At the time of the passing of Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (in 2013), Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a was in Morocco. These are the words of his eulogy in honor of Rav Ovadia, whose yahrzeit fell last Friday, 3 Marcheshvan:
Rav Ovadia Yosef, ztzuk”l was Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation – “the revelation of Moshe is in every generation” (Tikkuney Zohar 69). Moshe Rabbeinu comes down in every generation anew – “Hashem caused me to be present for your sake” (Devarim 3:26), and in this generation, Moshe Rabbeinu came down in the form of Rav Ovadia Yosef ztzuk”l. He led us for more than eight years. He guided us like Moshe guided the Jewish people in the desert. Through all the wars and troubles that the Jewish people went through, Rav Ovadia Yosef guided all of us fearlessly [lit. “with a high hand”] – “and the Israelites came out with a high hand” (Shemot 14:8), like Moshe Rabbeinu guided the Jewish people fearlessly with seven clouds of glory.
Rav Ovadia raised the glory of the Jewish people, the glory of Torah. There was no question or answer which he did not know. He was the only one of this 2,000 years who was inclusive of the entire Torah, all the questions and answers, all the Talmud, all the Rishonim and Achronim. There was no line, letter, or word which he didn’t know. He was the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu mamash, like it is said about the holy Rambam, “From Moshe until Moshe, no one arose like Moshe.” From the Rambam until now, there was never such a gaon, such a person who could include the entire Torah in all its details and subtleties.
Rav Ovadia didn’t leave a letter, and not a vowel point from the holy Torah, “the revelation of Moshe is in every generation,” because it’s forbidden to believe that Rav Ovadia Yosef passed away, chas v’shalom. He is the Kohen Gadol who enters every year into the Holy of Holies. Therefore, 3 Cheshvan is mamash like Yom Kippur. Rav Ovadia ascended and entered into the Holy of Holies on high, the firmament of “Zevul,” of which the Gemara (Chagigah 12b) says that there is found the Holy Temple. And until the end of generations, until we see Eliyahu HaNavi and Mashiach ben David, Rav Ovadia will now be the Kohen Gadol who enters into the inner chamber, and Hashem chose him to atone for the iniquities of the Jewish people.
To hear the audio of Rav Berland’s eulogy (in Hebrew), click here