||The gittin (bills of divorce) arranged by R. Hayyim ben Elijah Modai between 1737 and 1775 with the glosses of R. Yom Tov Israel. The latter writes that he brought it to the altar of the press with “two or three berries” (Isaiah 17:6) that I learned from the words of the Rav. This refers to customs of the Jews of Egypt concerning Gittin,, as noted in the introduction. The first brief introductionis from R. Modai, on the verso of the title page, followed by the introduction of R. Yom Tov Israel. The text, comprised of fifty six entries is in a single column in rabbinic type. The volume concludes with an alphabetical register of the names of the men and women in Tiv Gittin.
R. Hayyim ben Elijah Modai (d. 1794) was a Safed scholar. In 1749 R. Modai journeyed to Europe as an emissary of the Safed community. Passing through Egypt he came across a manuscript of geonic responsa which he published 43 years later under the title Sha'arei Zedek (Salonika, 1792). In 1755 he was appointed a member of the bet din in Constantinople as well as one of the pekidim ("commissioners") of Safed in the town. Following the earthquake in Safed in 1760, he was again sent to Europe in 1762 as an emissary for the town by the Constantinople commissioners, who published four letters on the subject of his mission in order to give it full publicity. After visiting various Italian towns (Mantua, Turin, and Venice in 1763) he went to Holland and England (Amsterdam and London in 1765), and Germany. In 1766 he was in Prague where he had halakhic discussions with Ezekiel Landau, who refers to him in respectful terms (responsa Hayyim le-Olam, YD no. 2; Noda bi-Yhudah, Mahadura Kamma, YD no. 87–88). Four years later he returned to Constantinople where he stayed until the death of R. Hayyim b. David Abulafia, when he was invited to succeed him as the rabbi of Smyrna. There he remained until 1793. At the end of his commendation to Sha'arei Zedek, R. Modai expresses his longing to return to Safed. His wish was fulfilled and he returned to Safed in 1793. His works in addition to Tiv Gittin (1875), are Hayyim le-Olam (1878–79), responsa in two parts, including many written while on his travels; it also contains the responsa of his grandson, Nissim Hayyim Modal, entitled Meimar Hayyim. His glosses on the Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim and Yoreh De'ah, and the Peri Hadash appear in the Berakh Moshe (Leghorn, 1809) of Moses b. Mordecai Galante (pp. 151–69); a responsum by him in the Ma'amar ha-Melekh (Salonika, 1806), of Raphael Abraham Mazli'ah; and an alphabetical poem on the smoking of tobacco (toton) at the beginning of the Avodah Tammah (1903) of Joshua Raphael Benveniste. From 1767 R. Modai was on friendly terms with R. H.J.D. Azulai; on one ruling, in connection with reading from an invalid Sefer Torah, they expressed opposing views; the correspondence between them continued until 1787.
||... מהגיטין אשר נסדרו על ידי... ר' חיים מודעי זצוק"ל (צפת, קושטנדינה, אזמיר)... והבאתים אל מזבח הדפוס עם שנים שלשה גרגרים אשר נתלמדתי מתוך דברי הרב (ואלקטה... רוב מנהגי מצרים) ... ר' מרדכי בכר יצחק הי"ו ממשפחתי... עמד על
הדפוס ... להגיה... הצעיר יום טוב ישראל...
גיטי אזמיר לא נדפסו, שרובם הובאו בס' פאת הים, מאת ר' רפאל יצחק מאייו, שאלוניקי תקצ"ב, וגם ר' חיים נסים משה מודעי הבטיח להדפיסם. עי' דף כו, ב.