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Maharal Institute Opens in Prague

mmm.jpgPrague – An academic institute dedicated to a legendary 16th- Century Jewish scholar Rabbi Judah Loew, also known as the Maharal of Prague, was opening in Prague Thursday.

The Maharal Institute plans to educate future rabbis, introducing them to Talmud, Jewish law, ethics and mysticism as well as to Loew’s writings, said institute collaborator Tomas Jelinek.

Rabbi Loew’s work has influenced generations of Jewish scholars and has been best known for a legend according to which he had created the Golem, a man-like being with magic powers.

‘People know him only as a Jewish magician,’ Jelinek said of Loew. “We want to study the thoughts that had once originated in Prague.”

The institute’s founding opens a year of events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Petira of the Maharal’s death in Prague in September 1609. His Kever at the Old Town Cemetery is among the city’s chief tourist attractions.

(Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur / YWN-LipaS)

7 Responses

  1. Tomas Jelinek (in the article) apparently doesn’t know much about the Maharal. That is why he erroneously refers to him as a “Jewish Magician”. This is popularized but wrong. The so called story of the golem was a work of fiction created (Niflaos Hamaharal) by Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg in the middle to late 1800s. It doesn’t appear in any sefer about the Maharal before that time. The Maharal was a tremendous Ba’al Machshava. Virtually all (ashkenazik)mussar and chasidus stem from his teachings.

  2. Mottel, Rabbi Rosenberg lived in the early 1900’s. The story of the golem was known long before him.

    R. Noach Chaim Levin, in his annotated edition of the Maharal’s family chronicles, Megillas Yuchsin, writes “And if he made use of the Divine Influence, we should no longer be surprised at the story of the golem which he made and which is known to all.”

    The 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe said:

    Once the Rebbe (the sixth Lubavich Rebbe) and his father (the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Shalom DovBer Schneerson (1860-1920)) were in Prague. They went to the Maharal’s Shul. The Rebbe (the sixth Lubavitch Rebbe) wanted to go up to the attic where the Golem was buried. So he paid off the shamos and got hold of a ladder and went up. When the Rebbe (the sixth Lubatich Rebbe) told the story, I (the seventh Lubavich Rebbe) asked him “What did you see up there?” The Rebbe (the sixth Lubavitch Rebbe) answered me, “When the Rebbe (referring to the fifth Lubavitch Rebbe) found out, he strongly rebuked the Rebbe (referring to the sixth Lubavitch Rebbe). A while later he said, “I had months of what to do,” (It seems to fix the situation so that it wouldn’t hurt), (the narrator).

  3. Mottel1, Mr. Jelinek says that people know the Maharal as a Jewish magician, BUT that this institute will educate them about his true significance as a thinker. You are attributing to him the very notion he is trying to dispel.

    I can attest that the Maharal is well-known to the natives of Prague as a wonder worker. A former associate of mine, a non-Jewish Czech native, proudly recounted to me the story of the Maharal and the golem, right down to the detail of the “Shem Hameforash” (he used that exact term) on the golem’s forehead.

  4. I understand from the Chabad Shliach in Prague that some years ago, repairs were necessary to be done in the attic. A non-Jewish repairman was sent up. Before he entered the attic someone gave him a camera with a roll of film to take pictures of the entire attic. The Shliach told me that he saw all 36 photos. Besides for the walls, floor and ceiling, which are clearly visible, there is nothing else visible in the attic. That is not not say that there was not something there previously (and since removed), and certainly is not a comment on what might still be there spiritually, as the story with the Lubavitcher Rebbe attests and which is well-known among the few Frum guides in Prague.

  5. This talk belittles who and what the Maharal was. Anybody who learns the s’forim of the Maharal has a Mayein of a true appreciation of who he was. Anybody who doesn’t learn the s’forim is totally clueless. So is it such a surprise to anyone that people are writing such shtusim???

  6. It’s really too bad ‘ani omer’ is so quick to be Mevatel another Yid who might, in fact, have more than a passing Yediah of Sifrei Maharal. When someone raises questions about the Maharal’s activities to help Yidden, condemnation is not the appropriate response — regardless whether one believes those stories or not. Certainly, in the spirit of Elul and the Maharal himself, a less confrontational approach would really be appreciated.

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