Prof. Marc Shapiro wrote a very interesting article on three recent biographies on Rav Ovadiah Yosef. I am a big fan of Rav Ovadiah's and Shapiro provides substance to my feelings. He has entitled the article "Mi-Yosef ad Yosef Lo Kam ke-Yosef" which after reading it I think is a very appropriate title. The article almost makes me want a full biography by Shapiro - like the one he did on the Sridei Eish - on Rav Ovadiah.
Shapiro's exaltation of Rav Ovadiah is nearly perfect until he gets to the section on comparing him to an academic scholar. I think he makes his point very well and I never really thought of it until now but Rav Ovadiah's talents would make him a very poor academic. Photographic memory and an Encyclopedic knowledge are not necessary for success in academia.
As a few of you know I don't particularly like Rabbis getting involved in politics and Rav Ovadiah is the proof text for my reasons. But, as Shapiro mentions, he got involved in politics and stayed involved because he thinks it's the right thing to do despite the fact that his name as a Rav may become tarnished. He's intelligent, committed, head strong, among a thousand other ways to describe him. I truly believe that Rav Ovadiah is the last true Gadol we have. I hope that another generation can produce a person with half the stature of Rav Ovadiah.
If you're a fan of Shapiro (like me) check it out and like wise if you're a fan of Rav Ovadiah (again, like me) check it out.
(Hat Tip: Gil)