Golem Part One

Golem Information

1. What is a golem?
The word golem derives from the Hebrew golem, meaning 'shapeless man' or 'unformed material'. In Jewish folklore, a golem resembles a human being yet is an artificial figure, a robot like being, often created from day or mud, and endowed with life through the use of magical language (Truth-Death). Artificially brought to life the golem is capable of threatening its creator. Though endowed with almost all human faculties, the Golem is mute and cannot speak. His function is to hear and to execute the commands of his master, which he does without either will or reason. The Golem is invariably represented as a protector when humans are in despair of divine or dependable aid.

The most famous golem story concerns the 16th century cabalist Rabbi Low of Prague, (1513-

1609), who used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his people from persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. The golem served Rabbi Low as an intelligent agent He exposed an accusation of ritual murder and succeeded in apprehending those who had falsely spread it. The rabbi was said to have made the Golem at the express order of divine voice which revealed to him the life-giving formula in dream. He succeeded in the difficult task only with the aid of his two sons-in-law.

The Golem story offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of creating and unleashing power beyond human control ~ even with the best of intentions.

Golems have also appear in various forms in works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Karel

Capek's R.U.R. (where the word "robot" comes from), Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Golem, and (more recently) in Fox Television's The X Files and numerous speculative novels. Of course, a character named Golem also appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series, The Lord of the Rings,

although that character is essentially unrelated to traditional golems.

2. Metaphysical Explaination
It is possible that the mystical experience could be a vision of the Golem in the form of the

operator's doppelqanger - a reflection and hence a lower form of him/herself. The double would allow the magician to perceive and so discover the evil forces with in himself; exorcise them; and evolve further along the road to redemption. It is a kind of self-purification process. The magician, as the creator, is in the superior position - the doppelganger is now the Lower Self, which can be redeemed by accepting faults, absorbing them, and correcting the imbalance. With self- examination it could be said that one's own Golem is created and confronted.

The spiritual path towards the higher initiation of the Soul will take the seeker through various initiations, resulting in the purification of the self and knowledge of the True Self or Holy Guardian

Angel - and from there to the Higher Planes. Each stage will have its Golem. Even with

elementary rituals, such as a Middle Pillar exercise, or say a sephirothic meditation, a Golem is created and redeemed. The purification process has commenced and a step taken, however

small, towards the union with the spirit, where the Golem is no more. No wonder more than one lifetime is necessary!

3. Golem on a Golbal Scale
On a wider scale the Golem is said to be the symbol of the collective soul of the Jewish people,

whose progress supposedly reflects the state of humanity. In this respect the Golem can be seen as a reflection of the whole of humanity. It becomes the embodiment of the current condition of the world. It embraces the individual, communities, nations, nature, and the whole ecology of the

planet. The Golem stands before humanity, its creator, asking for redemption. This vision of the

world should present to ma nkind the good, the evil, and the means by which the world can be improved or released from its present state.

Golem's inability to speak.
The faculty of speech (and by extension, reason, free will, and consciousness) is the gift of God to humanity. Says Scripture: "Your eyes saw my unshaped flesh" (Tehillim 139), in which the last phrase translates the Hebrew word GoLeMI, to describe the process of God creating man (whether the text is applicable to every individual, or, as per the traditional view, quotes the words of Adam to God.) We ourselves are qolemim and qolemahot until God comes along and makes us fullv human, making us living souls bv breathing in the "breath of life."

The first theme is that two or more practitioners, working together, are needed to create a golem.

The use of gates and the pronunciation of the Divine names are both magic of the highest sort. It is because the magic involved is of a holy. Those who participate must be ritually clean, the robes they wear must be pure white, the clay and the water used must be pure, the room clean.

The purity of the materials is important, because the creation of a golem can be dangerous to the creator.

The second theme which is stressed is the purity of purpose with which the task must be

approached. A golem cannot be created for the purpose of evil (having no human soul, any sin the golem commits is a sin of the creator, not the creation). With the exception of Rava's solitary

achievement, solo attempts at golem creation call into question the practitioner's purity of purpose and, inevitably, bring harm to that person. It is also dangerous to use a golem for

simple, mundane tasks, as will be seen.
Sometimes a golem is created in order to avoid a transgression.

Every day he gains weight and becomes somewhat larger and stronger than all the others in the house, regardless of how little he was to begin with. But one man's golem once grew so

tall, and he heedlessly let him keep on growing so long that he could no longer reach his forehead. In terror he ordered the servant to take off his boots, thinking that when he bent down he could reach his forehead. So it happened, and the first letter was successfully erased, but the whole heap of clay fell on the Jew and crushed him.

Introduction
The following paper will discuss the important aspects of human nature that have a major

influence on the fulfillment of personally and professionally relationships. These concepts have been used primarily in a corporate setting with a senior executive and his or her staff. The goal is

always to significantly, radically and permanently change the communication behavior of the client and team. Improvement in the client's relationships and project productivity of 40 to 60% is not uncommon, given the high desire of employees to "use what works."

