Yet another Czech commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the prominent Jewish scholar Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague: a silver 200 Kc coin.
Known as the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Judah died on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Elul in 1609, corresponding to Sept. 7. The Czech government jumped the gun by issuing the commemorative coin nearly three months earlier. One face features a composition of four Stars of David of various sizes on which are written years in which pogroms occurred against the Jewish population in the Czech lands.
A leading rabbi in Prague and other cities throughout most of the 16th century, the Maharal authored a number of classic works of Jewish wisdom, including commentaries on Rashi's commentaries to the Torah, the Aggadic passages of the Talmud, and Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), as well as books on Jewish ethics, in defense of Rabbinic teachings, and more. The “Jewish philosophy” curriculum in many yeshivot associated with Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook centers on the Kuzari/Maharal/Rav Kook trio. The Maharal is possibly best known for the story of the Golem – a clay man that he is said to have turned into a living being.
Unique Design: Reversed Texts
The new coin, 3.1 cm in diameter, features a very unique design on its reverse side: a silhouette of the Golem, in between Hebrew passages of Talmudic texts – printed backwards, the official Czech numismatics site explains, in order to express a “look back through history generally and the history of the Jewish community in the Czech lands in particular.”
Earlier this month, the Czech government co-sponsored an official four-day conference in honor of the Maharal, featuring over a dozen prominent speakers, including Czech Republic Chief Rabbi Efraim Sidon, Austrian Chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg, Rabbi Dr. Neriah Gutel, and Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Adlerstein.