The Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, was reported to be under anesthesia and artificial respiration at Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem Tuesday evening. The rabbi underwent an operation in the early afternoon hours, and had a CT scan in the morning.
Rabbi Eliyahu collapsed Monday at his home in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem. A medical team was alerted to his home and gave him emergency aid, after which he regained consciousness and was transferred to the hospital. He underwent tests and treatments Monday but his condition did not improve.
Last Saturday night, the rabbi took part in the recitation of the traditional Selichot prayers for forgiveness at the Heichal Yaakov synagogue he heads in Kiryat Moshe.
Rabbi Eliyahu underwent a catheterization in his leg at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva in May. He felt ill several times in the recent months and underwent a series of tests at Shaarei Tzedek. Before Pesach he was released from the hospital and several days later went to his House of Study (Beit Midrash), Darchei Hora'a LeRabanim, where he gave a lesson to the yeshiva students.
"The entire world stands upon your Torah learning,” he told the students. “When you study Torah you make the world exist. America should be paying you money for this,” he encouraged them humorously, adding: “If there is no Torah there is no America.”
The rabbi's family has asked that the public pray for his well-being and return to health. His Hebrew name for that purpose is Mordechai Tzemach ben Mazal.