Despite Fraud Conviction, Rabbi Pinto Appointed Chief Rabbi of Morocco [VIDEO & PHOTOS]

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The head of the Shuvu Yisrael Institute, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, was crowned by representatives of the King of Morocco as the Chief Rabbi of the Muslim State. In a traditional ceremony held in the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, with the participation of representatives of the Jewish community, the rabbi was dressed in the traditional religious garb.

Over the past few years the rabbi has visited Morocco several times, delivering Shiurim and giving Chizuk to the Jewish community, as well as addressing Kashrus issues. Rabbi Pinto also met with members of the royal family, who were reportedly impressed with his rabbinical lineage.

Rabbi Pinto served ten months in an Israeli prison which was a part of a plea bargain agreement in a bribery trial. It is interesting to note, that Pinto initially stated “If I have bribed anyone I am willing to remove my fedora and from now on, I am not a rav.” A short time later, he pled guilty to bribery, and was sentenced to prison.

He admitted to his actions, offering a $200,000 bribe to Menashe Arbiv, the former Commander of Israel Police’s 433 Unit (known as Israel’s FBI) – in exchange for information pertaining to the Israel Police and FBI investigations against him. In light of his confession, the court convicted Rabbi Pinto of charges including attempted bribery and obstruction of justice.

Rabbi Pinto kept his word, and removed his fedora, and instead replaced it with a cap. He did continue being a Rav, and opened a Shul in Manhattan, where he continues sharing his Kabbalistic wisdom to people, many of whom continue to shower him with large sums of money.

Years ago, NBA superstar player LeBron James paid Pinto six figures to sit in on a merchandising meeting on a yacht somewhere off the coast of New York.

Rabbi Pinto has tried to get accepted by the mainstream Chareidi community, and has donated large sums of money to the Peleg Yerushalmi. Pinto met with the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg, as well as Hagaon Harav Elya Ber Wachfogel and made hefty donations to the Peleg causes.

Rabbi Pinto’s father, HaRav Chaim Pinto, serves as rav of Ashdod and Kiryat Malachi and has maintained a connection with the royal family in Morocco over the past decades.

Rabbi Pinto replaces the late HaGaon HaRav Aharon Monsonego ZT”L, who was niftar on 26 Menachem Av last year. Due to his wife’s illness, as well as his own, Rav Monsonego moved to Israel about a decade ago, leaving a void in Morocco.

In 1948, on the eve of the War of Independence, there were about 265,000 Jews living in Morocco, and it was the largest Jewish community in North Africa. Pogroms began that same year and there were various attacks on the Jews of Morocco, following which about 67,000 Jews left. From the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until 1967, more than 250,000 members of Moroccan Jewry emigrated to the State of Israel. Many others emigrated to France and North America. Today, only 2,500 Jews live in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca, a remnant of this large community.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




27 COMMENTS

  1. This proves that the title Chief Rabbi is not worth the ink it is written with. He is not the first past, present, or future chief rabbi to have been convicted of crimes.

  2. It is a rather unusual move to appoint someone so ill with cancer to the post of Chief Rabbi, as one would hope a Chief Rabbi is in best of health to remain in the post for decades.

  3. The next time you about one of your idols like “President Shimon Peres” don’t forget to paraphrase “Despite being a mechalel shaboss and ouchel nevelos utreufos, that the shulchon oruch paskens malin vlo moridin”

  4. I am not Moroccan, I went for a Bracha during a difficult period. It was obvious to me that the Rabbi was a very good person surrounded by a den of thieves. I still believe that today.

  5. You guys are messed up. Who did he fraud? You trust the Israeli government to declare fraud on a Rabbi? The Baal hatanya also went to jail. Rubashkin ( who I love) gets all the love in the world by yidden (as he should) despite his convictions. This Rav is a huge tzadik and talmid chochom. You guys are seriously sick.

