BDE: Rav Shimon Baadani Z"L, 95, Co-founder of Shas, Leader of Mo’etzet Chachmei haTorah
By: BZ Green
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Rav Shimon Baadani, widely seen as the most senior sage of the Sephardic community in Eretz Yisroel, returned his soul to its Maker at the age of 95. He had been unwell in recent months.
He served as the leader not only of the Shas party, but also as the de facto leader of numerous mosdos and institutions—including many yeshivos and kolelim—affiliated with the Sephardic community of Eretz Yisroel.
He was born to a Yemenite immigrant family to Eretz Yisroel in 1928, and went to learn in the Novaradoker yeshiva in Yerushalayim, where Rav Elozor Shach was Rosh Yeshiva. After several years, he transferred to Yeshivat Porat Yosef, led by the Rosh Yeshiva Rav Ezra Attias.
He lived a life of simplicity, out of the limelight, even as he had an outsized impact on the Sephardic Torah world. He sat and learned with great diligence for most of his life, and he assumed the mantle of leadership of the Mo’etzet Chachmei haTorah following the passing of its previous leader, Rav Shalom Cohen.
Rav Shimon was known—in addition to his Torah scholarship and his meticulousness with mitzvos—to expend great sums to the needy, usually out of his own pocket. He lived this exalted life for 95 years, until his sad passing today.
The Klal was asked to refrain from work during the time of the Levaya out of respect for the great niftar. The Levaya took place Wednesday afternoon with the participation of tens of thousands.
Rav Shimon was brought to kevurah in Bnei Brak.