Sabato, Haim

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Name sometimes transliterated as "Hayim"; born in Egypt.


Home—Israel. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Toby Press, P.O. Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531.


Rabbi and novelist; head of yeshiva near Jerusalem, Israel. Military service: Israeli Tank Corps, gunner during Yom Kippur War, 1973.


Sadeh Prize (Israel); Sapir Prize (Israel), 2000, for Te'um Kavanot.


Minhat Aharon: me'asaf Torani le-zikhro shel ha-Rav, [Jerusalem, Israel], 1980.

Emet me-erets titsmah/Truth Shall Spring from the Earth, Sifre ha-gag (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1997.

Ahavat Torah/Love of Torah, Yedi'ot aharonot (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2000.

Te'um Kavanot, Sifre ha-gag (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1999, translated by Hillel Halkin as Adjusting Sights, Toby Press (New Milford, CT), 2003.


Haim Sabato was born in Egypt, a descendent of several generations of rabbis living in Aleppo, Syria. When he was six years old, Sabato and his family moved to Israel, and in 1973 he served as a gunner in the Israeli Tank Corps during the Yom Kippur War. Now a rabbi leading a yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, near the city of Jerusalem, Sabato is also the author of several books. His second book Adjusting Sights, which won Israel's Sapir prize following its 1999 publication, is a fictionalized biography of Sabato's own account of war.

Adjusting Sights is not a commentary on religion or politics, and it does not proclaim to either condemn or condone acts of war. Rather it is the story of a nineteen-year-old young man and his personal accounts of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Sabato shares his first name with main character Haim, who works as a tank gunner. Haim describes the first harrowing days of warfare, interspersing these descriptions with memories from his childhood and reflections on his current circumstances. Haim is not alone in his journey however; he is lucky enough to have his childhood friend Dov around to keep him company. While growing up, the two boys were scholarly and took their religion very seriously; now, in the midst of war, Haim finds that prayer and Talmudic passages gives him the courage to face another day and the challenges yet before him. While traveling through the rolling hills of the Golan Heights Haim eventually loses contact with Dov, unaware of his friend's fate until the novel's end. The novel's title, Adjusting Sights, not only refers to Haim's technical skill in deflecting the blinding sunlight that often interferes with his ability to properly aim his tank's guns, but also his growing faculty for comprehending the meaning of loss and tragedy.

Joan Cantor, in the KBI Book Review, commented of Adjusting Sights that in his novel Rabbi Sabato "presents the Torah as a living, breathing document that can lead one through difficult decisions, even in the midst of bloody battle." Molly Abramowitz also enjoyed the novel and appreciated Sabato's ability to present the war as multifacteted. "Other characters retell the battlefield story, adding dimension to this delicate, poignant story," Abramowitz wrote in Library Journal, adding that the "classical Hebrew is artfully translated" by Hillel Halkin.



Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Molly Abramowitz, review of Adjusting Sights, p. 130.


KBI Book Review, (October 10, 2003), Joan Cantor, review of Adjusting Sites.

Toby Press Web site, (May 15, 2004), "Haim Sabato."*