Apr 12, 2013
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, 66, OBM
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, who aligned with Chabad on core issues over his famous father's dovish approach, has passed away.
By COLlive reporter
Photos by Shmulik Sofer and Kikar.net
Rabbi Yaakov Chai Yosef, a noted Sephardic rabbi and scholar who didn't shy away from voicing his opinion on state affairs, passed away Friday, 2 Iyar 5773.
He was 66 and battled with 'yene machle' for a while.
The rabbi of the Givat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem, he was widely identified as the second child of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas movement and the foremost Sephardic halachic authority.
But his relationship with his father was rocky over the years, as the son took a firm stand in supporting the settlement of Judea and Samaria and opposed exchanging Israel's land for Arab's promises of peace.
That position, and others such as the Mihu Yehudi leniency of accepting non Jews to Israel led to a close relationship with Chabad and the Rebbe's leadership.
"Not everyone understood that the Rebbe is clairvoyant," he said at a speech in Kfar Chabad a year ago about the Rebbe's battle against peace illusions and compromises on Israel's Jewish identity.
The Rebbe's vision is not happening this moment, or what will happen in an hour. He saw things from a distance. He had a watchful eye. And that is why he knew and was worried over what can happen here in Eretz Yisroel."
"His love for the land of Israel was enormous, and he was deeply sorry for every inch of the land of Israel that was returned [to the Palestinians], as if it was a valuable diamond that was lost," said Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.
While these opinions put Rabbi Yosef in the headlines as one of the most influential right-wing rabbis and a rebel breaking from his father's dovish approach, his time was mostly consumed by Torah.
He founded and headed the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva and delivered regular weekly classes, which were characterized by a simple, popular style and which caused him to be loved and revered by many, Israel National News reported.
"He was known for his phenomenal memory, and his integrity was well known. The truth was his guiding principle and he found himself time and again on the one side of the river, while the rest of the world was on the other side - but he stuck to his internal truth and did not give in," Rabbi Metzger said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Rabbi Yosef was a great Torah scholar, teacher and a posek who followed in the footsteps of his father, may he have a long life."
The admiration the public had for him was on full display on Friday when, just hours before Shabbos, thousands crowded the surrounding streets and rooftops in the Bucharim neighborhood of Jerusalem to attend his funeral.
Baruch dayan haemes.