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Yosef ‘solved problems no one else could solve using his wisdom and spirituality’ — President Peres

“A few hours ago I went to the hospital to say goodbye to my teacher, my rabbi, my friend Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,” President Shimon Peres relates in an official statement. “It was a difficult time. Tears filled my eyes and my throat was choked with emotion. I held his hand which was still warm and kissed his forehead. When I pressed his hand I felt I was touching history and when I kissed his head it was as though I kissed the very greatness of Israel,” he added.

“Immediately after the fall of the Second Temple there were two greats of the Torah — Yohanan ben Zakai and Yehuda Hanasi,” Peres continues, adding, “I mention them because they came to the conclusion that for the Jewish people to survive we need to study. Rabbi Yosef symbolized that and acted upon it. He was simply a great man. His greatness wasn’t measured but rather it was felt as a spiritual wind in every corner, lighting up the darkness in unexpected places. When I met him I sensed he was a great man with an unbelievable memory and the wisdom to share his knowledge with others. His contribution was his love for Israel and he solved problems no one else could solve using his wisdom and spirituality.”

Peres, who had known Yosef for decades, was among the last to visit the rabbi’s hospital bed earlier in the day, before his passing.

President Shimon Peres visiting the sukkah of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Tuesday (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
President Shimon Peres visiting the sukkah of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in 2012. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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