More tributes to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

November 8, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Further tributes to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks have been made by the New Zealand Jewish community and Israeli leaders.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Lord Sacks passed away on Saturday at the age of 72.

Juliet Moses, spokesperson for The New Zealand Jewish Council, told J-Wire:   “The Council in mourning the incalculable untimely loss of Rabbi Lord Sacks, recalls the Māori proverb “Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane”.

It means “The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane”.

The totara is a huge native tree that grows for centuries. Its greatness is a metaphor for someone of immense stature and dignity.

Rabbi Sacks was an inspirational leader, thinker, orator, and voice of moral clarity and wisdom, whose impact reached far beyond the Jewish community, to persons of other faiths, and of no faith.  We were blessed to live in his lifetime, but his legacy will endure for centuries.
While we feel his passing as a deep, personal loss, our thoughts are with Lady Elaine and his family.”

Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, stated he was “saddened to learn” of the passing of Rabbi Sacks.

He eulogized him as “a spiritual and moral Jewish leader and a dear friend. A proud Jew and ardent Zionist.”

Rabbi David Stav, a leading Israeli rabbi, recalled two ideas Rabbi Sacks shared with him during their meetings.

“When he heard about my mother’s death, he told me that when his mother died one of the undertakers asked him how old she was. Rabbi Sacks responded what he replied, and the undertaker responded: ‘When a mother dies, she is always too young.’”

The second idea was as a concept on Kaddish, during which one beseeches God for mercy “on Israel and on the sages … they will have grace and kindness and mercy.”

“Rabbi Sachs asked: why should one ask God to give mercy to sages? He replied with wit and humour, that this is a text intended for certain rabbis in our generation who sometimes seem to have lost the mercy for those who come before them. From here he went on to talk about the importance of helping immigrants prove their Jewishness out of compassion and empathy,” Rabbi Stav recalled.

Rabbi Sacks “was one of the most prominent moral voices of this generation. And really, the strong feeling is that he left us too young.”

Rabbi Sacks was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.

Rabbi Sacks wrote some 20 books on Jewish thought and broader issues of religion and morality.


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