יתומים היינו: מרן פוסק הדור הגאון הגדול רבי חיים עובדיה יוסף זצ”ל – Torah Torah Chigri Sak: Maran Rav Chaim Ovadiah Yosef zt”l

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chacham-ovadiah-yosef1It is with tremendous sadness that we report the petirah of the senior posek and Sefardic Torah giant Maran Rav Chaim Ovadiah Yosef zt”l at the age of 93.

http://matzav.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifRav Yosef had been hospitalized at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Yerushalayim for the last few weeks. Thousands across the world davened for Rav Chaim Ovadiah Yosef ben Georgia, but the great gaon, masmid and manhig was taken from our midst today, ending a life of complete and utter dedication to Torah and Klal Yisroel.

One of the most brilliant Torah minds of our day, Chacham Ovadiah was born on September 23, 1920.http://matzav.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

He was a former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel and served as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Knesset.

Chacham Ovadiah was born in Baghdad, Iraq, the day after Yom Kippur. In 1924, when he was four years old, he immigrated to Yerushalayim with his family. As a teenager he studied at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva, where he advanced to the highest shiur taught by the rosh yeshiva, Rav Ezra Attiya.

Legend has it that Rav Attiya was instrumental in keeping the young Chacham Ovadiah in the Torah world. At one point, the diligent young talmid chochom suddenly stopped coming to yeshiva for several days. Rav Attiya paid a visit to his home and was shocked by the poverty he saw there. Chacham Ovadiah’s father explained that he ran a small grocery and needed the boy to work for him. Rav Attiya attempted to convince the father of the importance of Torah learning, to no avail. The next morning, when Chacham Ovadiah’s father entered his store, he found Rav Attiya standing there, wearing a work apron. The rosh yeshiva explained that he had come to the store early that morning when Chacham Ovadiah was opening up. He had told the boy that he had found a substitute worker who would work without pay and sent him back to yeshiva.

“You said that you needed someone to help and could not afford to pay. I am that someone. Your son’s learning is more important than my time!” the rosh yeshiva told Chacham Ovadiah’s father, who finally conceded and allowed his son to continue learning in yeshiva.

Chacham Ovadiah received semichah at the age of 20. He became long-time friends with Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul, who began his yeshiva career in the same class and who advanced to become rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef in 1983.

In 1947, Chacham Ovadiah was invited to Cairo by Rav Aharon Choueka, the founder of Yeshiva Ahavah Ve’achvah, to serve as a maggid shiur in the yeshiva. Chacham Ovadiah also served, at the request of Rav Ben Tzion Meir Chai Uziel, as head of the Cairo Bais Din. Chacham Ovadiah found that religious observance among both the Jewish community at large, and its leadership, was lax. One of the major halachic issues was the lack of any organized system of kashrus. Following a number of events, Chacham Ovadiah resigned from his position two years after having arrived in Cairo. Approximately one year after his resignation, he returned to what, in the meantime, had become Israel.

After returning to Israel, Chacham Ovadiah learned at Yeshiva Bnei Tzion, then headed by Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank. He also served on the bais din in Petah Tikva. His boldness as a posek was already revealed during his first term as a dayan when, at the age of 30, he wrote a halachic ruling permitting yibum instead of chalitzah, which contradicted a p’sak made by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel a year earlier which had forbidden yibum.

In 1951-1952, Chacham Ovadiah published his sefer on the halachos of Pesach titled Chazon Ovadia. The sefer won much praise and received the approval of, among others, the two Chief Rabbis of Israel at that time, Rav Ben Tzion Meir Chai Uziel and Rav Yitzchok Halevi Herzog.

Two years later, Chacham Ovadiah founded Yeshiva Or HaTorah for gifted Sephardic talmidim. This yeshiva, which did not remain open for long, was the first of many which he established, later with the help of his sons, in order to facilitate Torah education for Sephardic Jews and establish the leadership of the community for future generations.

In 1953-4 and 1955-6, Chacham Ovadiah published the first two volumes of his major work, Yabia Omer, which also received much praise.

Between 1958 and 1965, Chacham Ovadiah served as a dayan in the Yerushalayim district bais din. He was then appointed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Appeals in Yerushalayim, eventually becoming the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1968, a position which he held until his election as Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel in 1973.

In 1973, Chacham Ovadiah was elected the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel by a majority of 81 to 68 votes, replacing Rav Yitzchak Nissim. In the same election, Rabbi Shlomo Goren was chosen as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The Council of the Chief Rabbinate was controlled by Rabbi Goren, and for some time Chacham Ovadiah decided that, as a consequence, there was no point in attending its sessions. During his years as Chief Rabbi, Chacham Ovadiah dealt with a variety of important social and halachic issues.

Chacham Ovadiah resided in the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Har Nof.

