Four years after the demise of Shas’ spiritual leader, Rav Ovadia Yosef, his chair is up for auction to the highest bidder, Walla reported. It’s the same chair on which the great scholar and political innovator sat for many years while delivering his weekly class at the Yazdi synagogue in Jerusalem. The opening price is 200,000 shekel, a little under $57,000.
The chair belongs to two Haredi businessmen, who purchased it from the synagogue following Rav Ovadia’s passing. Since then the chair has traveled around the country, and, as one of the owners, Itzik Siton said, “Thousands of people from all over the country sat on it.”
“It has gone through chuppas, bris millahs, public conferences and various other events, during which people who needed medicine, spouses, blessings and salvation sat on it,” Siton said.
Two years ago, at a giant Shas election rally in a Tel Aviv auditorium, the chair, together with Rav Ovadia’s golden cape and hat, was positioned at center stage – in a gesture that emphasized the spiritual and political vacancy he had left behind.
Siton has also used the chair as a fund-raising device for the needy, charging people looking for redemption and donating the residuals to poor families.
Five years ago, the chair disappeared from the Yazdi synagogue and many suspected it had been stolen – until it turned out that a member family had borrowed the chair and returned it whole. Nevertheless, after that scare the synagogue took out an insurance policy on the great man’s chair.