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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Ovadia’

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.

Rav Ovadia Calls Tzohar Rav Stav ‘Evil’; Tzohar Replies: Repent

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Revered Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a spiritual head of the Shas party and a former Chief Rabbi, castigated Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav in unprecedented terms Saturday night, calling him “evil” and a “danger to Judaism.”

The Tzohar rabbinical group responded by calling on Rav Ovadia, who by all accounts is one of the most brilliant Torah sages today, to “repent” and “ask for forgiveness.”

The epithets  by Rav Ovadia may boomerang and give Rabbi Stav sympathy support that could make him Israel’s next Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi.

They also give anti-religious Jews, both inside Israel and in the Diaspora, plenty of ammunition to fire back in their campaign against leaving authority for Israel’s religious affairs in the hands of orthodox Jews, Haredi or not. One can hear the refrain already, “And you call these people spiritual leaders?”

Rabbi Benny Lau, a national religious rabbi and the nephew of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, told Voice of Israel public radio that despite Rabbi Ovadia’s constant antagonistic comments in  his weekly Saturday night sermons, he once realized the greatness of the man when he spoke  with him in person.

But Saturday night’ wild attack on Rabbi Stav left Rabbi Lau without any explanation for his behavior.

Rav Ovadia’s weekly speeches are often geared for his Sephardi audience, many of whom see themselves as having been discriminated against for decades under the domineering thumb of Ashkenazi rabbis for years.

Even taking that into account, Rabbi Lau’s inability to explain Rabbi Ovadia’s venom points in one direction: Aryeh Deri, the Rav’s favorite political leader and who rules the Shas political party.

Deri has been trying to torpedo a bill that would allow Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to seek a second term. The reasoning is that since he is Haredi, his selection would create more pressure to accept a non-Haredi Ashkenazi rabbi.

Deri, a crackerjack if not ruthless politician, simply had to turn to his trusted rabbi, Rav Ovadia, to help make sure Rabbi Amar will not be selected and thereby prevent the election of Rabbi Stav.

It is open to question how much Deri and other aides close to Rav Ovadia have sheltered him from reality and have fed him the news they want him to read.

Regardless of who is to blame, when a  rabbi, especially one as distinguished as Rav Ovadia, states that appointing another rabbi to the Chief Rabbinate is like bringing idolatry in the Holy Temple, it only takes a look at the calendar to realize how deep and slimy the pit into which the campaign for Chief Rabbi has fallen.

Next week, Jews being the tradition “three weeks of mourning” that concludes with Tisha B’Av, marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The Second Temple is said to have fallen because of “loshon haRa,” literally the “evil tongue” by which Jews slander other Jews.

The Tzohar rabbinical organization accused Rav Ovadia of doing just that and accused Rav Ovadia of incitement.

When respected rabbis feel the need to call on a rabbi as revered as Rav Ovadia to “repent,” it is clear something is not kosher.

Rabbi Stav has conducted an unprecedented self-promotional campaign to become Chief Rabbi, but it can easily be argued there is no other way to change the outward face inward soul of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel that has managed to distance secular Jews instead of drawing them closer to Judaism.

In a pitiful understatement, aides to Rabbi Amar have charged that political elements are sowing the seeds of hatred between Torah sages.

The group of Tzohar Rabbis protested what they called the incitement of Rabbi Yosef against “another great rabbi in Israel whose entire life has been dedicated to love of the Torah by the People of Israel.. [His comments] prove the need for an urgent change in the Rabbinate of Israel.”

Shas officials insisted on the last word, which gets worse every time they speak. They  said it is “not respectful to respond to words of a heretic by people who call themselves rabbis but are worse than non-Jews.”

One Shas source, compared Rabbi Stav with Korach, who challenged  Moses’ authority and whose followers died when the ground opened up and buried them alive. ” When Rav Ovadia says he [Rabbi Stav]is evil, there is no need to explain,” said the source. Now , it is clear that all of them [Tzohar rabbis] are evil.”

Rav Ovadia Released from Hospital to Recover at Home

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Shas spiritual rabbi and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was released from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem Monday after having been rushed there the night before when he lost consciousness at home.

Doctors said he is good condition and did not suffer a broken leg, as was first feared when he fell at his Jerusalem home and complained of pains in his leg. He suffered cruises and some scratches.

Rabbi Yosef, or Rav Ovadia as he is affectionately known, lost consciousness momentarily while he was walking from his study to prepare for evening prayers at a nearby synagogue.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Hospitalized after Collapsing at Home

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Shas spiritual leader and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef collapsed at his Jerusalem home early Sunday evening, lost consciousness for a short while and was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. He is conscious, but doctors are concerned he may have broken his leg when he fainted.

His condition is stable.

The revered rabbi, one of the most influential rabbis in Israel and in Sephardi  communities around the world, was on his way from his study room to prepare fore the evening Maariv prayers when he fainted and lost consciousness for a short while.

