Pinchas Hacohen Peli
At age 16, he started publishing poetry in the Israeli newspaper Davar. He used the pen name "Peli" ("wonder") because he was afraid to use his real name, given that his family was a distinguished rabbinical family living in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. He subsequently adopted it as his actual name.
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.
His writings include studies of the thought of rabbis 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).
Friendship with Joseph B. Soloveitchik
While a professor at Yeshiva University between 1967 and 1971, he became a friend and important disciple of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, publishing a volume based on his oral discourses entitled On Repentance (Hebrew "Al haTeshuva", Jerusalem 1979), redacting the major points of Soloveitchik's teachings. See Joseph B. Soloveitchik #Works by Joseph Soloveitchik.
Peli opposed efforts to impose greater religious control over life in Israel. He told an interviewer in 1986, "I think for the sake of religion and for the sake of Israel there must be a separation between state and religion."
Peli married his cousin Penina Cohen, whom he met in 1951 when he went to the United States as emissary of the Jewish Agency, lecturing on behalf of the Synagogue Council of America and the Israel Bonds organization.
They raised four children:
- Dr. Bitkha Har-Shefi, lecturer of Talmud at Hebrew Union College
- Emuna Elon, Israeli author and journalist, who is married to Rabbi Binyamin Elon
- Bat-Sheva Peli-Seri, active in Kolech, the Israeli Religious Women's Forum
- Deuell Peli, a lawyer
Peli died in Jerusalem on 3 April 1989, and is buried in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery.
- 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)
- Wrestling with God: Jewish Theological Responses During and After the Holocaust. USA: Oxford University Press. 4 Jan 2007. p. 244.
- Goldman, Ari (1989). "Pinchas H. Peli, 59, Dies in Israel; Noted Author and Judaic Scholar". New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)