10/09/2013

Maran zt"l

If the present torrent of articles and retrospectives about Maran Ovadia Yosef continues for another year, we will still not have anything close to a full picture of the man. They will still be writing about him in a thousand years.

Some of the articles have been excellent. Some less so. Most at least granted that his enduring greatness was in the realm of Torah and halakha, and while they did not ignore his notorious outbursts, they saw it as part of a much greater whole. My own attempt to capture what I can in 800 words will appear in this week's Jewish Week. As an organizing device, I look at three distinct meanings of the term "ga'on" and apply each of them to Maran.

The crush of people at the levaya was suffocating, the eulogizers were barely audible from where I was, cell service in Ge'ulah was not quite ready for half a million people, many of whom were taking pictures, etc. Yet I am glad I could go and I'm glad my son Rafi (9) was able to come with me. It was a lesson in kevod ha-Torah that we may never see the likes of again. That is why I wanted my son to be there with me.

Last I spoke to Rav Benny Lau, we were trying to convince a publisher to commit to a translation of R. Benny's biblio-biography of Rav Ovadia, Mi-Maran ad Maran. The publisher's concern is that there will not be much of an audience in English. I'm considering launching a kickstarter campaign to raise the money for the project. Would you buy the book? Would you contribute to the campaign?
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