MK Nissim Ze'ev of Shas, one of the party's founders, is optimistic about the party's future, despite the passing of its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ztz”l.
Some analysts have been saying that after the passing of Rabbi Ovadia, Shas is bound to splinter because it will lack his unifying guidance. MK Ze'ev sees things quite differently.
"Righteous men, upon their death, are said to be alive,” he quoted from the Talmud. “The spirit of our teacher and rabbi will continue to accompany us for many more generations.
“We saw, yesterday, that there were no politics at the funeral. The entire Torah world was united there. Shas is a spiritual movement led by the great sages of Israel, a spiritual leadership without politics. It will continue to guide us in the light of Maran [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef],” he determined.
Ze'ev was referring to the Council of Sages that Rabbi Yosef presided over, and which will continue to be Shas's spiritual leadership.
MK Nissim, who knew Rabbi Ovadia for 50 years, said that that rabbi was “Abraham the Patriarch of our generation.”
"He was a living Torah book. The leader of Judaism in the Land of Israel and in the world, really a light unto the world,” he said. “Many wanted to come to the funeral from abroad, and if we had held the funeral today instead of yesterday, there would have been two million and not a million attending.”
MK Ze'ev says that the idea of establishing Shas was born after a conversation he had with the rabbi in 1982. “We wanted the Sephardim to have a spiritual leadership like the hassidim and the Lithuanians,” he explained. “We also wanted a Council of Torah Sages and we wanted Rabbi Ovadia to be its president. It came to fruition in 1983.”