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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Memorial Service for חכם עובדיה יוסף ז״ל

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Yeshivah of Flatbush held a memorial service for Hacham Ovadia Yosef z"l, one of the greatest poskei Halacha and spiritual leaders of our times. His accomplishments include serving as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel for 10 years, forming the Shas political party, and writing numerous books about Halacha. Hacham Yosef had influence on many recent issues such as the remarriage of women whose husbands went missing in war, the permissibility of selling land to non Jews during shemitah, and the Palestinian conflict. As Rabbi Levy mentioned, whether you realize it or not, many of out traditions today come from the psak of Rav Ovadia Yosef. Rabbi Avi Harari spoke about Rabbi Yosef's dedication to Torah and commitment to protecting the interests of Sephardic Jews and shared personal stories. While he was in Israel, Rabbi Harari (and his cab driver) would often attend Rabbi Yosef's classes, which dealt with practical issues of Halacha with great insight and intellect. His classes, broadcasted on TV and posted on YouTube on Saturday nights, were popular with all types of Jews throughout Israel. Rabbi BenLulu put together a video of the funeral service in Israel, which over 800,000 people attended, the largest gathering of Jews in Jerusalem since the time of the second Bet Hamikdash. The love people had for Rabbi Yosef and the grief felt from losing him was palpable in the faces and sobbing of the funeral goers. "We are like orphans without a father!" one bereaved mourner cried out. In losing him, "the Jewish people have lost one of the wisest men of this generation,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

The Spiritual Growth Commision has set up a program in which students and teachers can learn Mishnayot in honor of Hacham Ovadia. See to sign up to learn a perek. Thank you to them and to everyone who put together the program on such short notice. May Hashem send nechama to the Yosef family and to all of Am Yisrael.
~Sarah Levy 3HR