Israel mourns passing of spiritual leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen

“Along with his greatness in the Torah, he was a spiritual leader who humbly and modestly led a large and important public in Israel and the Jewish world,” President Isaac Herzog stated.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel’s leadership issued announcements of grief and mourning following the passing of Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas political party.

Cohen, 90, passed away early Monday morning after several days of hospitalization for an infection in his leg. He replaced Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as Shas’ spiritual leader in 2013. He was a member of the party’s leadership from its founding in 1984.

Shas is an Ultra-Orthodox religious political party that primarily represents Sephardic and Mizrahi ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri announced, “With a heart-stricken with shock and grief, our father, our teacher and our leader, the President of the Council of Sages of the Torah, the elder of the generation, Hacham Shalom Cohen, left us in a storm to the Heavens.”

“Woe to the world that has lost its leader and woe to the ship that has lost its captain. Baruch Dayan HaEmet [Blessed is the True Judge].”

“Along with his greatness in the Torah, he was a spiritual leader who humbly and modestly led a large and important public in Israel and the Jewish world,” President Isaac Herzog stated.

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“We met many times, and I am sorry that this year I will not get to keep the tradition and visit him in his sukkah. In every meeting with him, I saw his love and deep connection to Jerusalem, and how he made sure to always place before his eyes the people and the individual. My condolences to his family, the Shas Party, his loved ones, and his students.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated: “On behalf of the Israeli government and the entire Israeli people, I send my condolences to his family, his students and all those who honor his memory. Our strength is in the unity of the Jewish people.”

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “deeply mourns, along with the entire House of Israel, the passing of the President of the Council of Torah Sages, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, a righteous man.”

“Rabbi Cohen was one of the Torah giants of our generation. He had tremendous knowledge of the world of the Torah, along with Torah and social leadership that influenced masses of Jews and Israelis. After the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Cohen continued his path as president of the Council of Torah Sages and as a beacon of guidance to which all turned their eyes.”

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“Rabbi Cohen was an enormous scholar who never stopped learning and teaching, keeping and doing. The love of the Torah pulsed in him together with the love of the people. The people of Israel have lost an arbiter of Halacha, a guide for many and a public messenger of the first order. A great leader has departed from us,” he said.