  6. It’s so sad to see how people will just jump at conclusions just because YWN writes in their headline “Despite fraud convictions”. YWN has you guys in their pocket and they know how to make you believe exactly what they want you to believe. Instead of being so naive maybe try thinking for yourselves. Do you guys even know anything about Rav Pinto besides for what YWN tells you? Do you personally know any of his talmidim? Are you personally familiar with any of his organizations? Do you even know the circumstances of his conviction and specifically what he was convicted for? If you look a little deeper you might start to question YWN’s propeganda and presentation of the facts.

  7. Moshe222 The Chazon Ish in the beginning of Yorah deah Paskens that there is no din moridin vlo malin Bezman Hazeh
    Also although Shimon Peres Grandfather was frum his parents were not so according to the Rambam in Hilchos Mammrim that would be considered a Tinuk shnishba so he would have all the dinim of a regular yid in terms of pekuach Nefesh etc. That Chazon Ish also brings down this rambam Lehalacha.

    In addition R’ Meller is his authoritative Biography of R’ Chaim Brisker says that R’ Chaim was Noheg based on a shita Mekubetzes in Bava Kama that even a full fledged known Mummar Lehachis has regular dinim of Hatzolah until there is an actual Psak Bais din that paskens to give him a din of moridin vlo malin so there would be no such din Nowadays

  8. I think the retelling of the whole story of his recent troubles, isnt right.

    We dont know all the facts and pleading guilty is not a sign of guilt and he did Teshuva.

    So why go through it again.

  9. Thank you for publishing this.

    YWN has been covering these fakes like Berland and Pinto for ages. And YWN better keep on doing it. This is 100% litoeles and not even a question of a shred of lashon hara.

    This man is a fraud.

    Do you think the holy Baba Sali (his grandfather) would have EVER EVER EVER met with Lebron James on a multi-million dollar yacht to hold his hand and tell him business advice based on “kabbalah”?!

    Hopefully, more people will stay away from this faker.

    The kabbalah Center in California has good mekubalim as well, like Madonna and the rest of them.

  10. This fraudster admitted to bribing – a serious Torah violation. Rubashkin did not commit a crime, not a single one! Besides, this fraudster owes people money! He was maafkir his children – he looks holy when in fact he’s holey!

  11. Headline reeks of cynicism and ridicule tab pinto is not in the same catagory as…these comments will hurt the morrocan Yiden who’s leaders obviously felt this is the best replacement. As far as donating big sums to Peleg very hard to believe . The meeting w satmar was for a totally different reason

  12. unbelievable how ywn is the deciding factor in establishing whose a gad and whose not the guy that owns it is a chaufffeur /wagon driver when he’s not busy posting his nonsense and his opinions online

  13. There are quite serious issues with Kabbalah Maasis. Virtually all of the Gedolei Yisroel of the current and past several generations were wary of this and banned it. When we see anyone marketing Kabbalistic powers, we must seek advice of our Gedolim, not fall for the marketing via advertisements in many of frum circulars. If someone truly possessed such gadlus, no marketing would be needed. There would not be any expectation of financial remuneration. This is not what the chassidishe or litvishe gedolim did, and the comparison is unwarranted.

  14. YWN seem anti sefardim
    one should be very careful when reporting about holy Rabonim in a derogatory manor
    It seems nothing has changed in 1000 years
    they burnt the RAMBAM’S
    seforim too!

  15. I am embarrassed of having anything to do with this website.

    All the article needed to say, was that Rabbi Pinto was appointed as chief Rabbi of Morocco.
    I don’t know who runs this website, but to allow this kind of negative portraying article to be published publicly is horrible.
    Who do you think you are to write and/or allow publishing of such disgusting words against another Jew, It felt like I was reading the same horrible, tainting press of a liberal newspaper trying to portray the Jews in the worst light possible.

    I have personal accounts with this Rabbi and know him to be a holy Yid.

    It is so scary that a “frum” Jew can be spreading negative words and feelings about another Yid, especially a Rabbi that is mekarev hundreds and hundreds of Yidden.
    Does the editor or publisher have Rabbanim that he consults with. I doubt that any Rav would allow this article, and price of punishment for this is scary. Unless I hear that theyeshivaworld has retracted and become a frum proper environment, I will try to stay far away from this site of pig filth.

