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August 27, 2015 / 12 Elul, 5775
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Rav 'Chaim' Ovadia

Rav Ovadia’s Condition ‘Life-Threatening’

Hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel and throughout the Diaspora are praying for the health of “Rav Ovadia,” one of Israel’s most influential rabbis and one of today’s greatest Torah sages. A name has been added.
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.
Photo Credit: Shas/Flash90

A new name has been added for 93-year-old Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a sign of his deteriorating and life-threatening condition and a custom based on a Talmudic statement that changing one’s name is one of four ways to change a Heavenly decree against a person.

The other methods are giving charity, changing one’s actions and moving to another residence.

Prayers for his full recovery should be made for HaRav Chaim Ovadia Yosef.

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, one of Rav Ovadia’s closest acquaintances, nearly eulogized his mentor Tuesday morning.

He told reporters, “His condition is deteriorating, and it doesn’t look good. The rabbi devoted his entire life to us. This is our time to give back what little we can. Since yesterday, we feel like orphans.”

Hadassah Hospital’s cardiology department head Prof. Dan Gilon told Army Radio, “We need to use a medication to maintain his blood pressure. Usually, that is not a good sign. An even worse sign in such an elderly man is the damage he has sustained in multiple organs,…his kidneys, lungs and heart.”

Rabbi Yosef, affectionately known as Rav Ovadia, is in very serious condition but somewhat stable at  Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem after a pacemaker was placed for his heart in an operation on Sunday.

He is the spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi Haredi religious party and is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position now filled by his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef.

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.


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