- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Those of Jewish faith and heritage have a religious duty to personally visit with President Obama during his trip to Israel, says one notable rabbi. He is, after all, a “kind of king in our time,” Rabbi Ovadia Yosef says, in statements translated and reported by the Blaze.

Rabbi Yosef’s statements come in context to a reply he gave students who wanted to know how they should act during Mr. Obama’s visit to the nation, the Blaze says. The rabbi called it a “mitzvah,” or good deed and religious duty, to try to personally attend one of Mr. Obama’s stops.

He also said via a Maariv report translated by the Blaze: The president is regarded as a king in our time who “can declare war on an enemy state” and who “has the authority to pardon those sentenced to death.” Those lucky enough to be able to visit with the president should say a specific blessing of thanks, called “Gives dignity to flesh and blood.” The rabbi said that blessing should only be said by those who visit Mr. Obama in person — and not by those who see him on television.

The rabbi also said, via the translation from the Blaze, that the special blessings also apply to first lady Michelle Obama. Anyone who visits with her in person should also give the special thanks, he said, as the Blaze reported.

The Blaze reports the rabbi is a former Sephardic chief rabbi in Israel.

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