The concepts and skills discussed below are easy to understand, yet they may be disturbing to an individual's present worldview. However, this disturbance is short lived. Upon digestion and

application of the models, the immediate positive result soon overrides all discomfort. The return on investment is experienced the first time a client uses the new skills in a difficult relationship. There is an immediate sense of power and freedom when the client turns an uncomfortable interaction into a cooperative one.

What will be found here:
First, a short explanation of the Convergent Relationship Model will be given.

Second, a metaphor will be introduced in the story of the Golem. It will be important to

comprehend the Golem's purpose and value to each person in order to realize it's metaphorical impact on how relationships work and don't work.

Third, examples will be given of the Golem in our behavior and it's influence in relationships at work and at home.

Forth, the details of the Convergent Relationship Model will be explained and examples given. 1. What is the Convergent Relationship Model?

The Convergent Relationship Model explains how relationship models are formed, and why relationship miscommunications originate, develop and re-occur when people interact.

The Convergent Relationship Model was bom out of the need to answer these questions:
1. "Why do well educated, experienced, mature people sometimes communicate in ways that

have an unproductive, negative effect on their co-workers?"
2. "Why, when a person's intention is to inspire, inform, correct, re-align or acknowledge others,

they are often baffled by getting a contrary result?"
3. "Why are good intentions to be constructively helpful to others often received as criticism?"

Let's define convergent, convergence and relationship as they are being used here.

Convergent means the intention to come together from different directions, from several worldviews to one point of view, and to seek a common ground between theories or phenomena.

Convergence means the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity, and the independent development of common goals from personal views, habits or cultural traits.

Relationship means the state of being related, the relationship connection or the binding of

participants in a relationship, including a specific instance or type of kinship, and the relationship between the variables connecting or binding participants.

So, the Convergent Relationship Model proposes a means to answer the mysterious question of why some of the most valuable relationships are so difficult. Valuable relationships are with those

significant others in our daily life such as spouses, children, bosses, co-workers, employees and the occasional conversations with relatives and in-laws. All of the many acquaintances we

interact with each day (clerks, other drivers, attendants, etc.) are all equally important in the larger scheme of life, but we are first going to focus on those special people from whom we need

personal and professional cooperation and support.

The model is based on a fundamental assumption that 'Life is About Relationships' and that a successful life is based on the ability to have supportive and fulfilling interactions with other

people.

The Convergent Relationship Model explains:
1. Why people show a responsive, neutral. Questioning or reactive demeanor towards specific

behaviors of co-workers, family, friends and strangers.
2. Why these four behaviors are automatic, unconscious and recurring patterns.
3. Why we generalize personalities of others and miss the essence of how they see themselves. 4. Why others misunderstand our intentions, behaviors, and communications.
5. Why we can get others attention, yet may be unable to be understood.
6. Why we override common sense in favor of our beliefs.

7. Why discussions can accelerate to misunderstandings.
8. Why we prefer to be right rather than mutually productive.

The Convergent Relationship ModelTM resolves the:
1. Struggle new work teams experience due to differences in management style, cultural belief,

lifestyle, experience, maturity, gender, and commitment.
2. Loss of productivity, time and resources when communications break down.

3. Misunderstandings when attempting to communicate to others.
4. Compulsive, reactive, and unconscious behavior that does not produce the effect or results

we intended.
'Out of Options' syndrome that limits our communication with others

2. Golem story as a metaphor to explain the "Phantom Twin" (PT) created during early childhood conditioning.
The History of the Golem.
The word Golem derives from the Hebrew Golem, meaning 'shapeless man' or 'unformed material'. In Jewish folklore, a Golem resembles a human being, yet is an artificial figure, a robot like being, often created from clay or mud, and endowed with life through the use of magical language (Truth-Death). Even though artificially brought to life, the Golem is capable of threat to its creator.

The most famous Golem story concerns the 16th century cabalist Rabbi Low of Prague, (1513-

1609), who used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his people from

persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. The Golem served Rabbi Low as an intelligent

agent. The Golem exposed an accusation of ritual murder and succeeded in apprehending those who had falsely spread it. The rabbi was said to have made the Golem at the express order of

divine voice which revealed to him the life-giving formula in dream. He succeeded in the difficult task only with the aid of his two sons-in-law.

Golems have also appear in various forms in works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Karel

Capek's R.U.R. (where the word "robot" comes from), Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Golem, and (more recently) in Fox Television's The X Files and numerous speculative novels. Of course, a character named Golem also appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series, The Lord of the Rings,

although that character is essentially unrelated to traditional Golems.

The Story Golem
The Golem story offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of creating and unleashing

power or supernatural forces beyond human control - even with the best of intentions.

3. The Attributes of Golem

Though endowed with almost all human faculties, the Golem is cannot speak. His function is to hear and to execute the commands of his creator, which he does without either will or reason.

The Golem is invariably represented as a protector when humans are in despair of divine or

dependable aid. However it is able to learn and act on its own. It also grows in stature and power as time goes on.

