Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rav Ovadia Yosef, ZT"L

Dear Seforim Blog readers,

This past Monday an era ended. As many prominent rabbonim mentioned, during the levaya of Rav Ovadia Yosef, there was the era of Tannaim, the era of AmoraimGeonimRishonimAchronim and the era of Rav Ovadia Meor Yisroel. Each one of us merited living in his generation. He was the Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation (Sukkah 39a), not merely in personal greatness but characteristically as well. He acquired the Torah reaching great heights, nevertheless descended from his league and set it before the nation – the young and the old, the learned and the uninformed. With all his responsibilities, he was attentive to the nations needs. Moshe Rabbeinu merited having the Torah ascribed to him by sacrificing his life for it (Mechiltah, 17); Rav Ovadia devoted his last energy for its flourishing.

The void left by the passing of Rav Ovadia ob”m is felt throughout the Jewish nation. Eulogies throughout the world are being given illustrating the nation’s emotions. In Israel, one yeshiva has even been collaborating with a well known radio channel in arranging for the completion of Talmud Bavli every day of the shiva. It connects the masses and furthers Rav Ovadia’s mission: spreading Torah. Our Torah is great but so is our nation. By uniting as one, no feat is too great for us. Over time, that is essentially how Rav Ovadia grew to be who he came to be and that was how he spread the Torah. Page after page, sefer after sefer. A shiur in this neighborhood and ashiur in that country. The establishment of Jewish schools in different countries for our brethren lacking Jewish identity. Responsa upon responsa he aided the nation in coping with all the various circumstances we faced. It is how he produced such significant seforim, and it is how he systematically rebuilt Sephardic Jewry and impacted World Jewry. His love for each individual, the tears shed for every Jewish child, soldier or aguna all served as the life lesson we sought. Let us all exercise our unique potential and devote some time, however minimal, and begin to reflect his life’s mission.

A study initiative of Talmud Bavli and Mishnayot is ongoing in the Diaspora. An uplifting siyum will be held on the shloshim (November 5, 2013, אור לב' כסלו) in the Tri-state area, in memory of Rav Ovadia. An updated list of available masechtot and perakimcan be viewed here. Anyone wishing to partake in this project or to request additional (sub)divisions not listed can email requests directly to SiyumforRavOY74@gmail.comDue to the disproportionate requests for particular materials (dafim, perakim, masechtot) all divisions will be reserved upon first-come first-serve basis. A second cycle will begin once the first is completed.

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