Chacham Ovadiah’s teshuvos are noted for citing almost every source regarding a specific topic. Among Chacham Ovadiah’s earliest works was a detailed commentary on the Ben Ish Chai titled Halichos Olam. He was asked to finish the commentary of the Kaf Hachaim by Rav Yaakov Chaim Sofer after the author’s passing. Two sets of Chacham Ovadiah’s responsa have been published, Yabia Omer and Yechaveh Da’as. There is also another series of seforim under the title of Chazon Ovadia, which Chacham Ovadiah has written laws concerning ShabbosYomim Tovim and other topics. Chacham Ovadiah has printed a commentary on Pirkei Avos under the title, Anaf Etz Avos, and Maor Yisroel, a commentary on various parts of Shas. His son, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, the Sefardic chief rabbi fo Israel has published a widely-read codification of Chacham Ovadiah’s rulings titled Yalkut Yosef. Another son, Rav David Yosef, has printed various siddurim and liturgy according to Chacham Ovadiah’s rulings, and another halachic compendium titled Halachah Berurah.

Interstingly, when speaking about the importance of hasmadah, diligence, Rav Yehuda Tzadka zt”l would often tell his talmidim the following story:http://matzav.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

In the year תרצ”ו, Israeli authorities ruled that all residents of the Old City of Yerushalayim must turn out their lights after dark. The enemy was vicious, and the inhabitants of the Old City could not afford to take any chances. The once beautiful nightlife of the Jewish Quarter had become a distant memory.

As usual, the young Yehuda Tzadka was making his rounds throughout the yeshiva‘s dormitory, making sure all the room lights were out. Generally, Chacham Yehuda’s inspection was quick and simple. This night, however, was a bit different. As he neared the end of the hall, he noticed a small bright light, gleaming from one of the dorm rooms. Rav Yehuda approached, knocked lightly, and proceeded to slowly push open the squeaky wooden door. Chacham Yehuda was not surprised to find his dearest friend, Ovadia Yosef, leaned over heaps of scattered sefarim, surrounded by a few small candles to illuminate his precious books. He stood happily and watched as Ovadia would open one sefer, scan it, place it at his side, and repeat the process over and over again, while occasionally stopping to take notes.

Chacham Yehuda would conclude by saying, “I knew this boy was destined to be the gadol hador of the next generation. For that reason, I left him to study.”

Those who saw Chacham Ovadiah during his lifetime observed this unbelievable hasmadah. Even at a senior age and in frail condition, Chacham Ovadiah still focused on one thing: limud haTorah. He was always sitting and learning, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.

How fortunate we are to have had such an example of Torah greatness and diligence in our generation.

Chacham Ovadiah was unparalleled. A yochid bedoro.

He is survived by 11 children and many grandchildren.

The petirah of Rav Yosef has plunged Klal Yisroel into mourning.

Mi yitein lonu temuraso.

The levaya will start at 6 p.m. from Yeshivat Porat Yosef in Yerushalayim and kevurah will take place in Sanhedria.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}


  1. Gadol Missas Tzaddikim K’sryfaas Beis Elokeinu!
    Gadol Missas Tzaddikim Yosser K’sryfaas Beis Elokeinu!

    What a sad day for us on this planet – What a simcha in Shomayim! The tzaddik “WILL” be mailitz for us because he had true ahavas Yisroel.

  2. Baruch HaDayan HaEmmet the sense of being orphaned is real
    In the meantime let not the timing be lost on the nation as a call to take more action to repair one’s own behavior and may the Rav be our advocate on High

  3. Maran,

    Please storm the heavens for all of klal yisroel.

    The jewish people need parnassa, refuas, shidduchim, success with child raising , and so much more.

    Your Torah and avodah lifted up thousands of people who came to see you.

    We are lost without gedolim.

    I have tears running down as I write this.

  4. In todays times, where we are seemingly less machsiv what our rabonim and gedoilei roshei hayishiva are telling us. On this occasion of the passing of one of our leaders I feel it is a time for us to reflect and perhaps be “re-michazaik” ourselves in our emunas chachomim, even when our “daas” doesn’t feel like it is the right thing (for what ever reason). Let us daven that Chacham Oavdiah will be a mailitz yoisher for us and all of klal yisroel.

  5. we have all caused this to ourselves as a nation by not coming together & doing something about it-rather its teshuva, achdus etc…-its really sad that tragedies continue R”L, BUT WE DON’T LEARN FROM IT & CHANGE OUR WAYS TO THE POSITIVE let us just show Hashem a SIGN of charata (remorse) or teshuva (repentance) & perhaps then Hashem will stop these tragic vents from occuring & brin klal yisroel one step closer towards Mashiach


  6. “In the year ???”?, Israeli authorities ruled that all residents of the Old City of Yerushalayim must turn out their lights after dark.”

    In ???”? Eretz Yisroel was under the British mandate. So the use of the expression ‘Israeli authorities’ in such a sentence is therefore out of place.

  7. ???? ???? ??????, ???? ???????, ???? ??????, ????? ?????, ??? ?????? ???? ???, ???? ?????, ?? ?????, ?? ???? ?????, ???? ??? ??????, ??? ???? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???, ??? ???? ???? ?????
    ???? ???? ???? ??, ??? ??? ?? ??????, ??? ????, ??? ????? ???? ??????. ?????? ?????? ??????, ????? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??????. ??? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ?????? ????? ????, ????? ????? ???? ????? ????? ??????, ?????? ????? ???????. ??? ?????? ?? ????, ??? ????? ??? ??????, ???? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???????”?


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