Use as a Metaphor
As a metaphor it will be shown that how the creation of the Golem is similar to the creation of a

"Phantom Twin" in the psyche of children by their caregivers. This takes place during early childhood and adolescence when the child succumbs to the dominating worldview of the parents and other authority figures. The child has little choice but to adapt to the caregiver's 'normal' concepts and rules. This adapting to the caregivers "normal, causes the child's psyche splits into

two personalities. One aspect remains as the original child. The other, a phantom twin, eventually becomes a powerful force to protect the original child from feelings, pain and loss.

The original child) is the one we want the world to see - good, talented, the best, the chosen

one, and the hero or the heroine. This original child lives in fear of being found out, being accused of wrong behavior, making poor choices or being disconnected from it's perceived source of safety. When threatened it survives by adopting the learned feeling wiring of the caregivers.

The other twin, the phantom child, is the one who was psychically split off from the original child. This occurred when the adult's behavior and language created confusion and emotional distress around the child's lifeline or connection to the caregiver. The phantom child exists to protect the original child from emotional and physical pain and loss.

The following glossary describes various aspect of the phantom child: Golem: an artificial human endowed with life through ritual and language.

Phantom: something apparent to sense, but with no substantial existence - as a specter - something that haunts or perturbs the mind.

Shadow: partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of

light are cut off by an interposed opaque body; a reflected image; shelter from danger or observation; an imperfect and faint representation; an imitation of something; the dark figure cast

upon a surface by a body intercepting the rays from a source of light; a shaded or darker portion of a picture; an attenuated form or a vestigial remnant; an inseparable companion or follower.

Shade: comparative darkness or obscurity owing to interception of the rays of light; relative

obscurity or retirement; the shadows that gather as darkness comes on; used to signal the similarity between a previously encountered person or situation and one at hand; something that

intercepts or shelters from light, sun, or heat: as a device partially covering a lamp so as to reduce glare; a flexible screen usually mounted on a roller for regulating the light or the view

through a window.

Survival: the continuation of life or existence despite hardship, privation, affliction, suffering, distress, or loss.

Binary: involving a choice or condition of two alternatives

Persistent: to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning; to remain unchanged or fixed in a specified character, condition, or position.

Twin: born with one other or as a pair at one birth; made up of two similar, related, or connected members or parts; paired in a close or necessary relationship.

Persona: an individual's social facade, mask or front; the role in life the individual is playing; the personality that a person (as an actor or politician) projects in public.

Phantom Twin

Original Twin

Golem -"Yossele" From the commentary of Rabbi Eliezar Rokeach on the Book of Formation.

"An initiate should not do it alone, but should

always be accompanied by one or two colleagues."

"... must be made of

virgin soil, taken from a place where no man

has ever dug."

Comparison of the Creation of a'Golem' and a Child's "Phantom Twin" (PT)

Child Conditioned Unconsciously

• Raising of child involves a number of adults and authority

figures. They are unconscious of how their behavior splits the child's psyche in two.

• Caregivers shun asking for

guidance and feedback.
• The infant child seen as an

animal that must be trained, • The child is tainted from birth

by the unfulfilled phantom twin

in the parent.
• Thoughtforms, projected by

parents and other authority

figures on the virgin child, cause a split in the child's

psyche.
• The infant phantom twin is

born.
• Child is disoriented, confused.

Persistently acts out to get attention. Result does not

satisfy inner emptiness, yet

behavior is repeated.
• Parents unconscious of the

effect their behavior has on the creation of the persistent

persona.

• Parents unaware of the effect

their behavior has on the child's development, the PT

creates a gap between it's

thoughtform and the real-child. Parent refers to child as if it

was the PT.

"The soil must be kneaded with pure

spring water, taken directly from the ground."
"If this water is placed in any kind of vessel, it can no longer be used."

"The people making the Golem must purify

themselves totally before engaging in this activity, both

Child Conditioned Consciously

• Raising of child involves a

number of adults and authority

figures. They are conscious of how their behavior splits the

child's psyche in two.
• Caregivers seek guidance and

feedback from others. • The infant child is like

untainted, virgin soil.

• Thoughtforms, projected by

parents and other authority figures on the virgin child are

consciously understood
• The infant phantom twin is

born
• Child learns to adapt and

persist within appropriate

boundary & signals to get filled.

• Parents conscious of the effect

their behavior has on the creation of the persistent persona.

• Parents aware of the effect

their behavior has on the child's development, they

address the PT thoughtform

differently from the real-child. Parents differentiate between

child and PT.
• Parents must understand their

own PT so as not to project it

on the child.
• Parents understand their

hardwiring and projection.

physically and spiritually."
"While making the

Golem, they must wear clean white

vestments..."

"One must not make

any mistake or error in the pronunciation*.."

"no interruption whatsoever may occur..."

"... primarily not a

physical procedure, but rather, a highly advanced meditative technique."

"By chanting the appropriate letter

arrays together with the letters of the

Tetragrammaton, the initiate could form a

very real mental image of a human being, limb by limb..." "Once the conceptual Golem was

completed, this spiritual potential could be transferred to a clay form and actually animate it." "This was the process

through which a physical Golem would be brought to life."

The Maharal

reportedly deanimated Yossele after he had fulfilled his purpose and locked his body in the attic of Prague's "Old-New Synagogue." It is a matter of record that the Maharal enacted a ban on anyone

• Child leaves home to find

what's missing.
• Hearts desire nor souls

purpose cannot surface. • Lives by hardwiring.

• Parent relies on school and

government systems to bring

child to fulfillment.
• Parents cannot give a

relationship model they have not learned.

• Phantom Twin turns on the

creator.
• Continues to act as overseer

all of the adult life.

• Parents understand they cannot sustain clear

boundaries and behaviors

alone. Must agree to receive

others feedback.
• Mistakes admitted to and

talked about openly in front of

the child.
• Stress, exhaustion, anger,

angst, negativity cause by addictive - compulsive

behavior can influence the learning environment.

• Parent goes voluntarily down

into their own psyche to understand self.

• Parents develop a philosophy

to live by and pass it on to the

child.
• Inclusive, paradoxical, diverse,

assumes good and non- projecting.

• Child leaves to fulfill their

hearts desire and soul

purpose.
• Lives by healthy model of

relationships.

• Parents rely on parent-child

bond, learned values and a

healthy relationship model to

bring the child to fulfillment.
• Parents teach the relationship

model they have learned.

• Phantom twin naturally

seperates from it's creator, but

does not turn on it to distroy it. • Phantom Twin is no longer

needed to oversee the adults life and is given rest in a

accessable, yet safe place.

entering the attic of the "Old-New

Synagogue" and it "is widely believed that thebodyofYossele the Golem rests there to this day.

Winkler, Gershon. The Golem of Prague. The

Judaica Press, New York, 1994.

Kaplan, Aryeh. Sefer Yetsirah: The Book of

Creation, in Theory and Practice. Samuel Weiser Inc., York Beach, 1990.

••

Golem
Notes on the relationship between the Golem and the Survival Child.

The Golem is created during early childhood from the natural conditioning (rules learned on how to get along with others and staying safe in general) and from 'normal" conditioning (parents and

other authority figures hardwired conditioning imposed on the child).

meaning "something shapeless, an embryo." Incomplete, insect's cocoon, clod, a clumsy

person and a fool, not fully created, hence a monster, an automation
is an artificial figure resembling a human being, often created from clay or mud, and endowed

with life by a rabbi drawing selected passages of the Torah

of a robot-like being consisting of matter artificially brought to life and capable of threatening

its creator.

the product of a legendary act of creation through language

something like 'unformed material'

which inspired fear in the heart of his master can be understood as a warning against the

unthinking use of magical powers, which become too much for us, making us lose control the mythical clay creature of human form made in Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew Ben Bezalel

to protect the Jews from a pogrom.
To complete the Golem and put life in it a piece of paper with the word "Truth" was put in its

mouth.

The Maharal created his Golem, named "Yossele," to help save the Jews of Prague from the

blood libel. (For those of you who do not know, the blood libel was the belief that Jews used

the blood of a Christian child during the Passover Seder.

This malicious libel was frequently invoked to explain the disappearance of a child, and it was

not uncommon for a dead or murdered Christian child to be planted in a Jewish house, often

by a priest who would then "discover" this child and lead the masses on a murderous

rampage through the ghetto, during which much Jewish property could be confiscated for the

church.)
The Maharal reportedly deanimated Yossele after he had fulfilled his purpose and locked his

body in the attic of Prague's "Old-New Synagogue." It is a matter of record that the Maharal enacted a ban on anyone entering the attic of the "Old-New Synagogue" and it is widely

believed that the body of Yossele the Golem rests there to this day.

How to Make a Golem

Instructions for making a Golem, from the commentary of Rabbi Eliezar Rokeach on the Book of Formation.
How does one actually make a Golem? Rashi (10th century) commenting on the Talmudic account cited above explains that Rava made his Golem "by means of the Book of Formation" and all the sources agree that this is how a Golem is made. The procedure is described by Rabbi

Aryeh Kaplan:
An initiate should not do it alone, but should always be accompanied by one or two colleagues. The Golem must be made of virgin soil, taken from a place where no man has ever dug. The soil must be kneaded with pure spring water, taken directly from the ground. If this water is placed in any kind of vessel, it can no longer be used. The people making the Golem must purify themselves totally before engaging in this activity, both physically and spiritually, While making the Golem, they must wear clean white vestments...One must not make any mistake or error in the pronunciation...no interruption whatsoever may occur...
There is also evidence that creating a Golem was primarily not a physical procedure, but rather, a

highly advanced meditative technique. By chanting the appropriate letter arrays together with the letters of the Tetragrammaton, the initiate could form a very real mental image of a human being,

limb by limb...Once the conceptual Golem was completed, this spiritual potential could be

transferred to a clay form and actually animate it. This was the process through which a physical

Golem would be brought to life.

