Harav Ovadya Yosef ZTL

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    I think we should have our own Hesped for Harav Ovadya Yosef right here. Let’s try to appriciate what we had and what we lost.

    The Gemara in Shabbos says, when someone cries over an Adam Kosher his tears are counted and packed in Hashem’s treasury. Tears show the appriciation of what was lost. A Tzaddik is high above the rest, but someone who has the appropriate understanding of his relationship to the Adam Kosher has a connection in that sense. These tears are the substance of the understanding and appriciating the level and importance of the Niftar. Therefore they are in that way on the level of the Tzaddik. The Gemara says later that the Neshama of Tzadikim are put into the treasury. It may be for this reason that the tears shed on the Tzaddik are also put into the treasury.


    Mods, can we change the title? The Minhag is to not keep the added name if the person passed away from the illness for which the name was added.

    That being said, one cannot truly appreciate the Gadlus of R’ Ovadia until one has read his T’shuvos. People who base his Gadlus off his P’sakim and his political activism (he reinvigorated the Sephardic world-through Torah-in an unprecedented way since the Expulsion). Similarly, people who think he just knew every opinion and counted the majority on each issue cannot appreciate his level of learning. He was not just a computer counting opinions.

    One cannot understand the depths of his learning-the way he used those thousands of sources to weave a brilliant and beautiful tapestry on each and every minute Halachic issue until one reads the T’shuvos in the Yabia Omer. (The Yechaveh Da’as and his other Seforim are easier to read through and therefore show this ability less.) These T’shuvos themselves show how beautiful Torah is more than just about anything else I’ve ever learned.

    It is said in the name of R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that had R’ Ovadia lived 100 years earlier, he would have still been a Gadol. That was a necessary statement for R’ Shlomo Zalman to say 50 years ago, when R’ Ovadia was just beginning to build worldwide acclaim as a Gaon Olam. Nowadays, though, it is immediately obvious to anyone who learns his writings that his level of Gadlus would have been appreciated in any generation.

    R’ Ovadia Yosef had the third-biggest Seforim library in the world, had extreme vision problems for many years, and yet he still knew every Sefer in his library Ba’al Peh. Nevertheless, he was an incredible Masmid, devoting every second available to learning Torah. He managed to do this even with the exhausting demands of leading a massive Tzibbur.

    My Rebbe once told a story about R’ Akiva Eiger. He was once traveling and was forced to stay at an inn. The innkeeper only had one Sefer to give him. It was a Chiddushei HaRashba Al HaShas. When R’ Akiva Eiger left, the innkeeper noticed that his bed had not been slept in and that several pages missing from the Rashba had been written in by hand. What is the point of this story? That R’ Akiva Eiger knew the Rashba by heart? There have been Talmidei Chachamim throughout even recent generations that knew the Rashba by heart (including R’ Ovadia). No, the lesson is that even though R’ Akiva Eiger knew it by heart, he still stayed up all night learning it. That is a true lesson to learn from the Hasmadah of R’ Ovadia. We may never be blessed with his incredible memory. But we can strive to be as devoted to learning Torah as he was-especially because we don’t have that memory.

    One story about R’ Ovadia to close this. R’ Soloveitchik was once considered to be the Chief Rabbi of Israel and, therefore, went through the country giving Shiurim in 1935. One Shiur was in a Kollel in Chaifa (maybe Tel Aviv; I’m not positive which city). The Rav wanted to make a Diyuk from a Rashba at the beginning of Bava Kama (Bava Metzia?) but, unfortunately, there was no copy in the Kollel. One of the Avreichim asked the Rav which Rashba it was and that he would recite the Rashba by heart so that the Rav would make his Diyuk. Rabbi Genack did some research, found out which Kollel it was, and asked R’ David Yosef if his father happened to be in that Kollel at that time, to which R’ David Yosef responded in the affirmative. R’ Ovadia was confident that he knew the Rashba Ba’al Peh even back in 1935- when he was only 25 years old!


    I can’t really add much to that, but when people talk about Rav Ovadiah’s political activism they often forget what he did for the ashkenazim. Rav Ovadiah basically single-handedly brought the ashkenazi yeshiva system to the Edot haMizrach, and it was only because of who he was that they accepted such a thing. It is solely to his credit that the Sephardi and Mizrachi communities learn in and ashkenazi yeshivos and in a large part created the yeshiva system as we know it today.

    Correction: Rav Soloveichik was being considered for the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv (he ceded to Rav Amiel, the author of ???? ???? ????) so I would assume the kollel was in tel aviv.


    ItcheSrulik: Can you rephrase what you said Chacham Ovadia Yosef did for the Ashkenazi Yeshiva system. You weren’t too clear.


    Boruch Dayan HaEmes.

    We have lost a most humble and powerful Godol and sadness is appropriate.

    He should be a meilitz yosher for all of Klal Yisroel.


    The Baba Sali said that Hacham Ovadia was a gilgul of Reb Hai Gaon and Hashem only gave us this gaon to show people how great the alter doros were.


    To show whom, exactly? Great mekubbalim who already know about the greatness of the alter doros? Why would Hashem demonstrate the greatness of the alter doros to the masses (i.e. those who don’t already appreciate it) through a sod that they will never know?


    “…Hacham Ovadia was a gilgul of Reb Hai Gaon.”

    Interesting. Do you have a source for that?



    Rabbi Eli Mansour quoted it from Hacham Yitzhak Yosef shlita who heard it from his uncle Rav Naim Ovadia zatzal


    Thank you Shmelka. At one point, I pondered if Maran Chacham Ovadia Yosef zt”l, may have been a gilgul or a nitzotz of the Bet Yosef/Mechaber himself, seeing that he dedicated his life to promoting the Shitta’s of Rav Yosef Karo.


    I was at the Kever yesterday @11.30AM on the very 1st Johrzeit. A lot of people there. I went before the big gathering @2.30PM which would have been far too crowded. …. I also paid 20 Shekel to have 1 “Ous” in a Sefer Toroh they were finishing in his memory.

    I have met the Rov many times, in USA, UK & Israel.

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