Tuesday, October 8, 2013


http://edition.cnn.com - Hundreds of Israelis on Monday bid an emotional farewell to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, 93, the former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel. The spiritual leader died at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital after medical complications from a stroke he suffered at the beginning of the year. Yosef was considered the leading authority in religious rulings in the realm of Jewish law.
He was revered by many Israelis, both secular and religious, in particular those of Eastern origin. This popularity led him to play a unique role in Israel's nation-building. He will be remembered for his pivotal influence in Israeli politics after he formed the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party in 1984.

Since its founding, the party has almost always been part of the governing coalition, and the rabbi had been a confidant of Israel's prime ministers. In September 1993, Shas, under Yosef's leadership, played an integral role in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's peace initiative that led to the forming of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.
He interpreted the Halakhic, or Jewish religious law, principle of Pikuach Nefesh to mean that lives that are endangered by the Arab-Israeli conflict can be saved by overruling the commandment to settle the land. His interpretation was taken as the religious endorsement of the two-state solution, which calls for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Today, Shas' political influence wanes as it sits in the political opposition.

The influential spiritual leader of Israel's Sephardic Jewish community and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party died Monday at a Jerusalem hospital. He was 93. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, wielded enormous influence among Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry but courted controversy with his outspoken views. Despite the rabbi's often sharp-tongued outbursts, he had for many years been an advocate of peace talks with the Palestinians based on his respect for the sanctity of life. We must follow the footsteps of the great saints and devotees. Within this material world one may become a brilliant intellectual, a powerful politician, a philanthropist, a great businessman or an admired pop star. But ultimately all of this is useless and one has to return to birth and death in these material realms. Even those engage in the spiritual paths, have to understand about the higher purpose in life. It doesn't matter whether one is a karmi, jnani, yogi, or whatever; spiritual search will not be successful unless one has developed love for the lotus feet of the Lord. (Editor's note).

Real spiritual life is not necessarily about changing our position in society. It is about transforming our hearts. One can be in business, in education, a mother or father, a farmer, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a politician. One can even be a swami. But when we overcome selfishness and learn the beauty and art of selflessness - seva or selfless service - spirituality is meant to transform arrogance into humility, greed into generosity, vengeance into forgiveness, hate into love, criticism into appreciation, hopeless into hopefulness - it is meant to transform us into becoming instruments of the inner peace that is in our heart with God. That is the real journey home. The journey of transformation, of understanding that there is a power beyond our own, the power of God that can enthuse us, inspire us and empower us to be real instruments of change.

Śrīla Radhanath Swami Mahārāja :
“Interview with Joshua Greene”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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