Golem References

Winkler, Gershon. The Golem of Prague. The Judaica Press, New York, 1994.
• Kaplan, Aryeh. Sefer Yetsirah: The Book of Creation, in Theory and Practice. Samuel Weiser

Inc., York Beach, 1990.

Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. Golem

offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control - even with the best of intentions.

Shadow
With light, the shadow is the Chinese vin and vanq; shadows are often identified with a person's

soul, and they are considered "dark entities with a nature all of their own" (Biederman, 303). From a Jungian perspective, shadows are the unconscious layers of the personality that are integrated

into the structure of the "experienced world" only through the process of individuation.

What is a Golem?
The word Golem derives from the Hebrew Golem, meaning "something shapeless." In Yiddish, this became goylem.
In Jewish folklore, a Golem is an artificial figure resembling a human being, often created from clay or mud, and endowed with life by a rabbi drawing selected passages of the Torah. The most famous Golem story concerns the 16th century cabalist Rabbi Low of Prague, although Golems have also appear in various forms in works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Karel Capek's R.U.R. (where the word "robot" comes from), Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Golem, and (more recently) in Fox Television's The X Files and numerous speculative novels. Of course, a character named Golem also appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series, The Lord of the Rings, although that character is essentially unrelated to traditional Golems.

Golem
An excerpt from Biederman: "A mythical symbolic figure of a robot-like being consisting of matter

artificially brought to life and capable of threatening its creator. Whereas Frankenstein's monster

(in Mary Shelley's novel of 1818) is supposedly put to get her from parts of human bodies, the Golem of Jewish myth is the product of a legendary act of creation through language. 'Golem'

literally means something like 'unformed material', like Adam before his soul was breathed into him.[The legendary Golem which inspired fear in the heart of his master]can be understood as a

warning against the unthinking use of magical powers, which become too much for us, making us lose contol" (156).

Yiddish goy/em-Hebrew glem, a shapeless thing, an embryo.]

Golem

you don't remember having built that solemn Golem;
and he would have you feel no guilt,

though you did mold him.

he, much to his own surprise, still believes you,

although the maze of your own lies now deceives you.

perhaps the evil that you've done will outlive you;
but he will whisper to your bones, "i forgive you."

Copyright 1994 Edward Gaillard. All rights reserved.
If you want to re-distribute this piece, please ask me. You can mail me at: qaillard@.panix.com

This classic film shot on location in pre-war Czechoslovakia, tells of the legendary Golem, a

popular medieval figure originating in Talmudic Legend. According to legend, the Golem was created to defend the Jews of Prague from a pogrom. A generation later, the Jewish community

is again threatened and the Golem is once again called upon, this time to save their spiritual leader from execution.

The first computer built in Israel was aptly named "Golem" after the mythical clay creature of human form made in Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew Ben Bezalel to protect the Jews from a

pogrom. Golem means incomplete. The Hebrew for an insect's cocoon is "Golem". The name is a derivative of the root "GLM" meaning raw as in raw material. The Talmud considers Golem in

various passages as a clod, a clumsy person and a fool. In short a Golem is a klutz. To complete the Golem and put life in it a piece of paper with the word "Truth" was put in its mouth. This is an

amazing parable. The shaped clod, the hardware, received the software in the form of a written word. In time it became too powerful and independent. A danger to his master, the bucking Golem had to be destroyed. The destruction was achieved by putting a bug in the software. The first letter was removed from "EMETH" - truth and the result was "METH" - dead.

God is to Golem as man is to Machines? in Jewish legend, Golem is an embryo Adam, shapeless and not fully created, hence a monster, an automation.

In the spring of 1580, the Great Rabbi of Prague, Yehudah Loevy ben Beralel (15 13-1 609) created a man out of clay (a Golem) to protect the Jews from persecution. For four centuries, the

mystique of the Golem of Prague has tantalized the curiosity of scholars and laymen alike, both Jewish and Christian. Finally, the Golem has been skillfully captured within the dramatic confines of a definitive and enlightening portrayal. . . FEATURING: A newly dramatized and illustrated adaptation of the documented adventures of the Golem of Prague. A comprehensive overview of kabbalah, black magic, demonology, science vs. miracles, and the other Golems in Jewish history. The first serious attempt to examine the Golem epic in anon-legendary fashion. Within

this all-inclusive framework, contemporary readers are invited to become involved in the startling

experience of one of the most controversial metaphysical feats on record-and its after math. This book promises to become a milestone in the clearer understanding of the traditional Jewish

perspective of the occult and the supernatural.

THE GOLEM and How He Came Into the World

The Tradition of the Golem
The Jewish tradition of the Golem is a vast subject, on which entire books have been written.

Only a brief overview is attempted here; the reader is referred to the references cited below for further information. The creation of a Golem by Rabbi Abba ben Rav Hamma ("Rava") is

recorded in the Talmud (4th century C.E.).