  16. As several commenters have noted here, nothing about Rav Pinto has been ascertained in a halachic beis din. I think the best we can say — if indeed we have to say anything — is that we don’t know for sure what happened vis a vis the various charges of which the rav has been accused.
    I believe the Chofetz Chaim in his sefer deals with these sorts of situations.
    Since this is an issue that often arises, how about asking Rabbi Yair Hoffman to publish a halachic overview of the laws of lashon hara in the context of today’s media and news reporting?

  17. When will YWN stop being biased against Rabonim. It doesn’t take much to be convicted of crimes in Israel. All you need is the title “Rabbi” attached to your name and be successful in kiruv rechokim to get non-religious youngsters to join yeshiva instead of joining the army. How long will YWN continue to buy the lies of the fake-news anti religious Israeli media and the most warped justice system in the world? When will a drop of yiras shomayim drip in to thier news articles? Lashon Hara and motzei Shem ra is fire especially when dealing with talmidei chachamim. Please save yourselves and the thousands who read your stories. Do teshuva, and think with a torah mind before pasting an “innocent” title or headline about other Jews especially talmidei chachamim. All the Rabbonim in Israel already came out in support of Rav Berland and Rav Pinto. Stop promoting the lies.

  18. Stop the LH about LH. There is a serious issue here. No, I do not need to know about the aveiros that someone else does, and that falls into the discussion about LH. Here, there is someone masquerading as a holy man while engaging in things that are worse than questionable. The fact that money is involved is testimony that the “holiness” is an act. Sorry, but we need to have our emunas chachomim in those who do not have other motives. This man has not been followed by enemies that are obsessed with destroying him. He is followed by scandal. That’s not a holy man. We, the public, need to be warned away from him. We should feel quite badly for those who are in the position of looking up to him, regardless of how much data he has learned, when his behavior has not made the grade for being strictly adhering to Torah values.

  19. Has anyone asked any poskim if it’s mutar to use this evil website (ywn). I’m gonna ask today. This is unbelievable. ” Despite fraud conviction” was sickos.

  20. ocho:

    If you are so into the lashon horah issue, you have surely studied it to know some of the basic halachos. Try this one on, maybe, just maybe you might remember it. The aveiroh of lashon horah is on the speaker for speaking it and on the listener for listening to it. Any recall?

    If you believe this site is so evil, why do you come here to read its articles? You should simply enter YWN into the list of sites that your filter (assuming you have one) blocks. It should be as bad to you as schmutz. Just block it. If you choose to come here to read articles and comments on this evil site, you have your own issur to deal with. Block it.

  21. @Loshenhora
    Please don’t make such strawman argument as I am a Morrocoan Jew from Meknes where we merited holy families like the Messas, Berdugo, and Toledano. Yeshiva world news is being truthful. Even more so do not compare the Rambam to this Rabbi. Rav Avraham Ben HaRambam in Sefer HaMaspik Leovdei Hashem says that you cannot take money from corrupt people. Not to say that this Rabbi is bad but our chief Rabbi not long before this was Rabbi Shalom Messas (Before he became chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim.) It is a dark day to have someone who is supposed to be the epitome of justice and take over Rav Messa’s mantel be someone who himself admitted that he is not a Rabbi anymore.

    Regardless if he is guilty or not it is not up to us to judge who he is but externally this cannot be ignored especially since he admitted it himself. Bezrat Hashem may the honor of Morrocoan Hachamim be restored to true Sadikim like the Rambam.

  22. @Rambam655
    Did not mean to offend

    Fact is the Rabbi’s of every generation are a reflection of the people
    NOT MY WORDS
    One has to be careful about what one says about anyone but more so about a Talmud chochom
    Kovod Hatora …
    Is it true that before Moshiach the Rabbi’s will lead us like a dog who walks ahead but keeps looking back to see if it’s going the right way …

    So Moshiach is very nearly here