Haim Sabato was born to a family of Aleppan-Syrian descent in Cairo. His family immigrated to Israel and lived in a transit camp in Kiryat HaYovel, Jerusalem. He studied at a Talmud Torah in Bayit Vegan, in the vicinity, and after it attended the Netiv Meir yeshiva-high school, also in Bayit Vegan. Rabbi Aryeh Bina, Rosh Yeshiva of Netiv Meir, was one of his key influences.
After graduation, he joined the Hesder program at Yeshivat Hakotel, in the old city of Jerusalem, which combines yeshiva studies with military service. His experiences during the Yom Kippur war, at the age of 21, led him to write Adjusting Sights.
After the war, Sabato spent the next few years at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, the spiritual home of religious Zionism. After receiving rabbinical ordination, Sabato co-founded Yeshivat Birkat Moshe in Ma'aleh Adumim, near Jerusalem, in 1977.