Tuesday, September 06, 2016

We Mourn the Death of Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She'ar Yashuv Z"L

Boruch Dayan HaEmet.  Blessed be the True Judge.  We mourn the death of Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She'ar Yashuv, at the age of 89. Here is a link to the Jerusalem Post obituary.  He was the Chief Rabbi of Haifa from 1975 until 2011. However, to me, the most interesting era of his life was 1948-49, when he fought with the Irgun.  Wounded in the battle for the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which was besieged by the Jordanian Arab Legion and Palestinian militias, he and his fellow defenders surrendered when the Old City fell, and he became a prisoner of war in Jordan at the age of 20.  He was put in charge of the religious needs of his fellow 600 prisoners. As related by Rabbi She'ar Yashuv to Jerusalem Post columnist Liat Collins, one of his fellow prisoners, Yosef Blustein, was impressed with how he handled the diverse population of prisoners, who ranged from the secular to the ultra-Orthodox.  When Blustein later became Deputy Mayor of Haifa, he recommended Rabbi She'ar Yashuv for the post of Chief Rabbi of Haifa.   “If I hadn’t been a prisoner of war, I wouldn’t have become a chief rabbi,” he said of his experience.

The name "She'ar Yeshuv" means "a remnant will return." In the Book of Isaiah, it is the name of the son of the prophet, and symbolizes the hope for the return of the Jewish people to their land after their long exile.  Rabbi She'ar Yeshuv's life symbolized the miracle of the return from exile that we have merited to witness in our lifetime.  May his memory be for a blessing. May he be a righteous advocate for the People of Israel before the Holy One, Blessed be He. 


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