Pinchas Hacohen Peli

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Pinchas Hacohen Peli (1930-1989) was an Israeli modern Orthodox rabbi, essayist, poet, and scholar of Judaism and Jewish philosophy.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1930 to a Hasidic family named Hacohen. In his poetry, which was published in the Israeli newspaper Davar, he adopted the pen name "Peli" ("wonder"). He received a B.A in Jewish History and Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Academic career[edit]

He was Professor of Jewish Thought and Literature at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a visiting professor at Yeshiva University, Cornell University, Notre Dame University, the Seminario Rabbinico in Argentina, and the Makuya Bible Seminary in Japan.

He was also the editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica Year Book, the Jerusalem Quarterly for Literature, and Panim-el-Panim ("Face to Face"), and served as the Torah Commentator for the Jerusalem Post.

His writings include studies of the thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Joseph B. Soloveitchik, discussions concerning Shabbat, the Land of Israel, anti-Semitism, the problem of evil, and commentary on the weekly Torah portion (parsha).

Interfaith activity[edit]

Frequently lecturing to both Jews and Christians, he participated in the Israel Interfaith Committee and discussed Jewish-Catholic relations at the Vatican.

Friendship with Joseph B. Soloveitchik[edit]

While a professor at Yeshiva University, he became a friend and important disciple of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, publishing a volume based on his oral discourses entitled On Repentance.


Peli is the father of Israeli author and journalist Emuna Elon, who is married to Rabbi Binyamin Elon.


  • Abraham Joshua Heschel: An intellectual Biography (New York University Press, 1986)
  • Torah Today: A Renewed Encounter With Scripture, (1987)
  • Shabbat Shalom: A Renewed Encounter with the Sabbath, (1988)
  • Chapters in Jewish Thought in the Land of Israel, (1990)
  • (ed.) On Repentance: The Thought and Oral Discourses of Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (1980)