web analytics
April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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. Miriam Goodman says:

    Baruch Dayan HaEmet!

  2. Baruch Day an HaEmet.

  3. Meyer Falik says:

    יהי זכרו ברוך

  4. 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

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

  6. Basha Kline says:

    Baruch Dayan HaEmet! – Likened to a former Rav, Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam who survived the camps only to build schools and also showed devotion to welfare, we have lost in just a matter of 19 years, two of the most respected sages within our Jewish heritage – we should be humbled and grateful for their gifts of brilliance in Torah, teaching and generosity.

  7. 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.

Current Top Story
Daniel Lubetzky  president of V15 and CEO of Kind "healthy" bars
No Victory for V15 and Not Healthy ‘Healthy’ Snack Bars
Latest News Stories
Hebron terrorist arrested

The wannabe terrorist wanted to be arrested more than he actually wanted to stab the soldier.

Raising Star

Israeli workers raise a large Star of David (Magen David) onto the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance of Jerusalem on April 17, 2015, in honor of Israel’s upcoming Israel’s Memorial Day and the 67th Independence Day. Israel will mark its 67th Independence Day on April 22, 2015.

Daniel Lubetzky  president of V15 and CEO of Kind "healthy" bars

First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

The EU wants to label Settler products. Liberman want to remind them of the last time they labeled Jews.

A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised  the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]

Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.

The teacher could face three years in jail for displaying Nazi symbols, which includes singing Nazi songs.

Ministerial distributions are starting to firm up, but Bennett reportedly has a new demand.

Egypt’s clampdown on tunnel has left Gazans without popular and addictive drug that helps them forget their misery.

“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are.”

12 Christian Africans ‘thrown overboard’ by Muslim African migrants

The rock under the mosaic floor that was damaged is the foundation where the two Holy Temples stood.

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry calls the Shoah “the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.”

Thousands paid their respects to Shalom Yochai Sherki, 25, who succumbed on Thursday morning to injuries he received when a car that slammed into a bus stop he was standing near.

The president was very politically correct on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Custom agents in Dubai seize smuggled Tramadol capsules.

Egypt’s clampdown on tunnel has left Gazans without popular and addictive drug that helps them forget their misery.

"Palestinian" society reaches new lows as they post photographs of their children celebrating the kidnapping of Jewish children.

“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are.”

The rock under the mosaic floor that was damaged is the foundation where the two Holy Temples stood.

The president was very politically correct on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

The military has come up with another way to try to defend citizens without attacking Hamas in Gaza.

No other source has confirmed the report.

Israel, for good reason, is just about the only nation on Earth that understands the results of appeasing evil.

Sirens were heard across the country at 10 a.m., when people were asked to stand, or stop their cars, in memory of 6 million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis. Many Hareidim, but not all of them, do not stand, and every year the anti-Hareidi media post a picture of Hareidim walking while the siren blares. […]

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: