Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Regains Full Consciousness, Lays Tefillin

Shas spiritual leader remains in intensive care unit in serious to critical condition.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef regained full consciousness Wednesday and a marked improvement was recorded in his condition, a week and a half after he was hospitalized at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

Yosef's doctor confirmed reports that the rabbi put on tefillin Wednesday morning, and sources close to the rabbi said he even managed to recite the prayer for tefillin himself before they were wrapped around his arms and laid on his head.

The 93-year-old spiritual leader of Shas was put on a respirator and sedated nine days ago. While the sedatives have gradually been withdrawn over the past few days, the rabbi remains connected to a respirator in the hospital’s intensive care unit, and his condition is still listed as serious to critical.

Prof. Dan Gilon, the cardiologist treating Yosef, told reporters in his daily briefing that “the rabbi’s condition is, in general, still described as serious, but compared to yesterday and recent days we see an improvement.”

Gilon added that “while the rabbi is sleeping a lot, he is fully conscious. He is still on a respirator but the breathing assistance he is receiving has been considerably reduced. Despite the general condition of an elderly man with illnesses, there has been a degree of improvement that extends beyond the delicate improvements of the past two or three days.”

Gilon stressed, however, that Yosef is still at a stage of high risk, is still undergoing dialysis and is on a pacemaker.

“The rabbi is aware of much of what is going on around him, and the level of consciousness he reached today is good and marks a significant improvement in what has been thus far,” Gilon added. “We will continue to try and do things right, in particularly to be very patient.”

Michal Fattal