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Which rabbi do the majority of sefardim follow? Or, do a majority of them not follow a single rabbi?

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2 Answers

There is no one simple answer for this; however, if you had to pick the one biggest name among Sefardi rabbis living today, that would be Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, shlit'a.

While not all Sefardim follow him all the time, his word is definitely given a great deal of weight. Is that who you had in mind?

The Shulchan Aruch (written about 450 years ago) is usually used as a framework for Halacha today. Within it, Ashkenazim usually follow the notes of R' Moshe Issreles, but Sefardim follow its primary author, R' Yosef Karo.

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Although, when R' Moshe Isserles (Rema) comes to add and not to argue, the Sefardim often go like his ruling as well. –  Yahu May 4 '10 at 18:27
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The Ben Ish Chai, or Baba Sali are referred to much more often than R. Karo. –  avi Dec 19 '11 at 7:07
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In a halachic context (check the tag on this question), it's Shulchan Aruch. R' Ovadya Yosef shlit'a has insisted that real Sephardic psak has to stem from there, and that Sephardic practice over the years has been corrupted by outside influences, including Kabbalistic ones. –  Shalom Dec 19 '11 at 14:14
    
Shalom is correct. Although the Ben Ish Hai is cited a lot, the S"A is cited much more. Also, the Baba Sali never wrote a book on Halacha (as far as I know) so I don't see how he could be quoted. –  Hacham Gabriel Dec 20 '11 at 5:09
    
Rav Ovadia Yosef is from the biggest in our generation, Sephardi or Ashkanazi. –  Yehoshua Jan 9 '13 at 22:34
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As mentioned by Shalom, Rav Ovadia would probably be called the "Sefardi rav." Other Sefardi rabbis that people also follow such as:

  • Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (who passed away very recently 1-2 years ago);
  • Rav BenSion Aba Shaul (passed away 1998);
  • Rav BenSion Musafi Shelita;
  • Rav Shelomo Amar (Sephardic Chief rabbi);
  • Rav Eliyahu Bakshi Doron (former chief Rabbi);
  • Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful (Moeset HaGedola in USA); and
  • Rav Meir Mazuz.
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Also Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful, I think.... –  msh210 Dec 19 '11 at 3:33
    
Indeed, in america, he is actually on the Moeset HaGedola. –  Hacham Gabriel Dec 19 '11 at 3:39
    
@msh210 also Rav Meir Mazuz. –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 9 '12 at 2:04
    
Rav Meir Mazuz for those that don't know is the Rosh Yeshivas of Yeshivat Cisa Rachamim in Bnei Brak. He is an unbelievable Talmud Chacham (which is an understatement!) –  Yehoshua Jan 9 '13 at 22:35
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