Buber, Solomon

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BUBER, SOLOMON (1827–1906), scholar and authority on midrashic and medieval rabbinic literature. Buber was born in Lemberg, Galicia, into a well-known rabbinic family and devoted himself to the publication of scholarly editions of existing Midrashim, printed or in manuscript, and to the reconstruction of those that had been lost. His Midrash editions and those of some medieval works constituted a veritable revolution in the production of reliable texts. Their learned introductions are major research works in themselves, and the annotations give a complete picture of the textual problems and parallel passages. While scholarship in this field has not stood still since Buber's days and his work and method are in part, at least, outdated, subsequent researchers in this field owe him much.

Buber was a man of independent means and financed his scholarly projects personally. Not only did he pay for the expense of publication, but he also paid for people to visit various libraries to copy manuscripts. Buber's achievement is all the more remarkable in view of his active business life. He was a governor of the Austro-Hungarian Bank and the Galician Savings Bank, president of the Lemberg Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Lemberg Jewish community's executive council from 1870.

Buber's Midrash editions were (1) *Tanḥuma (on the Pentateuch), an older and different version of the previously known and printed Midrash of that name (Vilna, 1885, 1913; repr. 1946, 1964); (2) *Midrash Lekaḥ Tov or Pesikta Zutrata by Tobias b. Eliezer (11th century) on the Pentateuch (part of the work, from Leviticus on, had been printed previously) in Buber's edition with a commentary by Aaron Moses Padua of Karlin (1880, 1884, 1921–24; repr. 1960); (3) Midrash Aggadah on the Pentateuch (1894; repr. 1961); (4) Sekhel Tov on Genesis and Exodus by Menahem b. Solomon (12th century; 1900–02; repr. 1959, 1964); (5) *Aggadat Bereshit on Genesis (first published by Abraham b. Elijah of Vilna, 1802), 28 homilies following the triennial cycle of the Palestinian rite (1903, 1925; repr. 1959); (6) Likkutim mi-Midrash Avkir on Genesis and Exodus (1883; repr. 1967); (7) a reconstruction of Midrash Devarim Zuta in Likkutim mi-Midrash Devarim Zuta, on Deuteronomy (1885); (8) *Midrash Shemu'el (1893, 1925; repr. 1965); (9) *Midrash Tehillim, or Shoḥar Tov, on Psalms (1891; repr. 1966); (10) Yalkut ha-Makhiri on Psalms by Machir b. Abba Mari (14th century; 1900; repr. 1964); (11) *Midrash Mishlei on Proverbs (1893; repr. 1965); (12) Midrash Zuta on the Five Scrolls except Esther (1894, 1925; repr. 1964); (13) Eikhah Rabbah [Rabbati], on Lamentations (1899; repr. 1964); (14) Aggadat Ester, part of Midrash ha-Gadol (1887, 19252; repr. 1964); (15) Sifrei de-Aggadata, three Midrashim on Esther (1887; repr. 1964); and (16) Pesikta de-Rav Kahana, a hitherto unpublished selection of homilies for special Sabbaths and festivals by Rav Kahana, first discovered by L. Zunz, from a manuscript written in Egypt in 1565, which Buber found in Safed (now in the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris, no. 47; 1868, 1925; repr. 1963). Of these 16 items, numbers 1, 9, and 15 are the most important. Buber also annotated L. Gruenhut's edition of the Yalkut ha-Makhiri on Proverbs and of Yelammedenu fragments on Genesis (Sefer ha-Likkutim, 6, 1903). He also edited many other works by medieval authors as well as some historical works, including a biography and bibliography of Elijah *Levita. Buber also contributed some hundred articles to various periodicals. Martin *Buber was his grandson.


M. Reines, Dor ve-Ḥakhamav (1890), 28ff.; S. Bernfeld, in: Ha-Shilo'aḥ, 17 (1907), 168ff.; Zeitlin, Bibliotheca, 44ff.; J.K. Miklischansky, in: S. Federbush (ed.), Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah (1965), 41–58.