Leading and famous members of the Moroccan elite from Casablanca, including government officials, diplomats, businessmen, academics and clerics, participated in a special event organized by the Chief Rabbi of Morocco, Admur Rabbi Yochiyahu Pinto chlita. During the event, the Rabbi emphasized the strong bond that exists between Jews and Moroccans.
Historic moments were filmed recently at the home of the Moroccan Grand Rabbi in Casablanca during a gathering of prominent Moroccan personalities and members of the Moroccan elite to receive the blessings of the Jewish sage.
Casablanca, located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, is the largest city in Morocco and has the largest seaport in the country. It is home to the ancient Jewish Mellah and the Jewish cemetery, Mera. It is also the city with the largest Jewish community in the country today.
Approximately two years ago, the Rabbi Yochiyahu Pinto chlita established a Yeshiva here, which has grown over the years. Some of his students now serve as Heaven-fearing ritual slaughterers, providing kosher meat with impeccable kashruth to the entire country.
The Admur’s efforts in support of the country’s Jews and Morocco in general have created a great Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of the Divine Name). Following this, members of Casablanca’s elite have wished to be blessed by the Rabbi and to listen to his wise words.
During the meeting, which took place at the Rabbi’s home, the Rabbi emphasized the deep relationship between the Jews of Morocco and the local population.
It is worth noting that a week ago, Rabbi Pinto made an exclusive visit to Fez. A city well known in the Jewish history of Morocco as the home of the Rambam, who was admired by the Jewish and Muslim inhabitants of the city. The name of the Rambam was also mentioned by the founders of the great Muslim university of Fez, Al Qarawiyin, which is considered to be of great importance in the Muslim world in general and in North Africa in particular.
The city of Fez is considered the spiritual capital of Morocco, where the spiritual leaders of Islam reside, heading the most important Islamic institution in the Muslim world. They are the ones who wished to pay a visit to the Rabbi of Morocco, Rabbi Yochiyahu Pinto.
These men said they had heard a lot about the Pinto family, as a very respected family in Moroccan Judaism, and expressed their excitement to meet the Rabbi.
At the summit of the visit, meetings in a restricted circle with the Rav were organized with the president of Al Qarawiyin University, Mr. Amal Jalal of Fez, Mr. Mouhamad Adiouane, vice-president of Al Qarawiyin University, the representative of the region of Fez and the wilaya of Fez, as well as other personalities.
This event was filmed by the Muslim media, which said that this meeting took place with the directors of a major university, housing the largest Islamic library in the Muslim world. These leading figures of the Muslim religion praised the Rav as a representative of the wisdom of Judaism.
During his meeting with the elite leaders of Casablanca, the Rabbi spoke about the significance of this period for Jews. Referring to the special period of the Omer, the Rabbi concluded, “We would like to say a few words to our friends here in Morocco. I lived for many years in Eretz Yisrael, and then for twenty years in America, and I did a lot of work. Our community is great and holy and has many merits. Today, this community is strong in terms of Halakhot, in terms of its method of study, in terms of its Jewish vision of life, and is part of the most important Sephardic movement, which can be compared to the great Ashkenazi communities. This is a way of understanding, of acts of kindness, of studying the Torah and of helping others. It is a path followed by people who are open-minded and very involved in the community in all areas.
Last Pesach, our community distributed over five million dollars of Tzedakah (Charity) to the needy around the world. During this Ramadan season, we shall also be raising money for our Muslim brothers. We cannot discriminate by giving only to Jews and not to Muslims. We live in the same place; we will organize the same fund raising for the Muslims.
We say to all our dear friends in Morocco: you have been a compassionate and merciful host to the Jews for 2400 years. Now it is our opportunity as Jews to express our gratitude and return the favor for these two thousand four hundred years of your kindness.
When I was a child, there was a colored rubik’s cube in Israel, the purpose of which was to arrange the sides in solid colors. For two years now, here in Morocco, we have been trying to manipulate the cube… so that each color is on a different side of the cube. We know the faculties present in the community, we understand the needs of Morocco, and we are waiting to be able to arrange the cube as well as possible.
We have Yeshivot all over the world, in Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, Paris, Israel, New York, Brooklyn and Queens, South America, but here in Morocco there is something special. I pray to God that all the residents of this country will reach a high standard and bring satisfaction to God.
I pray to God with all my heart that He will see the Torah that I am studying and all the difficult trials that I am going through with my health, all the acts of kindness that I am doing, and that He will grant the requests of each one of us and give each one of us all the blessings possible.
I feel that my heart is full of goodness and here in Morocco, people are very kind; this country is a generous land. May God bless his majesty the king, an intellectual and a good man.