Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, ZL

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was born in Baghdad in 1920. At the age of four, his family moved to Jerusalem. Immediately, the Rabbi enrolled in Yeshivat Porat Yosef and became one of the leading students of his class. His commitment to Torah and dilligence in his learning was witnessed at a very young age and he learned directly under the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Ezra Attie, ZL.

 

Hacham Ovadia recieved semiha at the age of nineteen and became a dayan at the age twenty three. A few years later he was appointed to be the assistant chief Rabbi of Egypt and settled in Cairo. While there, he helped build various yeshivot while also strengthening the kashrut in the Egyptian community.

 

After three years living in Egypt, Hacham Ovadia and his young family returned to Israel in 1950 and they lived in Petah Tikva where he was appointed a dayan in the rabbinical court. By this time, Hacham Ovadia began publishing the early volumes of his famous halachic works and began to rise to prominence as a leading Halachic posek of the generation. By 1960 he was appointed a dayan in the Bet Din Hagadol in Jerusalem the highest court in Israel. In 1968 he was name Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and four years later he was elected the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. It was doing this ten year tenure as Chief Rabbi that Hacham Ovadia officially became the spiritual leader and posek hagadol of the Sephardic world.

 

At the completion of his term as Chief Rabbi, Hacham Ovadia began the Shas Party in 1984. Its primary goal was to build Sephardic Yeshivot in Israel while strengthening the pride and confidence of the Sepharadim. Shas became an extremely powerful force in Israeli politics and the Rabbis goals were exceeded heavily. Over the course of thirty years, thousands of yeshivot were established while the Sepharadi population in Israel rose from under 10% to over 40%.

 

The truth is that in order to record the achievements and contributions of Hacham Ovadia, one can write volumes of books in order to scratch the surface. In short, Hacham Ovadia's sefarim will last forever as the guiding principles to Torah and Halacha for Sepharadim all over the world. His legacy will endure for generations to come. At his funeral in 2013, there were over 800,000 people that attended; truly an amazing tribute to this Torah Giant.

 

Throughout the Rabbi's tenure as chief rabbi and the years following, he would always visit our community in Brooklyn. One of his first stops would always be Shaare Zion. He showed a tremendous love and respect for our community and always valued the time he spent with us. He shared many shiurim and dibrei Torah with us and became a regular in our kenis. At the time of his passing, Shaare Zion held an arayat in the Dome that attracted thousands of people. His sefarim are constantly being used in all of the batei midrash of Shaare Zion and will forever be tremendous part of us.

Sun, August 20 2017 28 Av 5777