Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Israel news photo: Flash 90

Several Sephardic yeshivas announced Sunday that they would be canceling the summer "bein hazmanim" ("between the times") break following Rav Ovadia Yosef's instruction to do so. Rav Ovadia, the venerated sage and former Chief Sephardic Rabbi, has called for the break to be canceled in view of the current turmoil over the demand that hareidim enlist in the military in large numbers.

As Likud and Kadima prepare to legislate a new law that would place sanctions on hareidim who do not serve in the military or in alternative national service, Rav Ovadia said that "this is a time of trouble for Jacob" (Jeremiah 30:7) and therefore asked yeshiva heads to cancel the break and carry on studying Torah and praying.

“We are in deep trouble. There are those who want to lessen the honor of Torah and Torah learning,” said Rav Ovadia.

At a conference of rabbis at the Hazon Ovadia Yeshiva, it was decided that all summer activities will be canceled and that the yeshiva would maintain its regular daily study schedule.

Yeshiva graduates who serve as heads of 'kollel' yeshivas for married men have also been asked to continue studies, at least on a part-time basis.

Additional Sephardic yeshivas are expected to follow suit and cancel the break, which usually begins around the Ninth of Av and lasts about three weeks.