Monday, Jun 17, 2024

The Rishon L’Tzion zt”l

They came from near They came from far En masse To say goodbye Nearly a million Lined the streets The throng As one Did cry

For whom, I ask

These tears are shed

From crowds nearing a million?

That ranges wide

Across spectrums

From soldier to civilian


Rabbonim who have

Spent their lives

Inside the walls of Lita

Crying with the man who sells

Falafel balls and pita


Soldiers, sailors


And children of all ages

Women, girls and rebbetzins

The ignorant and sages


They came for Rav Ovadiah

Who touched each one of them

Who saw each nefesh Yehudi

As an unpolished gem


From where had come this legacy

This genius of a man

For him the Torah was his life

His knowledge worlds would span


Indeed, it was a world

Gone by

In Bagdad born a son

Who’d shine a light

Upon his folk

And lift them up as one


They named the boy Ovadiah

And little did they know

How great in Torah he’d become

And how their son would grow


His father, Yaakov Gali

Earned prutos as a grocer

But young Ovadiah loved to learn

To the Shechinah he’d get closer


His parents could not pay for help

“Ovadiah, help!” they said

But Rav Attia said, “Just learn!

I’ll work for them instead”


Learning days, entire nights

In Porat Yosef Yeshiva

Where he sat

The Shechinah came

And lit up his whole svivah


And in his early years as rov

He saw what they endured

The Yidden from Edot Mizrach

How their souls were lured


He fought, he ran

He traveled

He truly waged a war

He would not stop until returned

Atarah leyoshnah


Not fearing from

A human soul

Outspoken from his heart

He feared not politicians

The truth he would impart


Tomes and tomes of seforim

Imbedded in his mind

Piskei halacha, thousands

Despite his being blind


Behind those darkened glasses

Were eyes that filled with light

That cried for thousands

Of lost souls

And others in their plight


Sefardim, Ashkenazim

And those who practiced naught

Somehow felt

He spoke to them

As if to them

He taught


And now the multitudes

Do cry

For the Rishon L’Tzion

And so diverse

When they’d disperse

That day, “He was our own”









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