Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Berachyahu Lifshitz

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2011 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Jewish law

Jewish Law

Prof. Berachyahu Lifshitz

Jury Statement

“For his years of fundamental research in Jewish Law, in which he brought about the understanding of central and basic aspects in the field of Law and Halacha, for the publications in Jewish law and related topics and for his many professional and public activities which have made a great contribution to the Israeli society.”


Was born in Israel in 1947.

He served in the IDF and studied at “Kerem be’Yavneh” Yeshiva.

In 1974 he completed his LLB (cum laude) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Three years later he earned his Master’s degree in Talmud (cum laude) and in 1979 he earned an LLD degree (cum laude) at the faculty of law at the Hebrew University. On completion of his studies he was appointed a member of the law faculty at the HUJI. He was promoted to full professor in 1996. He served in numerous positions at the law faculty including Vice Dean, Dean and head of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law He also served in many university committees.

For many years he was editor-in-chief of several academic journals, including the Shenaton Ha’ Mishpat Ha’Ivry and the Jewish Law Annual. His research combines many fields of knowledge, law, Talmud, philology and history. He examines the religious and philosophical aspects that influence the Halacha. His work has made an exceptional contribution to the fundamental comprehension of the law of Obligation and the law of Acquisition in Jewish law. He dealt also with the accurate definition of many civil law terms in Jewish law. He also dealt with “The Oral Torah” – its nature and its many implications. The results of this research can be found in his articles “Aggadah” (myth), “Minhag” (custom/tradition) and “Judaism in the West”.

Over the years he has been involved in the efforts to regulate the problem of anchored wives and is active in creating a program to involve Dayanim in the academic study of law. He was a research fellow at Harvard University, a member of the committee for codification of the civil law, a member of an academic committee at the center for teaching Jewish Culture at universities around the world, a member of the board of directors at the Bialik Institute, a member of the committee to propose a constitution to the State of Israel on behalf of The Institute for Zionist Stategies and from 2007 he is a member of the academic council of the World Congress for Jewish Studies. His scientific work has awarded him many prizes, including the Weber prize, the Zilberg prize, the Herzog prize, the Duchan prize, the Amitai prize, the Urbach prize and the Rosenthal prize.