Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 Kislev: Yarzheit: the Maharsha

Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Edeles
(1555-1631) Hebrew year: 5315-5392

Rabbi Samuel Eliezer Halevi Edeles (MaHaRSHA - מהרש"א) was born in Posen about the middle of the sixteenth century. He lived at a time when there were very great Talmud scholars, and he took his place among the greatest. Even among such great lights of the exponents of the Talmud as Rabbi Joel Sirkes (the BaCH), Rabbi Meir (MaHaRaM) of Lublin, Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe (the "Levush"), and others, Rabbi Samuel Edeles shone with a light of his own, for his commentary on the Talmud was unique and brilliant.

Rabbi Samuel Edeles (or Adel's) is better known by the name of MaHaRSHA (Morenu Harav Shmuel Adel's - Our Teacher Rabbi Samuel Adel's), and his famous commentary on the Talmud is so entitled-Hidushei MaHaRSHA (Hidushei meaning "New Explanations by").

In 1600 he published his first Hidushim anonymously. His commentaries at once became popular and were very favorably received. This greatly encouraged him, and he continued his commentaries, publishing the remaining part 11 years later.

His commentaries reveal his unusual mental brilliance and extensive knowledge of the whole Talmud. They are unique in method and approach which are bent upon a straightforward attempt to grasp he plain and logical meaning of the text of the Talmud, without indulging in hair-splitting juggling of various passages of he Talmud.

In 1610 he received a call to become the Rabbi of the important community of Chelm, where he served for four years. From there he was called to an even greater community, that of Lublin, where he also headed the famous Yeshivah in that city. His next post was in Tictin, and the remainder of his life he spent as Rabbi of Ostrog and head of the Yeshivah there. There he died on the 5th day of Kislev in the year 5392 (1631).

Not merely for his great learning, but also for his great qualities of character has Rabbi Samuel loved respected by all. He was very modest, as can be seen from the fact that he did not at first disclose that he was the author of his commentaries. His house was always open for the needy, and his door is said to have had the following inscription, taken from job: "No stranger shall stay overnight outside; my door is open for every guest.

Rabbi Samuel's commentary has become so popular, that it is printed in all the standard editions of the Talmud, and is regarded as a "must" for all Talmud scholars.

The Maharsha taught of three types of dreams:

The first type of dream is one without any particular meaning, which is open to many different interpretations. This dream is like an unread letter. Giving an affirming spin to this sort of dream strengthens the positive aspects of the dream and in so doing, gives it an energy that can then be transformed into reality. A positive interpretation will therefore help determine its basic energy and how it manifests itself. It is also this sort of dream which may be basic nonsense or the result of fasting or other physical activity.

A second type of dream does have a certain prophetic direction or message to the dreamer, but even these dreams can be turned to the good through repentence i.e. heeding the message and drawing the proper conclusions. As we recite in our prayers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: "Repentance, prayer and charity remove an evil decree".

The third type of dream has true prophetic meaning and is destined to come true. This, for example, is the type of dream Rava said comes from an angel. Many of the Biblical dreams fall into this category, and they are fulfillments of G-d's promise that in a vision or dream He would speak to his prophets.

"Mystical Meaning of Dreams" Avraham Aryeh Trugman

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