He is suffering from weakness and pains in his leg.

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, who is the political powerbroker in the Shas party, was by his side on the way to the hospital, along with Rav Yosef’s personal physician, Dr. Yochanan Shtesman.

Earlier this year the rabbi, the 92-year-old Iraqi-born Torah sage collapsed in a synagogue during Shabbat prayers and was rushed to the emergency room, where he was said to have suffered a minor stroke.

The rabbi lives in the Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Yosef, or Rav Ovadia as he is affectionately known, is highly  controversial but even more highly respected as one of the greatest rabbis in recent generations.

One of his projects on Jewish law is an attempt to create a unified Halakhic codex subject to the rulings of Rabbi Yosef Karo and the unification of the customs of the various Jewish groups in Israel by calling upon them to relinquish traditions, often rooted in Kabbalah and practiced in the lands where they resided prior to their immigration to the Land of Israel.

Rav Ovadia Yosef: We Must Pray for the Destruction of Iran

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

With the approach of Rosh Hashana, Rav Ovadia Yosef said on Saturday night that when we eat the traditional holiday symbolic foods, whose names or shapes have a symbolic connection to our supplications to Hashem, especially when we make the blessing over the dates, t’marim, and pray that our enemies be obliterated, we should focus specifically on Iran, the wicked nation which is threatening the State of Israel. “May the good Lord obliterate them, destroy them…”

Tractate Kritut in the Babylonian Talmud teaches that we should eat on Rosh Hashanah, among other fruits, a date – “tamar” – which contains the syllable “tam” or ended, and after eating a portion of it we should say, “May it be Your will, our God and the God of our fathers, that all our enemies and haters and all who plots against us be terminated.”

Also, when we eat a leek (“kreti”) we should appeal to God that our enemies and haters along with anyone who plots against us be destroyed, the Rav clarified that we should focus on the Hizbullah and Iran.

“May God destroy them and wipe them off the face of the earth,” said the Rav and quoted many sources in Psalms referring to the Almighty’s salvation in the face of enemy threats.

“They go by chariot and on horseback and we will go in the name of Our God. They bowed and fell, and we got up and persevered.”

During discussions throughout the previous week, Rav Ovadia referred to the Iranian threat, saying, “There are evil people, the Iranians, waiting to destroy us . . . .we must pour out our hearts in prayer to the Holy One, blessed be His Name. . . .We are in danger, we are all in danger. . . .We have no one to rely upon, except our Father in Heaven. We must pray from the heart with deep concentration.”

The Haredi website Kikar HaShabbat last week reported that General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror, Chief Advisor for National Security, came to Rav Ovadia’s house and briefed him with information of Iran’s nuclear plan.

Rav Ovadia Yosef Holds in his Hands the Fate of Israel’s Attack on Iran

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The final say on whether or not Israel will go it alone against Iran’s nuclear facilities depends on the two architects of that plan, and on the IAF which will carry it out. It will also depend on the Obama Administration and on whether or not the Saudis and the Gulf states will give their tacit approval. But that same decision will also depend on the approval of a 92-year-old Sefardi Rabbi from Jerusalem, whose thumbs-up or down could kill the plan or give it life.

Kikar HaShabbat disclosed on Monday a meeting that took place last Friday between the “Rishon L’tzion,” former Sefardi chief rabbi, Rav Ovadia Yosef and the National Security Advisor, General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror.

Rav Yosef is the undisputed leader, spiritual and otherwise, of Shas (Heb. acronym for Shomrei Sfarad, lit. Sfarad’s [Torah] guards), an ultra-orthodox religious political party with 11 Knesset seats, member of the coalition government.

The meeting focused on the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, and the support of Shas ministers Yishai and Attias for this move. This disclosure, as expected, was publicized in major Israeli media.

A source at 45 HaKablan Street in Jerusalem, Rav Yosef’s home, told Kikar HaShabbat that “this was a secret meeting; even the closest people didn’t know about it. Friday, immediately after the morning prayers, Yaakov Amidror arrived and entered Rav Ovadia’s room and the secret conversation began.”

Approximately 20 years ago, Hosani Mubarak, then president of a powerful Arab nation, invited Rav Ovadia Yosef to his residence to thank him for his support of the peace process and to forge personal ties with him.

Mubarak understood then what many political leaders caught onto only later on, that Rav Ovadia Yosef is the key to the entire political and security process in Israel. His influence on his party is prominent and his word has ramifications in wider spheres of influene.

Things have changed since then in Egypt, but not in Israel. Mubarak lost his leadership, but Rav Ovadia’s positon and influence have only grown stronger. Several months ago, the Mubarak Family asked Rav Yosef to pray for the deposed ruler’s health and that he be saved from the prison where he is now. In one of his lectures, the Rav commented that immediately after receiving the request, he prayed and wished Mubarak a complete recovery and that he be released from prison.

This month, the Forum of Eight Cabinet Minsiters, which became nine last week with the addition of the new Home Front minister Avi Dichter, is expected to decide whether or not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The votes in the Security Cabinet are equal. Netanyahu needs the support of the Shas ministers, which in reality means the approval of Rav Ovadia Yosef.

It took Yitzchak Rabin 3 meetings with the Rav to present the outline of the Oslo Accord with the Palestinians. Ariel Sharon came twice to convince the Rav of his decision to expel the Jewish residents of Gush Katif; however the president of the Council of Chacmei Torah didn’t even take a minute to think. “Your plan is terrible, and in the future it will become clear how mistaken your plan is. I suggest that you do not implement it.”

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert updated the Rav on the night before the attack on the nuclear reactor in Syria and he came to his house on the first day of the second Lebanon war.

In the last stages of the operation before the release of Gilad Shalit, Rav Ovadia’s approval was necessary to complete the list of prisoners to be freed. After the list was complete and Hamas had submitted their list of prisoners to released “without which there is no deal,” the name of Salah Hamouri, a terrorist that had planned to assassinate Rav Ovadia Yosef, appeared on the list. He had been indicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, but had only served 7 years of his sentence.

Israeli security personnel realized that, in this case, the strong opposition of Rav Ovadia could undermine the entire deal. They decided to send Yoram Cohen, Secret Service commander to the Rav’s house. Cohen had a good relationship with the Rev for many years and the Rav admired him. However, in contrast with previous instances, the Rav refused to release the prisoner due to reasons not connected to him personally.

Utimately, the person who succeeded in getting the Rav’s approval was French ambassador Christof Bigot, one of the most active behind-the-scenes negotiators. During his tenure in Israel, he enjoyed a very warm relationship with the leaders of the Shas party.

That was the background against which Amidror’s visit has taken place.

“Everyone was asked to leave the room. Only the Rav, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Yaakov Amidror remained in the room. The conversation lasted about 45 minutes while Amidror presented to Rav Ovadia political information known to the Intelligence Unit and estimates of the dangers to Israel if Iran succeeds in creating nuclear ammunition. Amidror explained the importance of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.”

The source added, “At the end of the meeting, it was obvious that Minister Yishai was very upset and worried. It looked like it hadn’t been an uncomplicated meeting. We have to bear in mind that Eli Yishai opposes attacking Iran , while Amidror was representing the Prime Minister, who, apparently, wants Israel to attack alone if need be.”

In conclusion, the source said that if the Rav’s opinion was against the attack, it is possible that after the meeting it changed.

“If until now Rav Ovadia had a strong opinion against an Israeli attack, now the Rav knows more information about the nuclear danger Iran poses and it seems that after this meeting there is a possiblility that the Rav would support an attack. However, the Rav has still not expressed his opinion. According to my opinion, we can expect further meetings with Netanyahu’s people,” the source estimates.

Another source involved in the meeting told Kikar HaShabbat, “We’re referring to a pressure campaign on the Shas party and Interior Minister Eli Yishai by the Prime Minister’s office to support a possible attack against Iran.”

Rav Ovadia alluded to an attack on Iran during a class he gave yesterday and said, “Hashem should have mercy on us. We need the mercy of our Creator, may His name be blessed and exalted. He has mercy on us, like a father has for his children. We are beseeching Hashem not to let the evil thoughts of these wicked men materialize. May Hashem pay them what they deserve.”

The Rav continued, “Like Hashem did to Haman, so He should do good for us. We turn to Hashem to have pity on us. We have no other recourse, but to rely on our Father in Heaven.”

Rav Ovadia also addressed the disagreement within Israel about attacking Iran. “They are capable of bringing about mass destruction, God forbid. May God nullify their thoughts.”

At the end of his words, the Rav said, “We cannot sit idly by. The nation of Israel is in danger, we are not in regular times. Therefore, every person should attend the Sllichot (supplications) prayers tomorrow.”

Dan Shapiro, the new American ambassador to Israel, relates that even before he got to his new post in Tel Aviv, he made note of the fact that he had to establish a good relationship with Rav Ovadia Yosef. Therefore two days after presenting his letter of credence to President Shimon Peres, he approached the office of Interior Minister Eli Yishai to get an appointment with the Rav, which took place later that week.

The conversation between the Rav and the ambassador was friendly. The ambassador spoke in Hebrew and told the Rav about his religious affiliations and his studies in yeshiva. Since then, the two meet frequently, and the Americans will definitely try to employ Dan Shapiro, within the next few days, to convince the Rav not to support the attack on Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rav-ovadia-yosef-holds-in-his-hands-the-fate-of-israels-attack-on-iran/2012/08/21/

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