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Buber, Salomon

(1827–1906), scholar of rabbinic literature and public activist in Lwów. Salomon (Shelomoh) Buber’s family provided him with a traditional education. His father’s rich and varied library of Talmudic and rabbinic texts enabled Buber to avail himself of homiletic sources that would become the mainstay of his scholarly activity. As a young man, Buber also immersed himself in the writings of the forerunners of the scientific study of Judaism and was influenced greatly by Naḥman Krochmal, Shelomoh Yehudah Rapoport, and Leopold Zunz. Married at age 20, he made his living from business, which afforded him a comfortable lifestyle.

Buber’s first undertaking as a writer was his monograph on Elye Bokher (Toldot Eliyahu ha-Tishbi; 1856). In the same year, he began to publish in scholarly journals, writing philological inquiries into problematic sources of midrashic and Talmudic literature.

From the 1860s, Buber published dozens of scholarly editions of ancient midrashim, based on manuscripts and first printings. He also compiled remnants of ancient midrashim that had not survived in their entirety, adding detailed introductions and an apparatus of annotations, corrections, and textual variants. Among the most significant of his publications were Pesikta de-Rav Kahana (1868), Midrash Lekaḥ tov (1880), Likutim mi-midrash Avkir (1883), Midrash Tanḥuma (1885), Midrash Tehilim (1891), and Midrash Shemu’el (1893).

Buber also published numerous editions of works of medieval Jewish thinkers, including Yitsḥak Latish of Provence’s Sha‘are Tsiyon (1885), Tsidkiyahu ha-Rofe’s Shibole ha-leket ha-shalem (1887), Sa‘adyah Gaon’s Pesher davar (1887), and works related to Rashi: Sefer ha-orah (1905) and Sidur Rashi (1911–1912). An important part of Buber’s own writing was devoted to the history of the Galician rabbinate; among these works were Anshe shem (1895), on the history of Lwów’s rabbis, and Kiryah nisgavah (1903), on those of Żółkiew.

Buber was an active leader of the Jewish community of Lwów, and a member of the community council from 1870; he also served on the board of the Austro-Hungarian bank and as chairman of the board of the chamber of commerce in that city. His public activities increased during the period of pogroms against Russian Jews, when many refugees arrived in Lwów.

Buber’s wealth enabled him to support individual writers in addition to literary projects. He maintained a rich network of correspondence with many of his generation’s leading scholars, but only a portion of these have been published. He bequeathed his library to the Jewish community of Lwów. His grandson was the well-known philosopher of religion Martin Buber.

Suggested Reading

“Buber, Solomon,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 4, cols. 1433–1435 (New York and Jerusalem, 1971); Getzel Kressel, “Buber, Shelomoh,” in Leksikon ha-sifrut ha-‘ivrit ba-dorot ha-aḥaronim, vol 1, cols. 178–179 (Merḥavyah, Isr., 1965); Ya‘akov Kopel Miklishanski, “Shelomoh Buber,” Ḥokhmat Yisra’el be-Ma‘arav Eropah, ed. Simon Federbusch, vol. 3, pp. 41–58 (Jerusalem, 1965); Moses Reines, Dor ve-ḥakhamav (Kraków, 1889/90), pp. 28–40, a bio-bibliography of his writings until the 1880s; Me’ir Vunder, “R. Shelomoh b. R. Yesha‘yahu Avraham Buber,” in Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 1, cols. 413–415 (Jerusalem, 1978).



Translated from Hebrew by Sharon Makover-Assaf