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He is Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, usually identified by the acronym Maharal.

Take the Midrash which says that Vashti, the original queen in the Purim story, had a “tail." According to Maharal, we should not be slaves to the literal meaning of words.

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) In explicating the words of the Sages, we must always look for symbolism, allegory, idioms, and the clever turn-of-the-phrase that can say so much in so few words. Rather he rejects a superficial reading of the words of the rabbis, words he is convinced almost always disguise more than they reveal.

When we probe the true intent of the rabbis, we discover that they saw Divine intervention occurring in ways that may be more profound than the simple miracle that the text suggests.

The Sages employed a richness of expression, just as we today use our own idiomatic form for a functionless growth.

We call it "spare tire." (Will future anthropologists, noting references to "spare tire" but unfamiliar with contemporary usage, assume that people once propelled themselves on two axles?

It assumes that every epigram, every passage, every remark flows with the Divine wisdom that is vouchsafed to those who immerse themselves in Torah.

At the same time, it refuses to concede any irrationality to the words of these Sages.

Someone planted the trees and took care of them until the coffee reached maturity. The beans were roasted and ground, and packed for shipping.

He described all the work involved in the shipping industry which allowed the coffee to reach the United States. Finally, the coffee arrived at the port in Haifa from where it was taken to his grocery story in Jerusalem.

To properly understand these Midrashic passages, it is essential to have a learned and wise Torah teacher.

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