Page 80 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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70
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Malcz and Slobodka. In the early 1920’s he attended the uni­
versity of Kiev. Following a brief sojourn in Palestine, he con­
tinued his studies in France. In 1928, after his return to Palestine,
he was asked to collaborate in a Hebrew translation of the Pales­
tinian Talmud. Lieberman admitted he had never studied the
Palestinian Talmud: “I am a
yeshiva bahur,
and in the yeshivot
people didn’t study the Yerushalmi.”
However, he did not decline the offer, but asked for time
to study the Palestinian Talmud. In only a year and a half he
went over the entire Palestinian Talmud several times. From
his intensive study Lieberman concluded that what was needed was
not a translation, but a critical edition and a new commentary as
the text of the Palestinian Talmud was corrupted in many places
and the meaning of numerous passages was unclear. Lieberman
proceeded to apply himself to this task.
His debut in the world of Jewish scholarship was
Al ha-Yeru-
shalmi
(1929), part of which is devoted to a discussion of the
character of the text corruptions in the Palestinian Talmud and
ways of emending them.
While working on the Palestinian Talmud, he studied Tal­
mudic philology and Greek language and literature at the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1931 he was appointed lec­
turer in Talmud at the University, and at the same time he
taught at the Mizrachi Teachers Seminary in Jerusalem. During
those years he published a series of textual studies of the Palesti­
nian Talmud in
Tarbiz.
In a treatise entitled
Talmuda Shel
Keisarin
(1931), he expressed the view that while most of the
Palestinian Talmud had been composed in Tiberias about the
end of the fourth century C.E., the first three tractates of the
Order of Nezikin had been collated about fifty years earlier at
Caesarea. This was followed in 1934 by
Ha-Yerushalmi KiFshuto,
a commentary on the tractates Shabbat, Eruvin and Pesahim of
the Palestinian Talmud, based on Talmudic manuscripts and
early rabbinic works.
These publications made Lieberman known in wide rabbinical
and scholarly circles and brought him in contact with renowned
scholars in various countries, many of whom probably were not
aware that their correspondent was still a comparatively young
man. When the editor of an European rabbinical publication,
on a visit in Jerusalem, called on Lieberman, he was surprised
to meet a clean-shaven man in his thirties. He had expected to
meet an old white-bearded rabbi.
As a result of his study of the Palestinian Talmud, Lieberman
recognized the necessity for clarifying the Tannaitic sources,
especially of the Tosefta, on which no commentaries had been