web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Ovadia Yosef Z”L

The Sephardi world had no Reform movement. In Ashkenaz the rabbis were constantly fighting an internal schism.
Rav Ovadia jovially slapping Israel's current president, Shimon Peres, June, 2007

Rav Ovadia jovially slapping Israel's current president, Shimon Peres, June, 2007
Photo Credit: Orel Cohen /Flash90

There was another aspect to this. Politics requires the sound-bite, the crowd-pleasing demagoguery, and Rav Yosef allowed himself, as he grew older and feebler, to be used. As indeed have too many venerable religious leaders. He came out with insulting, banal generalizations about non-Jews and about Jews he disagreed with, comments he would never have made in his early days. It is a feature, again, of Israeli life to argue via humiliation and disrespect instead of ideas. Was it senility, or being surrounded by fixers and middlemen in his old age? Whatever, it remains a shadow on his legacy.

He strongly believed in the ideal of Jewish-Arab coexistence and argued halachically in favor of “Land of Peace”. Being a child of the Muslim world he, more than any other contemporary Israeli rabbi, met and got on with Arab clerics and politicians. He also understood the Arab mentality and antagonisms of the Arab Street and was skeptical about the Arab will to come to terms.

What is his legacy? There are those who say he capitulated to Charedi Ashkenazi orthodoxy in the end. It is true his sons and the Shas leadership now ape the Ashkenazi rabbis. Still he was a polymath like no other in the field of Jewish jurisprudence, an absolute giant. There is no one now in the field to compare with him. As far as his impact on the Jewish State is concerned, he helped raise Sephardi pride. But the struggle goes on. To this day, unbelievably, there is discrimination in Charedi Israel against Sephardim. There is still an excessive preoccupation with minute strictness in Jewish law and sadly political life in Israel is as disappointing today as when he entered the field hoping to change it.

There is no one who comes near to wearing his mantle. No Elisha to his Elijah. The Chariot of Israel has departed.


jeremy rosen new bookRIGHT OR RIGHT by Jeremy Rosen

I have written a short book setting out my attitude to religion in general and Judaism in particular. It is an argument for a thinking, analytical religion as opposed to fundamentalism and for the combination of rationalism with a spiritual existential approach to Judaism. It is called Right or Right: How to reconcile rationality with religion and you can find it on Amazon and Kindle.

About the Author: Jeremy Rosen is an Orthodox rabbi, author, and lecturer, and the congregational rabbi of the Persian Jewish Center of New York. He is best known for advocating an approach to Jewish life that is open to the benefits of modernity and tolerant of individual variations while remaining committed to halacha (Jewish law). His articles and weekly column appear in publications in several countries, including the Jewish Telegraph and the London Jewish News, and he often comments on religious issues on the BBC.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Ovadia Yosef Z”L”

  1. Menachem Rephun says:

    Judaism always has been a thinking, analytical religion

  2. CpaHoffman says:

    using religion as an element of class warfare was his claim to fame
    he may have mobilized his constituency, but he also destroyed any belief in democracy

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini of Italy.
Media Spins Netanyahu’s Renewal of Peace Process
Latest Indepth Stories
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Pope Francis at the Western. Is he praying there should not be too many Catholics in the world?

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

Former US Senator, Joe Lieberman

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

israeli-american flags

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

More Articles from Jeremy Rosen
putin napoleon

Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening

Rashid Khalidi

The Ramaz School was wrong to refuse to allow Rashid Khalidi, the Palestinian apologist, to speak to its senior students.

Imagine you take your family somewhere where there is no such thing as a day off.

Pascal’s famous wager was that it makes sense to bet on God.

The Talmud (Eiruvin 96a) mentions that Michal, the daughter of King Saul, wore Tefilin and no one objected.

We’ve known that you can define neither Jews nor Judaism in a way that will satisfy all its various elements.

The religious world needs to fight back constructively.

There is a dichotomy between personal, private prayer and public communal prayer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/ovadia-yosef-zl/2013/10/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: