Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiyahu PintoFlash90

The parole board has released statements attributed to Rabbi Pinto which influenced the decision to grant him early release. The members of the parole board said that the prisoner "spoke with great emotion and it was obvious that his words stemmed from his heart. He expressed deep regret and sorrow over offering bribes and over the suicide of Brigadier General Bracha."

Pinto said that "I feel like a criminal.A number of people left religion because they saw a rabbi who gives bribes. I am no longer a rabbi and I will pay for my mistakes. I have left public life and I am not a rabbi of any sort until I will feel myself worthy again and that will definitely not happen in the next year or two."

Rav Pinto said that he was embarrassed by his actions. "I made the Torah an 'axe to dig with' (an expression taken from Ethics of the Father about profiting from Torah} which is worse than taking bribes. I used my status as a rabbi in relation to everything. I am regretful and full of remorse and feel that I am losing my health. I am embarrassed at myself and at all that I did. I didn't speak with anyone in jail."

Pinto declared that he would not continue to serve as a rabbi and added "My shame and disgrace are genuine as I went and smashed my entire life. I ruined everything that was important to me. I say to the parole board what I told Judge Brown, I stand by my word when I say that I am embarrassed at my behavior. I expressed my regret from the depths of my heart and sat with the social worker for 50 meetings. I went over the Rambam word for word - seeking to know what is repentance and how I could work on myself. There is no rabbi Pinto anymore, I do not exist in the world. I have expressed my deepest regret and I want to repent."

In the wake of the decision Rabbi Pinto will be released next Sunday.