Silberg, Moshe

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SILBERG, MOSHE (1900–1975), Israeli judge and jurist. Silberg, born in Skaudvile, Lithuania, studied at the yeshivot of Kelm, Mir, Slobodka, and Novogrudok. He continued his studies at the University of Marburg and took up law at Frankfurt University. In 1929 Silberg settled in Palestine and taught in Tel Aviv; during this period he also gave public lectures on Talmud in Tel Aviv. In 1948 he was appointed judge of the district court of Tel Aviv and from 1950 to 1970 he was on the bench of the Supreme Court of Israel, of which he was deputy president from 1965 to 1975. From 1954 to 1969 he taught law of personal status at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

As a member of the Supreme Court, Silberg delivered several important decisions on matters of personal status, including controversial questions involving the definition of the term "*Jew." His rulings on other matters cover every aspect of law – civil and criminal, public and private – and substantially contributed to the development of Israeli case law.

Silberg also wrote extensively on talmudic law and personal status. He wrote Ha-Ma'amad ha-Ishi be-Yisrael ("Personal Status in Israel," 1957, 1961, supplement 1967); Dienstvertrag und Werkvertrag im Talmudischen Rechte ("Hiring and Contracting in Talmudic Law," 1927); Ḥok u-Musar ba-Mishpat ha-Ivri ("Law and Ethics in the Jewish Legal System" 1952); and Kakh Darko shel Talmud (Principia Talmudica) (1961). The latter appeared in an English translation under the title Talmudic Law and the Modern State (1973). In 1964 he was awarded the Israel Prize.


Tidhar, 2 (1947), 1027–28, 14 (1965), 4575; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 735.

[Chaim Ivor Goldwater]