Funeral of Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron

Former Rishon Lezion was laid to rest in the Har Hamenuchot cemetery, Jerusalem.

Hezki Baruch ,

Funeral of Rabbi Bakshi Doron
Funeral of Rabbi Bakshi Doron
Yehonatan Waltzer, TPS

Former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, who passed away on Sunday evening after being hospitalized with coronavirus, was laid to rest on Monday morning at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. He was 79 years old.

The funeral was held in the presence of a limited number of mourners, in adherence to Health Ministry regulations and in coordination with the police. Only the immediate family of the rabbi along with a few senior rabbis attended; prior to the funeral, family members appealed to the public not to attempt to reach the cemetery.

President Reuven Rivlin spoke at the funeral, saying: "I heard with great distress of the passing of the Rishon Lezion (Sephardic Chief Rabbi - ed.), the great Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron. Rabbi Bakshi Doron was a tremendous Torah scholar who felt a deep sense of responsibility for all of the Jewish people. He was a rabbi, a father, and a spiritual guide to Jewish communities in Israel and also in the Diaspora, someone who ‘returned the hearts of the fathers to their sons, and the hearts of the sons to their fathers’ and brought Jews closer to their heritage."

Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau said: "With great sadness we are standing by the coffin of our teacher and rabbi, who we merited to be close to and to see as a father, educator, and trailblazer for Israel's rabbis and rabbinic judges."

"Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, from the day he left the study hall continued on to become the rabbi of Bat Yam, bringing people closer to their Father in heaven. From there he continued to Haifa, headed the rabbinical court, educated people, and became the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. And from there he went on to spread Torah in Israel and the Diaspora. He was the rabbi of rabbis, and even after his departure he continued to raise Torah scholars to become Torah scholars."

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef broke into tears as he mourned Rabbi Doron: "May G-d have mercy on us and comfort us, may He put an end to our suffering and stop the plague. Our Father, our King, prevent plagues from harming Your children. Stand before the Holy One and beg him to allow us to return to our synagogues and study halls," he concluded.

Former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Meir Lau eulogized Rabbi Bakshi via the telephone: "This is a very difficult day. I am sorry for you, my brother. You were a very pleasant person." Recalling when he had served parallel to Rabbi Bakshi in the Chief Rabbinate, he said: "We stood as a strong wall, 'each man shall help his friend, and strengthen his brother.' We went through ten very difficult years which saw the murder of [former Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin, and violence from all sides. It was very difficult."

Jerusalem's Rabbi Shlomo Amar said: "Our teacher, Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef] was taken from us a few years ago, and we saw him as a great and strong leader. And now, [Rabbi Bakshi] as well has been taken suddenly. To who will I cry and bang my fist? He was like the Tablets of the Torah. Master of the world - look and see! We have no one to lead us."

Last night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the loss of the former Chief Rabbi: "I am anguished – together with the entire Jewish people – at the passing of the Rishon Lezion, former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron. I send my deepest condolences to his distinguished family and his many students."

"Rabbi Bakshi Doron was an important link in the Torah chain of Chachmei Sefarad (the Torah leaders of Sephardi Jewry). His exceptional proficiency in [Torah wisdom] blended with his noble character traits. He related to everyone with such warmth and made everyone feel welcome.

"Rabbi Bakshi Doron served as a spiritual guide for all of the Jewish communities in Israel and abroad. I met with him on many occasions and was always impressed by his warm personality. To him, the Torah of Israel was a Torah of life. His essence was one of understanding, tolerance, and love for the people and the state.

"To our great distress, Rabbi Bakshi Doron contracted the coronavirus and the best efforts of the doctors to save him were unsuccessful. Woe to us who have lost him. His memory will remain forever engraved in all our hearts."