chapter  7
16 Pages

The relationship between Halakha, philosophy and education in Maharal’s teachings: Maharal’s attitude towards the Halakhic Kitzur

WithNERIA GUTTEL

The philosophical teachings of Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loew, Posna, 1520?–Prague, 1609) have been subject to extensive research; much attention has also been devoted to his educational insights, and some scholars have focused on his exegetical methodology. In contrast, his halakhic legacy has received almost no attention. This is not surprising: while the scope of Maharal’s philosophical writings is immense, his legal works – at least, those still extant – are very limited. With only small, scattered samples, the material at hand is insufficient to facilitate serious research. At the same time, the absence of such scholarship presents a serious problem for two reasons:

1 In order to properly understand Maharal, we must understand his halakhic worldview, which represents a significant aspect of his personality. Let us not forget that he was among the greatest halakhic authorities of his generation – a generation of great scholars and major rabbinical figures whose works retain their central place in halakhic literature to this day. It was amongst this company of intellectual giants that Maharal was recognized as a leading figure.