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Jehuda Loew - MaHaRal of Prague

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Jehuda Loew - The Maharal of PragueRabbi Jehuda (see LOEB /LOEW/LÖW family) ben Bezalel "aka The MaHaral of Prague"Born: 1525 in Posen or Pesach Eve. 1512 Worms. Died: Aug 22, 1609 in Prague or Sep 17, 1609 + Perl (Perla) SHMELKES-REICH Born: 1528 in Prague. Died: May 5, 1610 in Prague. Their marriage was a very happy one and they were blessed with 6 daughters, all married into prominent Prague families and a son. Father: Samuel (Shmuel) Shmelkes-Reich Grandfather: Jakob (Ya'akov) Shmelkes-Reich OR Schmuel ZAKS (aka Rich Shmelkes) Died: Oct 24, 1557 in Prague, son of Koppel Altschul(er) of Zatce & Dobra, daughter of David Pisecky Mother: Dobra, daughter of Rabbi Moshe ben Yitzhak Breznicky

Note: is this the same Shmuel ben Yakov Shmelkes ( -1558) and is on Horwitz-Horowitz site OR see Frumkin chart .pdf OR Jehuda's descendants on Loeb site & Heymann family sites

MaHaral is an acronym for Moraynu HaReav Judah LOEW ben B'zalel (Our teacher Judah LOEW son of B'zalel). Der Hohe Rabbi LOEW von Prag. As a poor student, Judah became engaged to a wealthy woman Perla Shmelkes, daughter of Samuel and intended to continue his studies with her family's support. Maharal grave in PragueWhen they became impoverished, however, the marriage was delayed, and his fiancée had to run a food shop. One day a knight passedby and snatched a loaf of bread from the shop on his spear. He explained that he had not eaten for three days and left his cloak with its lining containing gold coins as payment. The marriage could thus go ahead, and Judah spent the rest of his life in relative affluence. He accepted a rabbinical position in 1553 as Landesrabbiner of Moravia at Nikolsburg, directing community affairs but also determining which tractate of the Talmud was to be studied in the communities in that province. He also revised the community statutes on the election and taxation process. Although he retired from Moravia in 1588 at age 60, the communities still considered him an authority long after that. One of his activities in Moravia was the rallying against slanderous slurs on legitimacy (Nadler) that were spread in the community against certain families and could ruin the finding of a marriage partner (known as shidduchim within Orthodox Judaism) for the children of those families. This phenomenon even affected his own family. He used one of the two yearly grand sermons (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 1583) to denounce the phenomenon. He moved back to Prague in 1588, where he again accepted a rabbinical position, replacing the retired Isaac Hayoth. He immediately reiterated his views on Nadler. In 1592, the MaHaral moved to Posen, where he had been elected as Chief Rabbi of Poland. In Posen he composed Netivoth Olam and part of Derech Chaim. Towards the end of his life he moved back to Prague, where he died in 1609. He is buried there; his tomb is a famous tourist attraction.

   
The Maharal of Prague by Yaakov Dovid ShulmanVelký pražský rabi Jehuda Löw by František Kafka
Children Golem book by David Wisniewski 1920 The Golem DVD movie

The MaHaral of Prague - known for giving birth to the Golem is buried in a famous tomb in the Old Jewish cemetery next to his wife Perla. His statue has been in front of Prague’s city hall since 1917. Jehuda was chief Rabbi of Prague (from 1597), famous leader, talmudist, moralist, theologian, mathematician, philosopher, teacher and mystic. According to legend, he created a GOLEM at the Altneuschul Synagogue in Prague to serve the Jewish community. From out of dust and brought to life by the insertion of God's name under its tongue, it obeyed Judah's commands, helping Jews survive anti-Jewish measures and blood libel accusations and serving as a shabbos goi. According to the legend, Golem could be made of clay from the banks of the Vltava river in Prague. Following the prescribed rituals, the Rabbi built the Golem and made him come to life by reciting special incantations in Hebrew. It was close to Easter, and a Jew-hating priest was trying to incite the Christians against the Jews. As Rabbi Loew's Golem grew bigger, he also became more violent and threatened innocent lives spreading fear. Rabbi Loew was promised that the violence against the Jews would stop if the Golem was destroyed. The Rabbi agreed. To destroy the Golem, he rubbed out the first letter of the word "emet" from the golem's forehead to make the Hebrew word "met", meaning death. In some incarnations of the legend of the MaHaral's golem, the golem has powers that can aid it in its tasks. These include invisibility, a heated touch, and the ability to use the MaHaral's walking stick to summon spirits from the dead. This last power was often crucial, as the golem could summon dead witnesses, which the medieval Prague courts would allow to testify. According to legend, the Golem of Prague's remains are stored in a coffin in the attic of the Altneuschul in Prague, and it can be summoned again if needed. The existence of a golem is sometimes a mixed blessing. Golems are not intelligent - if commanded to perform a task, they will take the instructions perfectly literally. *see Amazon.com products: MaHaral of Prague, Velký pražský Rabi Jehuda Löw by František Kafka, Golem children book and The Golem DVD other MaHaral books, more and articles on Golem, the MaHaral, MaHaral or couses on the MaHaral and Factbites URL links

On February 23, 1592, Emperor Rudolf II invited him to an audience to the Hradshin(castle). According to legend, the Left to right wax statues: Cirael, Tycho Brahe, Emperor Rudolf II and Jehuda Löw Emperor wanted to be introduced to mysticism by the MaHaral, who could perform cabbalistic wonders. On February 16, 1594, his colleague astronomer Tycho Brahe arranged for him to speak with the Emperor, on the subject of Kabblah (Jewish mysticism) and alchemy a subject which held much fascination for the emperor. His elder brother Rabbi Sinai Loeb(see below) and his son-in-law Isaac Ha-Kohen above and Prince Bertier were also present with the emperor. *MaHaral article: "..The MaHaral conceded readily that man, as we find him in the world, does not always reveal his noble stature. But this derives from the fact, explained the MaHaral, that man's excellence is not an endowment with which he comes into the world. It is rather a development which he must attain through his own efforts. As formed by the Creator, a man is incomplete, and the whole burden of his life is a striving for completion, a quest for perfection.."

*In 1990, our parents and sister visited the cemetery and as per Jewish tradition, our mom Adele Heidi (Klimesch) ROHEL placed a small rock on top of the grave, "for good luck". Only several years later did she find out from a relative, that she is a descendant of MaHaral's brother Rabbi Sinai LOEB


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