By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Shalom Cohen, Rosh yeshiva of the Old City branch of Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in Israel, passed away on Sunday night, eve of 25 Av 5782.
He was 91.
Rabbi Cohen was one of eight children born to Rabbi Efraim Hakohen, a Sephardi kabbalist, in Jerusalem. His father had been a disciple of the Ben Ish Chai in Baghdad before immigrating to Palestine in 1924. In 1931, the year Shalom was born, his father was appointed rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Rabbi Cohen studied at that Yeshiva at the age of 13, and developed a reputation for “diligence and ingenuity”. He married Yael, the daughter of Rabbi Mansour Ben Shimon, a kabbalist in Tzfas who also taught at Porat Yosef.
Notwithstanding his youth, Rabbi Cohen began delivering shiurim at Porat Yosef after his wedding, and has taught students for decades. He was named rosh yeshiva of the Old City branch of Porat Yosef Yeshiva in 1966. Though his father and father-in-law were kabbalists, he himself was not.
Rabbi Cohen entered the political arena for the first time in 1984, when he agreed to former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef‘s request to support the founding of the Shas party and serve on the new Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah rabbinic council. In April 2014, six months after Rabbi Yosef’s death, Rabbi Cohen succeeded him as nasi (president) of the council.
The Levaya is expected to leave on Monday from the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Geula. It will head to the Sanhedria Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest next to his late wife.
Baruch Dayan Haemes.