Rabbi Haïm Pinto is known as a miracle maker. This has contributed to the spread of his reputation beyond Morocco’s borders to Europe and the Middle East.
He is a Moroccan rabbi, whose family was reportedly expelled from Andalusia and moved throughout Europe and America before settling in Morocco. He gained the respect of the Jews, as well as the Muslims. His home in the Mellah of Essaouira has become a synagogue that bears his name and his tomb has been transformed into a sanctuary to which the Jews of the world go on pilgrimage during the “Hailoula” season.
Rabbi Haïm Pinto was born in 1749 in Agadir, in a family that, over the years, has produced many Sephardic rabbis. He learned the rules of the Torah from his father, who died when he was barely 12 years old. He moved to Essaouira after the earthquake that destroyed Agadir, then he settled with one of his relatives, Rabbi Meyer Pinto, who took him in and treated him like his son.
His teacher was Rabbi Yaakov Pepas, Hebrew judge of the city of Essaouira. He inherited the post after his death, at the request of the Jewish community of Essaouira, which respected him greatly, when he was under the age of 18.
He was a rigorous judge and exercised his right without granting any rights to influential people. He preferred to live apart, locked up in his house. For this reason, he remained in his office for more than 70 years, setting a historical precedent in this area.
Haim Pinto died in 1845 at the age of 96, leaving behind him four sons, Yosef, Yoshiyahu, Yehuda and Yaakov, as well as countless followers.