Rabbi Shlomo Luria, known by his abbreviated name as R'SHaL or the MaHaRSHaL, was one of the greatest Polish Talmudists. His family had migrated from Germany to Poland and had sent the young boy to the Yeshivah of Lublin, where he studied together with the famous ReMO, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, under Rabbi Shalom Shacne, the founder of this first Talmudical academy in Poland.

Rabbi Shlomo Luria was born in Brest-Litovsk, Lithuania, in the year 5270. He held the first Rabbinical post in his native town, where he founded a Yeshivah. Later, about the age of 40, he was invited to the community of Ostrog in Volhynia. He was then appointed by the government as district Rabbi over the province of Volhynia in Ostrog: there too, Rabbi Shlomo Luria foundeda Yeshiva, where he had many disciples. About five years later he went to Lublin, where he became the head of the famous Lublin Yeshivah until he died in the year 5333.

Rabbi Shlomo Luria was a man of great intellect who had his own method of studying the Talmud; it was a thorough and critical study. Like his friend, the ReMO, he was opposed to the exaggerated method of the "Pilpul" (argumentation). The most important works or Rabbi Shlomo Luria are the incomplete "Yam Shel Shlomo" (The Sea of Shlomo), a thorough and penetrating commentary to some tractates of the Talmud, and the "Chochmath Shlomo" (the wisdom of Shlomo), which contains a collection of commentaries on the Gemara, Rashi and the Tosaphoth. The latter work corrects many of the discrepancies of different traditions of Talmud versions and proves Rabbi Shlomo Luria's interest in grammar and exactness of method.

This character of thorough and penetrating research permeates also the many responses to questions on problems of the daily life that were directed to Rabbi Shlomo Luria, and which have been preserved for us.

Rabbi Shlomo Luria was a passionate lover of truth, and denounced those who were dishonest or hypocritical, irrespective of their position. Equally critical was Rabbi Shlomo Luria of the study of secular books which, in his opinion, were apt to divert one's attention from the source of truth and faith, the Torah. This opinion he expressed in his correspondence with Rabbi Moshe Isserles.

Even though Rabbi Shlomo Luria had many enemies because of his sharp criticism, he attracted numerous students and ardent admirers, and he was the teacher of a great number of men who spread the knowledge of Torah all over Poland and Lithuania. One of the synagogues of Lublin, was called the "Maharshal Shul," after him.