Rava created a man. He sent it before Rav Zera. He spoke to it, but it did not answer. He said, "You must have been created by one of my colleagues. Return to dust." (Sanhedrin 65b)
The Talmud mentions this episode in passing, during a discussion of other topics. To the Sages of the Talmud, the creation of a Golem was not in and of itself particularly remarkable. Anyone who could cleave to God sufficiently would be able to perform such a feat. According to Jewish tradition, many other holy Rabbis and Sages also created human and animal Golems, such as Rabbis Channina and Hoshia, Ben Sira, Joseph's eleven brothers, and the Patriarch Abraham. But by far the most famous Golem is the one created by Rabbi Yehudah Levi ben Betzalel of Prague, known as "the Maharal".

This statue of the Golem of Prague stands at the entrance to the city's Jewish sector. (Photo from "The Golem of Prague")

The Maharal created his Golem, named "Yossele," to help save the Jews of Prague from the

blood libel. (For those of you who do not know, the blood libel was the belief that Jews used the

blood of a Christian child during the Passover Seder. This malicious libel was frequently invoked

to explain the disappearance of a child, and it was not uncommon for a dead or murdered

Christian child to be planted in a Jewish house, often by a priest who would then "discover" this

child and lead the masses on a murderous rampage through the ghetto, during which much

Jewish property could be confiscated for the church.) Many stories are told about "The Golem of

Prague." The Maharal reportedly deanimated Yossele after he had fulfilled his purpose and

locked his body in the attic of Prague's "Old-New Synagogue." It is a matter of record that the

Maharal enacted a ban on anyone entering the attic of the "Old-New Synagogue" and it is widely

believed that the body of Yossele the Golem rests there to this day. The "Old-New Synagogue"

miraculously survived the destruction of synagogues by the Nazis, and its attic was not entered even by the Gestapo.

How to Make a Golem

Instructions for making a Golem, from the commentary of Rabbi Eliezar Rokeach on the Book of Formation.
How does one actually make a Golem? Rashi (10th century) commenting on the Talmudic account cited above explains that Rava made his Golem "by means of the Book of Formation" and all the sources agree that this is how a Golem is made.

The procedure is described by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan;

An initiate should not do it alone, but should always be accompanied by one or two colleagues.

The Golem must be made of virgin soil, taken from a place where no man has ever dug. The soil

must be kneaded with pure spring water, taken directly from the ground. If this water is placed in

any kind of vessel, it can no longer be used. The people making the Golem must purify themselves totally before engaging in this activity, both physically and spiritually. While making

the Golem, they must wear clean white vestments...One must not make any mistake or error in

the pronunciation...no interruption whatsoever may occur...
There is also evidence that creating a Golem was primarily not a physical procedure, but rather, a

highly advanced meditative technique. By chanting the appropriate letter arrays together with the letters of the Tetragrammaton, the initiate could form a very real mental image of a human being,

limb by limb...Once the conceptual Golem was completed, this spiritual potential could be transferred to a clay form and actually animate it. This was the process through which a physical Golem would be brought to life.
Golem References
Winkler, Gershon. The Golem of Prague. The Judaica Press, New York, 1994.
Kaplan, Aryeh. Sefer Yetsirah: The Book of Creation, in Theory and Practice. Samuel Weiser Inc., York Beach, 1990.

Golem is the Hebrew word for shapeless man. According to Jewish legend, the renowned scholar

and teacher Rabbi Loew used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his

people from persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. (This was the time of the Blood

Lie, when hostile gentiles claimed that Jews were mixing the blood of Christian children with the flour and water of matzo.) David Wisniewski's cut-paper collage illustrations-which earned him

the Caldecott Medal in 1997-are the ideal medium for portraying the stark black-and-white forces

of good and evil, pride and prejudice, as well as the gray area that emerges when the tormented

clay giant loses control of his anger. Echoing the tension and mood of Frankenstein, Wisniewski sends the tragic giant back to the blood red earth that birthed him.

Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. Golem

offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control - even with the best of intentions.

THE GOLEM HIDES
There is an ancient legend among the Jewish people, a

tale so bizarre it ought not be repeated too widely, for if it were to prove true-may God forbid it should-but if it were true, Sheol itself might disgorge much of its imprisoned prey.

It would be better to say no more.

But, unfortunately, someone has disclosed too much

already, and now we may but watch in horror the events which inevitably will follow...

First, however, before we divulge the situation at

large, let us go back in time and discuss what a Golem is...or was.

The story the rabbis tell is that long ago someone discovered how Adam was formed and tried to duplicate the work of creation by molding "clay" into a giant man and animating it by pronouncing the sacred name of the Almighty. Satan then entered into this soul-less giant and gave it a kind of life. This giant was a "Golem."

In one legend the Jews record, the first one to make

a Golem was thought to have been Enoch, the first-born son of Seth, whom Genesis says took Abel's place after Cain had consumed him in his anger. This Enoch is not
the same as the 7th-born Enoch whose words are quoted in the epistle of Jude, but an earlier ancestor of the more famous Enoch.

