June 12, 2024
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Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, zt”l: An Illustrious Beacon of Light

Countless individuals and families, and we amongst them, were saddened by the sudden announcement of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ death on Shabbat, 20 Cheshvan, 5781 (November 7, 2020).

We join the Sacks family, the rabbi’s family, friends, colleagues, avid students and admirers in mourning the loss of such an extraordinary Torah leader of global reputation.

Rabbi Sacks’ scope of knowledge coupled by his humanistic sensitivity to the needs of our generation distinguished him as a scholar and orator. These trademarks accompanied him ever since he assumed his role as a pulpit rabbi, and were articulately conveyed and effectively communicated to a wide and receptive audience in his ultimate role as chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth (from 1991 to 2013).

Today, as we bid farewell to Rabbi Sacks, we pay homage to an eloquent conveyor of ethics and morality whose words still echo in the halls of governments and in the chambers of human hearts throughout the world. Through his exemplary erudition and scholarship, Lord Jonathan Sacks became the confidant of princes and ministers and acclaimed colleague of non-Jewish clergy who admired his prolific talents as a philosopher, theologian, author and politician.

In an era bereft of such combined attributes, Rabbi Sacks was lauded for his uncompromising allegiance to Halacha that he proudly explicated and with which he shepherded to his congregation and led his nation and beyond. His weltanschauung was founded on convictions, ideology, values and love for mankind.

Finally, our esteemed Rabbi Sir Sacks was admirably recognized for his aristocratic demeanor and regal presence. His elegantly spoken words were sparkling literary diamonds and his written sentences were likened to strands of pearls, emeralds and rubies. An original thinker, his public lectures were scholarly, his sermons spirited and inspirational, thought provoking, speaking to the mind and the heart with reason and conscience. His essays and volumes will be studied not merely read, cited and referenced, not merely quoted.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, will be long remembered as a beacon of faith and integrity whose flame was extinguished but whose light will shine on.

May his soul be bound with the sanctified souls of the eternally living.

By Moshe Markovitz

 

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