Exhibition of the Maharal Opens in Prague


maharalAn exhibition has opened at Prague Castle to mark the 400th anniversary of the passing of Rav Yehuda Lowy, the Maharal of Prague. The Maharal lived from 1525 to 1609.

The Maharal’s kever at Prague’s Jewish cemetery is visited by thousands every year.

The “Path of Life” exhibition focuses on the Maharal’s life. It includes materials from various institutions,┬áincluding Prague’s Jewish Museum and Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, and runs through Nov 8.

The Maharal is believed to have been born in Posen. He became famous as a gaon at an early age. In his late twenties, he was invited to become the rov in Nikolsburg, Moravia, a position which he held for about twenty years. His greatest fame, however, came to him as the spiritual head of the Jewish community in Prague, then the main center of central European Jewry.

In Prague, the Maharal established the great yeshiva known as the ‘Klaus.’ (The ancient building of the Klaus burned down about eighty years after his passing and was subsequently rebuilt and named the Klaus Shul.) Among his famous talmidim was Rav Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, the Tosfos Yom Tov. The Maharal won the admiration of his great contemporaries, including the Maharshal and the Maharam of Lublin.

The Maharal, interestingly, also became famous among non-Jews for his great knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, and other sciences. He was a friend of the astronomer Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. These in turn introduced him to Emperor Rudolph II. According to many stories, the emperor paid him frequent visits during the night, to discuss with him both politics and science, and The Maharal made use of these excellent connections to the advantage of his community whenever it was threatened by attacks or oppression.

The Maharal wrote many works on Torah, one of the most important of which is Gur Aryeh on Rashi on Chumash. In his legendary writings and teachings, he laid stress on understanding the simple literal meaning of the passages studied. His writings, particularly his commentary on Pirkei Avos and the collection of his drashos such as Netzach Yisroel and Nesivos Olam reflect the saintly character of the Maharal of Prague.

The Maharal was credited with performing nissim. The most famous story is that of the Golem which he created out of clay and which he brought to life by the use of the sheim Hashem. The Maharal averted many calamities and blood-libels through the Golem. When the Golem had performed his mission, the Maharal laid it away in the attic of the Prague Shul.

Few among the great people of Jewish history have been the subject of so many popular legends as the Maharal.
The Maharal is the man who during one of the trying periods of Jewish history did so much for his Jewish brethren, was their spiritual leader and their spokesman, and who in his writings has left a wealth of deep Jewish thought and moral teachings. Torah Yidden do not think of the Maharal as of the creator of the Golem, but rather of the light he has brought to Yidden and of the source of inspiration and faith contained in his writings.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The greatest legacy of the Maharal are his hundreds of thousands (or millions) of Talmidim over the past 400 years. There exists almost no Chasidishe sefer or more recent Mussar sefer that doesn’t refer to and build on Yesodos mentioned by the Maharal. His seforim are a mainstay for Machshava learned in all Yeshivas. Zechoso Yagein Oleinu.

  2. The Maharal’s gadlus was his koach haTorah. It drives me nust when the left wingers and the seculars try to make him into a hee-bee-gee-bee type of person and all they talk about is the Golem etc. His was a holy holy person. His Torah is like ruach hakodesh.