Born in Ruzhany, Belorussia, Pines is a religious scholar, Zionist leader, and writer, who begins his career regularly contributing to the European Jewish publications, Ha-Karmel, Ha-Meliẓ, and Ha-Levanon. Settling in Jerusalem in 1878, representing renowned Jewish philanthropist Moses Montifiore, he writes papers chronicling the issues facing Jews in Palestine, making recommendations to Montifiore and his associates on how to better and more productively fund the growing Yishuv. A famous provider of resources to Jewish immigrants in Palestine, he likewise helps craft Hebrew as a modern, spoken language.