• January 18, 2021
  • 5 5781, Sh'vat
  • פרשת בא

INTERVIEW: Rabbi Joseph Dweck on Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

WebYeshiva.org is happy to announce a new 3-part series to be taught by Rabbi Joseph Dweck on Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s Halakhic Methodology. Rabbi Dweck, who is married to Rav Ovadia zt”l’s granddaughter, is the Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community of the United Kingdom and the Deputy President of the London School of Jewish Studies.

The course will be held Tuesdays starting January 5th at 5pm London time/7pm Israel time and will focus on the introduction to the Yabia Omer, Rav Ovadia’s multi-volume, monumental collection of responsa. In preparation for this special event, WebYeshiva spoke with Rabbi Dweck about his personal relationship with Rav Ovadia zt”l.

Knowing there is so much to say about a Gadol such as Rav Ovadia Yosef, in a few words how would you describe what it was like to be in his presence?

He was a very humble man and he made everyone comfortable around him. But at the same time there was always a tremendous reverence in his presence. For the majority of his waking hours he was at his desk reading or writing. He wrote everything by hand (exquisite handwriting) and had someone type it for publishing. He could literally sit for hours on end reading and gently flipping pages as he read teshuvot or other sefarim. He welcomed visitors with questions or business for him every morning after tefila. He walked twice a day for exercise and loved playing with his grandchildren.

What do you think is one of Rav Ovadia Yosef’s greatest contributions to halacha?

He made halacha genuinely accessible and livable for so many people. He believed in teaching and empowering the layman to live a halachically informed life. His rulings were clear, they addressed all areas of Jewish life, and they were robustly supported with a plethora of sources.

What do you think is one of Rav Ovadia Yosef’s greatest contributions to the Jewish People?

He was personable and made people feel that they had a place in Torah. He made people believe in the beauty of Torah. A lot of what he did was also from a sense of compassion. He famously ruled to allow numerous agunot to marry after the Yom Kippur war, he welcomed the Ethiopian Jews. He did countless things like that for untold individuals throughout his life.

What are your hopes for this series?

Simply that it might give a bit of a window into his thought and halachic philosophy. I believe introductions are one of the most important parts to read of any book, and often people skip them. The introduction of the Yabia Omer puts forth the motive and reasoning behind the Rav’s methodology towards a psak (ruling).

TO REGISTER FOR THIS FREE, LIVE, INTERACTIVE COURSE PLEASE VISIT: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s Halakhic Methodology

Students who cannot join live may watch or listen to the recording.

For any technical issues please contact: support@webyeshiva.org