“Sages, be careful with your words,” states Pirkei Avot, warning that otherwise “the name of heaven will be profaned.”

Sadly, the truth of this 2,000–year–old teaching was brought home this week, with the death of former Israeli Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. His remarks on Holocaust victims, gentiles, hurricane and tsunami victims, Arabs, and leaders of other Israeli political parties drew just criticism during his lifetime, and with their inevitable repetition in obituaries and permanent enshrinement in Wikipedia, serve to tarnish the crown of Torah he sought to restore.