The Maharal of Prague (c.1512-1609) was more legend than reality. His teachings and diverse scholarship seem to grow more popular with time, but who was he and what was the world that he lived and operated in?
The Maharal was a communal rabbi in his hometown of Poznan (Poland), Nikolsburg (Moravia) and Prague (Bohemia). He was a posek and kabbalist, a communal leader and a prolific author. He stood at a crossroads of Jewish history and made a decisive impact in his own time and through his legacy. Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire moved the seat of the royal court to the Prague Castle in 1583, and his religious tolerance coupled with his eccentric obsession with the occult sciences added to Prague’s mystical reputation. And it was in Prague where the Maharal would lead the community, teach his students and publish many of his acclaimed works.
This episode of Jewish History Soundbites on the Maharal is sponsored by “Short Machshava on the Daf”, a project of Machsheves Yechezkel. The Short Machshava Shiur aims to give an understanding of the Agadita/Machshava of every Daf in shas, following the Daf Yomi schedule, adding a new Depth to the Daf, and is given by Rabbi Yechezkel Hartman, a Talmid of Rabbi Moshe Shapiro zt”l, and a Maggid Shiur in Lawrence NY.
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