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.