Rabbi Haim Pinto Hagadol


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Rabbi Haim Pinto Hagadol

Rabbi Haim Pinto the Great was born in Agadir, Morocco on Tammuz 15, 5509 (July 1, 1749), on the Hilloula of Rabbi Haim Ben Attar.He was the son of the saintly and venerated Rabbi Shlomo Pinto z”l, the descendant of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto z”l, known by the name of the Rif of Ein Yaakov.

Rabbi Shlomo Pinto instructed Torah to his son, Rabbi Haim Pinto, when he was very young. Unfortunately, Rabbi Shlomo Pinto passed away in 1761, leaving behind him an orphan barely 12 years old. That same year, an earthquake completely destroyed Agadir, and numerous Jews fled and settled in Mogador (Essaouira). Rabbi Haim Pinto was to be found among the refugees.

Rabbi Haim Pinto studied Torah along with Rabbi David Ben Hazan at the yeshiva of Rabbi Yaakov Bibas, the Dayan of the city. Rabbi Haim Pinto’s reputation was so great that all Morocco resonated with accounts of his miracles and wonders, and this from his most early years.

His teacher, Rabbi Yaakov Bibas, died in 1769, and the community of the city turned to Rabbi Haim Pinto to accept the heavy responsibility of Dayan. Being but 20 years old, he finally accepted this responsibility in association with his friend, Rabbi David Ben Hazan. Rabbi Haim Pinto carried out his mandate as Head of the Rabbinic Court in an extremely firm manner, and when necessary he knew how to be very strict. The greatest Chachamim of the generation esteemed him with fear and respect, and Jews and Muslims alike venerated him. His fame spread throughout Morocco, across the Middle East, and reached all the way to Europe. Eliyahu Hanavi revealed himself regularly to Rabbi Haim Pinto and studied with him, which explains why Rabbi Haim Pinto participated in all the Brit Milas that took place in Mogador.

Rabbi Haim Pinto of blessed memory had four sons: Rabbi Yehudah (known as Rabbi Hadane), Rabbi Yossef, Rabbi Yoshiyahu, and Rabbi Yaakov. All were great Tzaddikim, devoted to Torah and to Klal Israel.

Rabbi Haim Pinto of blessed memory left this world on Elul 26, 5605 (September 28, 1845) at the age of 96. On the day of his passing, he promised his disciples that those who would invoke his name on the day of his Hilloula would see their prayers answered. May his merit protect us. Amen.

Mikhail ChapiroBorn in 1938 in Belorussia, he was captivated by painting since his early childhood. Thanks to his teachers, Peter Chernyshevsky and Boris Zvenigorodsky, the artists of great experience and talent, this endowment became his predilection, the raison d’être of his life. After 6 years of studies, he graduated from the Mukhina Institute of Arts and Industrial Design. He worked as a stylist for 7 years in the capital of Siberia, city of Novosibirsk.

He moved to Moscow in 1974 and since 1977 till 1987 he regularly exhibited in the Russia’s famous underground avant-garde centre at Malaya Gruzinskaya 28, which in 1981 became the home of his solo exhibition. Only with Perestroyka he was widely recognized in Russia. From 1988 to 1990 his paintings were exhibited at the Muscovite Modern Art Gallery MARS.

He was recognized by the intellectual elite. Great Russian ballerina Maya Plesetskaya, 3-times Olympic Champion in figure ice-skating Irina Rodnina, Nobel Prize Laureates Academicians Sakharov, Frank, Prokhorov – those are just few of the most prominent people who knew Chapiro and whose portraits he did.

In 1990 Mikhail Chapiro immigrated to Canada. He settled in Toronto and immediately joined the city’s artistic life. The “Hittite Gallery” held his solo exhibition in 1992. In 1993, he moved to Montreal, being fascinated by the singular charm of this metropolis and its people. Being highly productive, Chapiro has constantly enriched his collection with fresh subjects. In 1996 he had a solo exhibition at the Elgar community center in Verdun (a Montreal district).

While Chapiro’s themes always remained portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, animals, and flowers, his style has gradually evolved from a merely realistic formalist expression towards an unique painting technique allowing to express at best the softness and subtlety that forms the bottom line of the artist’s philosophy. Mikhail Chapiro is, by his substance, perception of the world, and even training, is a figurative, objective, realistic painter. What characterizes his painting is softness, subtlety, implicitly.

However, in some works from different periods, he had come close- and still does so today- to abstraction: mostly with his nudes and flowers, sometimes in portraiture and landscapes. Abstract painting has always fascinated him: during his Moscovite period in the Eighties, he created series of abstract compositions, which he continued once in Canada, in both Toronto and Montreal.

The rationale behind his work, what triggered him is as it has always been, asking the “What?” question-that is, he needs unequivocally an idea fuelling his creativity.
What he tells with one or another abstract work may be philosophical reflections about life, death, the good, the bad, the passage of our soul from the material world (the life on Earth) into the thin world (the soul’s life in the Cosmos); the return of our soul into material world- a sort of an infinite transfiguration-, and so on. It’s only then that he would care about the composition, texture, color, etc.

Abstract painting is for him the most interesting experiment, one of his art’s facets. Whether his paintings are realistic or abstract, his approach is equally sincere.