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Pinto, Josiah ben Joseph


PINTO, JOSIAH BEN JOSEPH (1565–1648), talmudist and kabbalist. Born in *Damascus, Pinto was for the major part of his life rabbi in Damascus, but went to Jerusalem about 1617. In 1625 he decided to settle in Safed, but when his son died in the following year, he returned to Damascus. His teacher in subjects other than Kabbalah was Jacob *Abulafia, who ordained him. In Kabbalah he adhered closely to the system of Ḥayyim *Vital whose son, Samuel, was his pupil and subsequently married his daughter.

Pinto is best known for his Me'or Einayim (part 1, Amsterdam, 1643; part 2, Mantua, 1743), a commentary on Ein Ya'akov of Jacob *ibn Ḥabib. He also wrote Kesef Nivḥar (Damascus, 1605), sermons on the weekly scriptural readings; part 2, entitled Kesef Mezukkak (Venice, 1628), sermons and explanations of unusual rabbinic comments on scriptural passages; Kesef Ẓaruf (ibid., 1629) on the Book of Proverbs; Nivḥar mi-Kesef (Aleppo, 1869), responsa. Some of his responsa were in a manuscript of the responsa of his son-in-law, Samuel *Vital, which was in the possession of Ḥ.J. Michael, while others were published in the responsa of Yom Tov *Ẓahalon (Venice, 1694). Some, which he wrote in 1646, were published in the Yad Aharon, part 1 (Smyrna, 1735), of Aaron *Alfandari. His Kesef Nimas, on Lamentations, and Kevuẓot Kesef, on the laws of marriage and the civil laws in the Shulḥan Arukh, are in manuscript. Joseph *Delmedigo mentions a biblical commentary by Pinto entitled Kesef To'afot.


M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1938), 552–3, 743; Conforte, Kore, 49b; Fuenn, Keneset, 382–3; Rosanes, Togarmah, 3 (1938), 231–2; Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1928), 51 n. 1, 130; Benayahu, in: Tarbiz, 29 (1959/60), 74.

[Samuel Abba Horodezky]

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