It would appear the original rabbinical speculation
had been about how long ago the first Golem could have been made. Genesis says that when Enoch was born, "men

began to call upon the name of the LORD." Because the sacred name is considered the key to animating a Golem,

it follows that no Golem could have been made prior to the birth of Enoch, son of Seth.

But at the time of this Enoch's birth, there were, in

theory, only a handful of "men" alive: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Cain, and his first-born, Enosh. So who was calling upon the name of the LORD? And why?

If it had been Seth, why wouldn't Genesis simply say so?

Why, the rabbis wondered, did the text not simply declare
that Adam and Seth began to call upon the sacred name when

Enoch was bom?

Now Enoch was just a baby, of course, and so he hardly could be the one referred to. The story that it was Enoch who made the first Golem, then, may be a confusion with the rabbinical observation that no Golem could have been made before Enoch's birth. Or it may be a confusion with Enosh, the son of Cain.

Enosh was of the same generation as Seth. Genesis does not name the "men" who began calling upon the sacred name, which allows for the possibility the "men" were Cain and
his son Enosh. Why would they try to manufacture a giant?

We suspect some sort of ancient genetic experimentation was being conducted because not only does Genesis later say

so, but virtually every other cultural tradition of mankind records myths and legends of similar nature. Every ethnic

memory retains a tale or two of mutant giants on the earth in past ages. Like the universal Flood stories, the giant stories are part of the common heritage of all humanity.

More than mere legend supports this idea. We have, for

example, great megalithic stone structures around the globe which seem to have been built oversize, as if for giants,
and whose massive building blocks would have challenged even the vaunted strength of giants to heft and position them. Their global remains match the global giant myths, and in many places the peoples insist the giants of their myths were indeed the builders of these structures.

There are also lots of giant bones and skeletons lying about, not to mention modern reports of very large humanoid

creatures or "Bigfoot" type entities. It may shock people

to be told this, but one of the beliefs of the Nazis was

that they were descended from the Nepilim, the giants of

old. The goal of the Nazi breeding program was to rebuild

these old "Nephilim" genes, thereby producing a race of new

"supermen" equipped with great stature and supernatural and

occult powers. The Nazis believed killing the Jews was the

required blood-sacrifice needed to animate a new generation of super-men with Luciferian powers.

The strong parallels between the Nazi creation of a race
of demonic super-men and the legends of the Golem should be viewed as no accident. The Nazi SS leaders devoted a lot
of effort to studying precisely this kind of material.

All of which brings us back to Cain and Enosh. If there is any truth to the legend, the Nazi model may provide the

clue that explains why the first Golem might have been made after Enoch was born. The Nazis were planning to conquer the world, gain dominion, and exterminate all the competing races. Could Cain have had similar motives?

Genesis makes Cain to be the first-born, and therefore,
the presumed heir to Adam's dominion. But after he kills Abel, Cain is exiled to the east toward the Mesopotamian valley where Babel and Babylon would arise, and modern-day Iraq. As an exile, Cain would have dreamed of restoration.

He would have wanted to return in triumph, succeeding Adam as ruler of mankind. Having killed Abel, he assumed there

was no one to oppose him. But Seth was born, then Enoch. Cain began to realize he needed to compete by multiplying his descendents.

But Genesis records a curious phenomenon: Though Cain had a decided advantage of an extra generation head-start, he produced fewer generations than Seth did. There is a hint here that something was genetically wrong with Cain.

And the rabbis support it. Cain's offspring, they say, suffered from either giantism or dwarfism. Moreover, Cain was said to have a horn growing out of his forehead. He had inherited this mutation from his father, an angel the Jewish legends call "Samael"~the angel of Mars who later is called "Satan'-meaning the Accuser or Prosecutor, one who sat in judgment over mankind to condemn it to death.

The assumed scenario implied by all of this is that an

attempt was made to modify Cain's genetic inheritance in order to compete with Seth's line. Out of this grew the

legend of the Golem.

But there is another, more sinister, level to the myth

of the Golem. It was to serve as a physical body for the

indwelling of Satan. The Golem had no soul of its own to be "possessed" by Satan, which allowed it to be used in a

more complete and powerful manner than in a "possession."

In the old stories, the angel Samael had a magnificent

angelic body or "Mantle" which was removed or lost in his rebellion. He is condemned as Satan to "go on thy belly"

or his inner spiritual being, and to "eat dust all the

days of thy life" or devour human bodies-take possession of human hosts-in order to be active: A form of what is

now called reincarnation.

Could it be, then, that this fallen angelic creature found itself without a body and coaxed his first-bom son

and grandson into using occult means of fashioning him a giant, replacement body? A Golem?

Jewish historians record the last supposedly genuine Golem was made in Prague in the sixteenth century, but was never destroyed. The giant hulk of this super "man"

may yet be lurking in its dull esoteric slumber away in some dank stone chamber in the old city, a rusted-out old

lock on a termite-ridden door all that stands between the sleeping Golem and an unsuspecting world.

