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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’

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

Monday, October 7th, 2013

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.

Update: Rav Ovadia Faces Critical Surgery

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is scheduled to undergo critical and complicated surgery Monday morning, doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital said Sunday night.

Earlier in the day, doctors put Rav Ovadia back on a breathing machine after his condition worsened following his breathing on his own for a period of time.

The spiritual head of the Shas religious party and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel is suffering from an infection.

His personal physician, Prof. Dan  Gilon said that the 93-tear-old rabbi had been breathing on his own lately until Saturday night, when we was placed back on a breathing machine again.

Rav Ovadia Conscious but Condition Still Serious

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef regained consciousness at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem Wednesday but his condition remains very serious, doctors said.

He woke up and recognized family members, who helped him put on tefillin. His physician, Dr. Dan Gilon, said that the rabbi may not have suffered brain damage.

The 93-year-old Torah sage and spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi party has been in and out of the hospital several times this year, but his most recent hospitalization on September 21 was followed by serious deterioration to his health, to the point that were fears he would not survive.

Rav Ovadia: ‘Slight Improvement’ but in ‘Very Serious’ Condition’

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Doctors reported a “slight improvement” in the health of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, “Rav Ovadia,” Saturday night, but cautioned that he still is in “very serious” condition.

His son, recently elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, said that Rav Ovadia briefly opened his eyes during Shabbat and moved his arm.

He asked for people to continue to pray for the recovery of Rabbi Chaim Ovadia ben Georgia.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Hospitalized Again

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Sephardic Rabbi and the spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi party, is in the Intensive Care Unit of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where he is being treated for an infection.

He is conscious but is breathing with the help of a respirator.

“Rav Ovadia,” as he is popularly known, had been in the hospital on Sunday for tests, was released but later was rushed back after not feeling well.

He has been in and out of the hospital several times this year.

Rav Ovadia: I Love Knitted-Yarmulke Jews – But Not their MKs

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Shas party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said Saturday night he really loves knitted-kippa Jews,” but it’s just their political leaders who are “Amalek” – the eternal enemy of Jews.

The national religious community in Israel now can breathe easier and know that Rav Ovadia really loves them.

Sure, the distinguished  rabbi said last month that national religious Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav is “evil” and an “enemy to Judaism,” but, heck, that was just meant to cheer up Shas’ favorite clientele, the dwindling Sephardi community that still feels oppressed by the elite Ashkenazi community. Indeed they are, but they are equally oppressed by their own leaders. So what better way to keep the common people in line by telling them that the Rabbi really loves Jews, even those who wear a knitted kippa.

But what about Shas Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who said in a sermon a week ago that “as long as there are knit kippot, the [divine] throne is not whole?  That’s Amalek. When will the throne be whole? When there is no knit kippa.”

If a listener thought Rabbi Cohen, who is a member of Shas’ Council of Torah Sages, meant that knitted-kippa Jews are Amalek, he did not understand correctly God forbid he should say such a thing.

Rav Ovadia, who sat silently on the podium as Rabbi Cohen spoke, knows exactly what he really meant.

Sure, Rabbi Cohen said some things against” those rebellious national religious Jews with knitted kippot, but he was only referring to their political leaders, opined Rav Ovadia.

Love, love, love, he said. Love for everyone – with one small exception. It is the political leaders of the knitted-kippa crowd who are problematic.

They not only are problematic. They are the true Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy dating back to the days of  the Exodus from Egypt.

And who is the real knitted-kippa modern Amalek  of the Jews? None other than Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party, which, unlike Shas, took the daring move in the last elections to  welcome secular Jews as Knesset Members and put the emphasis on nationalist instead of religious.

Rav Ovadia has his grounds for considering Bennett Amalek.

The Jewish Home party is against exempting Haredi youth from IDF service forever. That means that Shas yeshivas would have less youth learning , or at least registered as learning, in their institutions,

If there are less students, there is less money from donors, especially from the Israeli taxpayer whose hard-earned money has been going into black-hat yeshivas for years with the payback that the future Torah scholars and eternal voters for Shas are defending the nation by learning Torah, even if they are just listed as learning and actually working or stashing home.

Now that Rav Ovadia has explained  Rabbi Cohen and has mended ties with the national religious community, except for those enemies of Jews like Bennett, Israel is ready for Tu B’Av, which begins Sunday night.

The Talmud lists it along with Yom Kippur as the most joyous days of the year when, according to the Talmud, that the daughters of Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards and said, “Young man, consider who you choose (to be your wife).” Tu B’Av is the same day of the 40th yearin the desert when the ban was lifted on female orphans marrying into another tribe.

It is the perfect day for a daughter of a Shas rabbi to become engaged to the son of a national religious politician.

And God willing, Rabbi Cohen and Rav Ovadia will perform the marriage ceremony.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Recovering from Back Surgery

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Shas party’s spiritual leader and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is recovering from major back surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem following the procedure on his spine the previous day.

Yosef, 93, was scheduled to be transferred out of the intensive care unit on Tuesday. He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for the third time in recent weeks suffering from intense pain due to a fall in his home early last month. He also had a minor stroke in January.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-ovadia-yosef-recovering-from-back-surgery/2013/07/02/

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