Prague, Czech Republic - Exhibition on Maharal of Prague Opens Tomorrow
Prague, Czech Republic - An exhibition devoted to the life and legacy of scholar and philosopher rabbi Loew (The Maharal of Prague), according to legends a creator of supernatural monster Golem from the early 17th century, opens at Prague Castle on Wednesday to mark the 400th anniversary of Loew’s death.
The exhibition, staged by the Prague Castle Authority along with the Jewish Museum in Prague, is opened in the Imperial Stable (Cisarska konirna) from August 5 to November 8.
“Although golem is a concept of Jewish mysticism, it is evidently only loosely associated with rabbi Loew. No hints is contained in his work that he would ever attempt such mystical spiritual exercise as the creation of a golem,” Jewish Museum director Leo Pavlat said.
He said there was a reference to the notion of “golem” in Loew’s work, but it had another meaning, namely an unwise man.
“Both the real and mysterious rabbi Loew has a right to existence, but the discrepancy between the historical image of the personality and its prevailing perception is abysmal,” exhibition curator Alexandr Putik said.
The exhibition called A Road to Life is divided into two parts. The first is devoted to real rabbi Loew and authentic traditions associated with him, the second with his legacy and popular legends to which his name refers.
It also describes the development of the Prague ghetto and the Jewish cemetery at the period.
It will be possible to see Loew’s writings, official books and a table bell of Emperor Rudolph II, allegedly manufactured from the alloy of seven metals following instructions from the Kabbalah.
Most of the 200 items on display are from the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The exhibition also uses a screen showing extracts from various films on golem.
Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1520-1609) also known as rabbi Loew or Maharal worked as the Moravian land rabbi for twenty years and from 1596 as chief rabbi in Prague.
He was a learned man, philosopher and teacher.
“There are some studies proving that some principles advocated by Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius) have their predecessors in rabbi Loew, although there was no direct connection,” Pavlat said.
Pavlat said only romantic writers from the mid-19th century connected rabbi Loew with golem.
The story of rabbi making wonders and creating an artificial man first appeared in German literature, Pavlat said.
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