Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia YosefIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Former Chief Rabbi and current spiritual head of the Shas Party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is to undergo an operation for an ear problem on Thursday. Members of the Rabbi's inner circle assured the public that the operation was not a serious one, and that Rabbi Yosef is expected to return home later Thursday, after several hours of recovery in the hospital. The public was asked to pray for the health of Ovadia ben Georgia.

The elderly sage, considered by many to be one of the top Halachic authorities in the world, will undergo the operation at Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. In recent months, he has complained of pains in his ear, and after consultation with physicians, it was recommended he undergo the operation.

An Israel Prize winner for his writings on Jewish law, Rabbi Yosef has been one of the most influential figures in religious life in Israel for over five decades, for both Sephardim and Ashkenazim. He is also well-known for his sharp tongue, which, despite his advanced age and his medical situation, was much in evidence Saturday night, when Rabbi Yosef called leftists “angels of harm” at his weekly lecture in Jerusalem.

The lecture, which Rabbi Yosef has been giving for decades, generally discusses matters of Jewish law, holidays, and moral issues, and on occasion, he has been known to insert a sharply-worded criticism or comment on issues of the day. Speaking about the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Yosef referred to the judgement of G-d that takes place on that day, and during the period leading up to Yom Kippur. A person is judged on their actions, he said; “to the right of the person is an angel, which attests to the person's good deeds, bringing him to reward, and to their left is also an angel, who attests to their bad deeds and the punishment they deserve.

“Here too, we have such angels,” the Rabbi said. “We have leftists, and they are all angels of destruction. We also have angels to the right; these are individuals who fear heaven and observe the Torah. Thus, we must all try to choose the angels on the right,” he continued, making a political reference to right-wing parties. “The right is the correct choice – but not the Likud.”

Rabbi Yosef, who was born in Iraq in 1920, will celebrate his 92nd birthday Friday.

Editor's Note:Rav Ovadia is safely out of surgery and is said to be recovering at the hospital before being released to his home this evening.