Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, died on Monday morning at age 91.

Cohen was hospitalized a few days earlier, and his condition continued to deteriorate. Prayers were held for his recovery throughout Sunday.

Thousands attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Cohen was the head of the prestigious Porat Yosef yeshivah, and for the past eight years, since the passing of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, headed the faction and its Council of Torah Sages.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid eulogized Cohen, saying “on behalf of the government of Israel and the entire people of Israel, I send my condolences to his family, his students and all those who honor his memory. Our strength is in our unity. ‘May the All-Merciful One shelter him with the cover of his wings forever, and bind his soul in the bond of life.’ May his memory be a blessing.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog wrote: “Along with his greatness in Torah, he was a spiritual leader who humbly and modestly led a large and important public in Israel and the Jewish world. … In every meeting with him, I saw his love and deep connection to Jerusalem, and how we cared about the people and individuals at all times. My condolences to his family, the Shas Party, his loved ones and his students.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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