Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Photo: Guy Assayag
Rabbi Ovadia: Messiah will rule Sephardic-style
Shas spiritual leader speaks of differences between Ashkenazis, Sephardis, rules that each community must follow its own traditions until coming of the Messiah when former will adopt latter's ways
He prolifically makes jabs at Ashkenazis and their traditions, but now he is certain – the Messiah will follow Sephardic customs. During his weekly class on Saturday night, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef addressed the halacha for blowing the ram's horn on the High Holidays, as well as the varying customs between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.


The rabbi emphasized that each person must stick to the customs of his father's house, but claimed that when the Messiah comes, everyone will follow the Sephardic customs.


The rabbi made these statements in a slightly bemused tone, however, he consistently rules in favor of Sephardic traditions over Ashkenazi traditions when asked to choose between the two. In the past, Rabbi Ovadia ruled that the Sephardic method of religious ruling must be followed in Israel.


The rabbi said, "We cannot determine that we were correct until the Messiah comes and will make us one people. Only the Messiah can do this… When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will rise up in the revival of the dead, what will they say? They will start to say they were from Halabim, from Aleppo." Rabbi Ovadia claimed that the Ashkenazi method of pronunciation will also give way to the Sephardic pronunciation, and the Ashkenazis will "be reformed."


During the lesson, the rabbi also ruled that a man who sends his children to a secular school is not eligible to act as a cantor or to blow the ram's horn in the synagogue during the High Holidays, even if he himself keeps the commandments.


"If he prays three times a day and lays tefillin, so what will happen? …He prays because he is used to praying. His father made him accustomed to praying, and this is why he prays. Otherwise, he wouldn't pray."


Rabbi Yosef added that only a fair, honest, and God-fearing man who sends his children to religious schools may fill these positions and act as an advocate for the people of Israel. According to him, if the person who blows the shofar is "not a good person," God will not receive his prayers and will only hate the entire population because of him.


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