Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Maharal's Derech HaLimud Similar to that of Hirsch Kehilla

"The Maharal also had a lasting influence on the famous darshan Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz. For instance, the influence of the Maharal's approach to Torah learning can be clearly seen in Rabbi Luntschitz's sermon. recorded in Amudei Sheish: "All the teaching in the yeshiva comes down to the empty arguments of chilluk. It is terrible to think that some elderly rabbi teaches this, even though he and everyone else know that the true meaning is different. Can Hashem really want that we should sharpen our minds with such false teachings? .. This type of study [of chilluk-pilpul] has an especially negative effect on the students. There might be a student who, if he had been able to learn Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud and Halachah in a regular, orderly fashion, would have shone as one of the best. But if this student does not excel in empty chilluk, he is looked down upon to the point that he is practically forced to stop learning. I myself have known intelligent young men who, when they couldn't shine in pllpul, were considered inept by their fellow-students and so gave up learning altogether upon getting married."

"One of the first things the Maharal did upon returning from Posen to Prague was to help Rabbi Yosef Heilperin of Posen publish Elm Hayeled, a Hebrew grammar for seven year-old children. In his preface, Rabbi Hellperln wrote that the Maharal had urged him to produce this work, and the Maharal himself added a line that one is obligated to teach one's children the Holy Tongue in a clear manner, just as was done in previous generations.

"In the meantime, the Maharal continued his campaign for the learnmg of MiShnah by both children and adults, those who knew little and those who were learned. The Maharal wanted that adults and learned people learn Mishnah, and thus he established Chevros Mishnayos that learned one chapter of Mishnah a day. In this way, one could go through the entire six orders of the Mishnah in a few years and gain a comprehension of and familiarity with the basic concepts discussed in the entire Talmud. The flrst such group was organized in Prague, but gradually this institution spread across all of Europe. The Maharal wished that the Mishnah be learned with comprehension. As his student Rabbi Yom Tov Heller wrote, the intent was "to teach Mishnah with attention to its reasons and commentaries."

The Maharal of Prague, Yaacov Dovid Shulman, CIS Publishers, pp. 210-212.

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