||Responsa and novellae from R. Hayyim Abraham ben Moses Gagin. In addition to the importance of the contents of Hukkei Hayyim the author recounts events, some turbulent, in Jerusalem and Safed, and discusses some important contemporary personalities. The title page states that the book is so named because it is the hukim that went out from him , the youth Hayyim. The title page is dated with the verse, “Behold, O G-d our shield, and look upon the face of your anointed” (Psalms 84:10). R. Gagin’s introduction begins on the verso of the title page and is followed by the text of Hukkei Hayyim, which is set in two columns in rabbinic type.
R. Hayyim Abraham ben Moses Gagin, (1787–1848), chief rabbi of Jerusalem. Gagin was born in Constantinople. He became rishon le-Zion (Sephardi chief rabbi) in 1842 and was the first to bear the official title of hakham bashi. Gagin was responsible for the taxes of the Jews to the government, and was granted authority to impose taxation within the community on meat ("gabela"), mazzot, wine, etc. He lived in the Old City of Jerusalem in the courtyard of his grandfather, R. Shalom Sharabi, the kabbalist, and the government placed a guard of ten soldiers near his dwelling to protect the Jewish quarter. In his time a violent dispute broke out among the rabbis of Jerusalem with reference to the Kolelim and the distribution of the funds for them which arrived from abroad. In addition to Hukkei Hayyim the following works by R. Gagin have been published: Minhah Tehorah (Salonika, n. d. c. 1825–36); Hayyim mi-Yerushalayim (1882); and Yeri'ot ha-Ohel (2 pts., 1886–1904). He also edited and wrote the prefaces to Sefer ha-Takkanot (Jerusalem, 1842); the Dibre Shalom of R. A. Mizrahi (ib. 1843); the "Ḳedushat Yom-Ṭob" of Yom-Tov Algazi (ib. 1843); Konṭres Emet me-Erez Tizmah, a defense, by Z. H. Lehren of Amsterdam, of the Amsterdam committee at Jerusalem against charges of mismanagement in the distribution of the "halukkah" (Amsterdam). R. Hayyim Palagi wrote a dirge on Gagin’s death.