I am saddened to hear of the death of one of the most brilliant rabbinic leaders of our time, HaGaon HaRav (Chacham) Ovadia Yosef. He was the undisputed leader of the Sephardi world. And he was a living encyclopedia of Torah knowledge that had few if any peers. This is pretty much acknowledged by all who knew him or studied is encyclopedic works. Including those of us in the Ashkenazi world. Educated in the Charedi Yeshiva system he rose to greatness in Torah quickly. He is among the last of that great generation of Gedolim who are slowly leaving us. . Niskatenu HaDoros – we are increasingly becoming bereft of true Torah giants such as these.
He was a giant not only to his own Sephardi community, but to the entire Torah world. His achievements include publications of encyclopedic works of Halacha. He is also perhaps the most famous and influential Chief Rabbi of Israel since Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Kook. He also united the Sephardi community politically and created the Shas Party… which has become one of the largest political parties in Israel. Sephardim, no matter how much or how little their level of observance saw Rav Yosef as their Gadol. And that’s why Shas became so large and influential.
Although I disagreed with some of his positions on various issues which differed from the positions of my own Rebbeim, it never lessened my profound respect for this great man. He was indeed a Gadol. I do not use that word lightly. But in his case, it applies in spades. He was from a previous generation of Gedolim the likes of which are not to be found in our day.
He will be sorely missed.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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