web analytics
September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, One of Today’s Giant Torah Sages, Dies at 93

World Jewry lost one its greatest Torah sages and political leaders Tuesday. Rabi Ovadia Yosef, known affectionately as Rav Ovadia, has passed away at the age of 93, but his memory will be a blessed memory for millions.
Rav Ovadia Yosef speaking out against Jewish Home.

Rav Ovadia Yosef passed away at the age of 93 early Monday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Rabbi Chain  Ovadia Yosef, unarguably the greatest Sephardi Torah sage and one of the most influential political leaders of the past 40 years, died in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital Monday after several months of deteriorating health.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected at his funeral, which will begin at 6  p.m. (11 a.m. EDT) at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva and he will be buried in the cemetery at Sanhedria  in Jerusalem. Several main streets will be closed.

Political and religious leaders from the entire spectrum in Israel immediately offered condolences and expressions of sorrow. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, who was in the rabbi’s room shortly before he died, tore one of his clothes, the custom among Jews after a close relative dies. Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, who was Rav Ovadia’s closest political aide for years, was barely able to be understood on public radio because of his weeping.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Rabbi Ovadia was a giant in Torah and Jewish law and a teacher for tens of thousands. He worked greatly to enhance Jewish heritage and at the same time, his rulings took into consideration the times and the realities of renewed life in the State of Israel.

“He was imbued with love of the Torah and the people. I very much appreciated his convivial personality and his directness. In my meetings with him, I always learned very much. The Jewish People have lost one of the wisest men of this generation.”

Rav Ovadia, as he was known to millions, has been in and out of the hospital several times this year.

He had not left the hospital since September 21, and was placed under sedation several times. His condition improved somewhat Saturday night and Sunday morning, but doctors said Monday morning he was “facing a total system collapse,” and he was pronounced dead at 1:25 p.m. (6:25 a.m. EDT).

The name “Chaim” was added last week, according to the Jewish custom to change the name of a critically sick person as a sign of a change of ways to repentance of the patient and of those praying for his recovery.

Rav Ovadia was by all accounts a giant in the world of Torah. He was widely applauded and criticized for controversial views, both in the world of Jewish law and in politics.

He leaves behind a treasury of Jewish thought and rulings on law. From the political standpoint, his cherished Shas Sephardi religious party will be sorely tested to continue its influence and political weight without Rav Ovadia’s guiding hand.

He was born in Iraq in 1920 and moved to Jerusalem at the age of four. By the age of nine already was writing comments on centuries-old Jewish thought, and his brilliancy was so outstanding that his yeshiva rabbi sought out Rav Ovadia when he stopped coming to learn at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva. The senior rabbi discovered that Rav Ovadia was working at a small grocery store to help his impoverished father. The following morning, the senior rabbi, Ezra Attiya, took Rav Ovadia’s place in the store so the brilliant student could continue to learn Torah.

Rav Ovadia was ordained as a rabbi at the age of 20, Before Israel became a recognized modern state, he moved to Cairo to teach in a yeshiva, and he returned to Israel in 1949. The following year, at the age of 20, he already was delivering rulings on Jewish law that contradicted those of senior rabbis, including the Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rav Ovadia became Chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel in 1973, competing against an incumbent. His son Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef was elected to the same post several weeks ago.

He was known for his lenient rulings and his criticism of the elitist Ashkenazi religious structure, some of whose leaders wore jealously on their shoulders for years. His leniency is credited for keeping tens of thousands of younger Sephardi Jews in Israel from leaving tradition completely, even if they were not considered “orthodox,” especially by Ashkenazi rabbis who often took the most stringent views.

His personality and rulings made his followers feel they were good Jews even if they were not totally observant, instead of cutting them off from the community.

Rav Ovadia was immensely popular among the Sephardi community, both rich and poor. He fought for improving their social conditions, which generally was on the lower end of the scale during the 1950s and 1960s, when the “establishment” closed its doors to  many Sephardi Jaws in the world of academia and politics.

His political power was immense, and he often was in the position of making or breaking government coalitions. His nod of approval to join the Rabin-Peres government was critical , especially when he supported the Oslo Accords.

Adina Bar Shalom with her father, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Adina Bar Shalom with her father, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Former Shas minister Shlomo Benizri kissing the hand of Shas siritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Former Shas minister Shlomo Benizri kissing the hand of Shas siritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef recovering from a minor stroke in Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’ earlier this year, when his health began a serious deterioration.

Spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef during evening prayer in his synagogue in Yefe Noff, Jerusalem.

Spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef during evening prayer in his synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem.

Below is a video of rare visit of Rav Ovadia to the Belz Yeshiva last year.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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.

7 Responses to “Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, One of Today’s Giant Torah Sages, Dies at 93”

  1. Baruch Day an HaEmet.

  2. Meyer Falik says:

    יהי זכרו ברוך

  3. Que descanse en la paz de D-os…y gracias por darnos su ejemplo a seguir y hacernos sentir mas orgullosos de ser sefardies…AM ISRAEL CHAI

  4. תהא נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים. הוא היה ויהיה בין גדולי תורת ישראל

  5. Nestor Ramos says:

    Baruch Dayan HaEmet sea siempre su memoria de Bendicion para muestra komunita sefardim y empero a muestros denmas Hermanos Djudios en la Diaspora komo al Eretz Yisrael…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel: three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered on June 12, 2014 by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion. In their memory, Israel decided this week to designate a lot as state land, near the site where they were abducted.
Obama White House Condemns Designation of Gush Etzion Lot as ‘State Land’
Latest News Stories
Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel: three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered on June 12, 2014 by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion. In their memory, Israel decided this week to designate a lot as state land, near the site where they were abducted.

The Obama administration has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

What is interesting is the latest reason the Arabs are rioting…

Smoke rises near Quneitra Crossing as it seen from the Golan Heights in the Israeli side on August 27, 2014, The IDF instructed farmers and civilians on Wednesday to stay away from the border with Syria on the Golan Heights.

A mortar launched from Syria landed inside an Israeli agricultural area, close to 9am.

Smoke rises near Quneitra Crossing as it seen from the Golan Heights, August 27, 2014.

Assad and the rebels are fighting again for control over the crossing with Israel.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, boys like their toys. In this case, the boy is Israeli President Ruby Rivlin sitting in a fighter jet in the Tel Nof Air Force base. Vrrmmmm, whoosh, boom…

Jews seeking to shame Netanyahu into enforcing the Apartheid Green Line so as not to anger the UNGA are shameful.

Lady Gaga once again defies the BDSers and will appear in Tel Aviv on Sept. 13.

It’s only taken 12 years, but Jerusalem may once again have a Chief Rabbi…

The US embassy was taken over… so was the embassy’s pool.

Jewish Home leader blocks exhibition of dead bodies citing Jewish tradition to honor the dead; NIF objects.

Cabinet holds special session in Ashkelon, faces criticism from local residents, officials over lack of aid package

Mixing the Haredi Lev Tahor cult with a bunch of fiercely religious Roman Catholics is a recipe for dynamite.

For two-and-a-half years, residents of the Golan Heights understood that domestic interests in Syria would keep war away from them.

The Israel Museum has a wonderful interactive exhibit called “Bamboo”, or as the kids call it, “Bambuk”. Made completely out of bamboo poles and rope, you can walk all over around it, all the way to the top of this multistory structure. Highly recommended.

4,000 dunams in G’vaot area declared state land, will open door for large construction project.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
The Great Synagogue in Lyons was targeted for a suicide bombing by two Muslim teenage girls.

The jihad network has snared teenagers in its web. One out of every six Frenchmen supports the ISIS.

MK Hanin Zoabi, under the protection of the Israeli flag, speaks against Israel.

What other country would allow legislators to openly declare their allegiance to another entity?

Israel is better off with a weak Hamas rather than a dead Hamas, for the time being, says Netanyahu.

Doctors are hopeful but worried. Her daughter Melissa is an “emotional wreck.”

We wish him a speedy recovery and a lifetime of laryngitis.

We wish a speedy recovery to Joan Rivers, the straight-shooting Jewish comedienne whose exact analysis of the war was, “Hamas started it.”

More than 200,000 Muslims live in Michigan. Fifty of them showed up for a protest against ISIS.

Sofer, who may have died from dehydration after falling in a ravine while hiking, is being buried in Beit Shemesh.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rabbi-ovadia-yosef-one-of-todays-giant-torah-sages-dies-at-93/2013/10/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: