Five years ago last week, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef passed away. The other night I reviewed the interviews I did throughout the years with his daughters. Here are just a few gems I found:
* Rivka Chikotai, daughter: “One picture is especially etched in my memory from our childhood: Father sits and learns Torah in the room, and we, the children, learn how to fight quietly. This is how we fought, with whispers, so as not to disturb father when he learned Torah.
“Ours was not a rich house, but it welcomed many guests and provided help to every poor, needy person. There was only one thing that father devoted himself to, as he devoted himself to the Torah: the public. Someone calculated once that throughout the years father talked and gave counsel to hundreds of thousands of people.”
* Adina Bar-Shalom, daughter: “During those years, Holocaust survivors arrived in Israel, people who had lost their families and sometimes also their sanity. Children used to sometimes mock them on the street, laughing at their behavior and at the way they looked. Father used to scold the neighborhood children: ‘They are holy people! You have no idea what they went through over there! You need to respect them and make life easier for them as much as you can!'”
* Yehudit Yosef, daughter-in-law who took care of him in his home: “We witnessed 93 years of incessant work and toil. The hardest thing for him during his illness was that he could not learn and write because that was the main thing for him. Sometimes at night I asked him to go to bed, and he indeed went to the bedroom, but he had a small library there and I saw that he continued to learn even there. That was simply love.”