Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gedolei Yisrael - Maharal of Prague

Gedolei Yisrael - Maharal

R. Yehudah ben Betzalel Loew (or possibly Lev, Love, or Levi - any 16th century Prussian language experts out there?) lived in Prague from 1520 - 1609 and is one of the pre-eminent Jewish philosophers and בעלי מחשבה. He wrote seforim explaining many of the key concepts of Judaism: the chagim, Pirkei Avot, Torah, Tefillah, Tzedakah and also peirushim on Rashi on the Chumash and on Aggadata in Shas. He was a kabbalist and his philosophy is heavily influenced by Kaballah.

The Maharal’s influence can be seen in the works of Rav Kook; Polish Chassidut (Sefas Emes, R. Tzaddok, Shem M’Shmuel and others); and the Pachad Yitzchak (R. Hutner’s machshavah on the Chagim). The Maharal is not so easy to learn because did not have a short writing style and his ideas are developed over many pages. However, there are modern editions of his seforim with many footnotes that make the Maharal more accessible. The Maharal in well known in pop-culture for a golem that he created, but there is no historical evidence to support this.

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