Ovadia Yosef

Talmudic scholar, posek and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983
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Ovadia Yosef (Hebrew: עובדיה יוסף‬ Ovadya Yosef, Arabic: عبد الله يوسف‎, translit. Abdullah Yusuf; September 24, 1920 – October 7, 2013) was an Iraqi-born Talmudic scholar, a posek, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, and the founder and long-time spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Yosef's responsa were highly regarded within Haredi circles, particularly among Mizrahi communities, among whom he was regarded as "the most important living halakhic authority".

Ovadia Yosef


  • It is easy for a rabbi to establish prohibitions, but a rabbi's real strength is to teach Torah and rule on law with an emphasis on what is permitted.
    • Quoted in Jewish Chronicle, 11 Oct 2013 page 22.
  • Saving a life overrides territories.
  • It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable. […] The Lord shall return the Arabs' deeds on their own heads, waste their seed and exterminate them, devastate them and vanish them from this world.
  • There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, all of this because of too little Torah study. Where there is Torah it sustains the world. There are negros there [in New Orleans]. Negros will study Torah? Let's bring them a tsunami, drown them. Hundreds of thousands were left without a shelter. Tens of thousands died. All of this is because they have no God.
  • A Druze soldier who stood guard to protect Israel against vengeful enemies, and was killed by Ishmaelites - it is proper to say a 'hashkava' [prayer] in synagogue for the benefit of his soul... The Druze believe in one God and are not idolaters at all, and also believe in the persistence of the soul [after death], and all the more so they enlist in the IDF and sacrifice themselves to protect the inhabitants of the State of Israel, and they keep the Seven Mitzvot of the Children of Noah, and their status is as Righteous of the Nations of the World.




  • “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,”.
  • Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created.
  • In Israel, death has no dominion over them...With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but (God) will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one's donkey would die, they'd lose their money. This is his servant...That's why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew. Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.

Jewish law

  • They don't observe the Sabbath, they don't observe the Torah, they don't pray, they don't put on phylacteries every day. Is it any wonder that they're killed? It's no wonder. May the Almighty have mercy on them and bring them back to religion.

About Ovadia Yosef

  • The most significant halachic authority of the last 100 years, whose positions helped fashion a balanced and moderate Judaism.
    • Obituary Jewish Chronicle, 11 Oct 2013 page 33.
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