weekly [[Torah
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.