But fallen angels have higher goals than Frankenstein creatures in forgotten European lofts. They have their eye on choicer victims.

If you were seeking a body, a vessel to occupy for the

grand finale of human history, would you settle for some moldy sixteenth century Golem, or might you prefer a more

princely portion; handsome, rich and powerful?

Former mighty ones cast from the high battlements of Heaven must surely select a succulent slice of Scottish laddie over even the best-preserved Medieval Golem.

And what if that Highlander were an "immortal" as the
old clan legends tell? Perhaps there's more to all these ancient claims of "Mighty Men of old, the men of renown" than we have dared suspect. Can a child be brought into the world without a soul? Are the Nephilim genes still
with us? Does the blood of angels flow in our veins? Do giants walk among us? Are our dreams haunted by the auld din of warring seraphim?

Can a handsome young man truly be a Golem?

Does evil prefer beauty and glamour over ugliness? Is our naive habit of equating wickedness with warts leading us into deception? Perhaps the truth is too obvious:

The Golem hides.

Threshold
The threshold signifies the passage from one level to an other, usually from a lower, earthly plane to a higher, spiritual one. It is the entrance to a new world, the boundary at which the natural

meets the supernatural. The term is often used to figuratively mark a moment of transition, perhaps the entrance t o adulthood.

"Golem, in Jewish folk-lore, an image endowed with life as result of wonder-working words... The most famous Golem was that, made by Judah Low of Prague (1513-1609), known as Der Hohe

Rabbi Low, one of the great figures in Jewish history, about whom many legends have been woven. This Golem was created by the rabbi at a time of great peril for the Jews, and served his master as an intelligent agent. He exposed an accusation of ritual murder and succeeded in apprehending those who had falsely spread it. The rabbi was said to have made the Golem at the express order of divine voice which revealed to him the life-giving formula in dream; he succeeded in the difficult task only with the aid of his two sons-in-law, both pious and learned men. The Golem would execute every command of his master, perfoming every manner of service for him and for the community. For fear that the Golem would profane the Sabbath, Rabbi Low would remove the life-pinciple from him on Friday eve, leaving him a heap of clay during the Sabbath. One Friday, Low forgot to withdraw the magic formula; there was danger that the Golem

might desecrate the Sabbath and become a menace to the city. The rabbi pursued him and finally

caught up with him just outside the Synagogue, whereupon the robot fell to pieces. Its remains are said to lie in the debris of the ancient

Synagogue of Prague (AltNeueSchul - We can also add that the first image of the Golem from

Prague was done by great belarussian Dr. Skaryna from Polotsk). Elijah Vilna (1720-97) and Israel Baal Shem Tob (1700-60), the founder of Hasidism, are said to have created Golems; Reb Dovidl of Dorhiczn ( now - Belarussian city - Daragiczyn), in the province of Grodno, the last of the series is said to have called into life a Golem that heated the stoves of the Jewish householders on the Sabbath and perfomed other work for them on the day of rest. The Golem is invariably represented as protecting the persecuted Jews when they are in despair of human aid. Though endowed with almost all human faculties, the Golem can not speak. His function is to hear and to execute the commands of his master, which he does without either will or reason..."

From Golem by Moshe Idel pp. 4-5

According to several medieval versions of the creation of the anthropoid, this creature appears when the word 'emet, truth, is written on its forehead.

[1] All these versions are from the high
Middle Ages and I am not acquainted with any ancient Jewish tradition

related to this detail. Nevertheless, it seems that the fact that this word appears on the forehead is of extreme importance for

establishing the antiquity of the source of the Golem legend. Let me start with the occurrence of the dictum "Truth has a locus

standi, whereas Falsehood had no foothold."

[2] As pointed out by
Alexander Schreiber and Haim Scwartzbaum, this statement is reminiscent

of a tradition found in Phaedrus' fable on Prometheus and Dolus,

entitled De Veritas et Mendacio.

[3] According to this ancient fable,
Prometheus has formed Truth, and anthropoid female, out of fine

clay. This figure was copied by his apprentice, Dolus, the Cunning. However, the later did not have enough material to finish the copy
of Truth, and his figure remained without feet. After the two statues had been baked and life had been breathed into them, Truth was able to walk, whereas the copy did not; this is the reason why it was concieved as Mendacity, the name of the imperfect copy; it has no feet.

[4] It is pertinent to recall that Prometheus is, according to Greek mythology, the titan who created the first man,

[5] and the
creation of "Truth" is presumably part of his endeavor to establish

a better society guided by truth.

The similarity between the Jewish dictum and the Greek description of

mendacity is striking: the conception of falsehood as lacking feet is sufficient in order to assume a certain relationship between to two discussions. However, the scholars who have pointed out the surprising affinity between these texts, have ignored the similarity between the context of occurrence of the dictum in the respective discussions: in the Greek fable it is connected to to fabrication

of an artificial entity, in the medieval Hebrew sources Truth is inscribed on the forehead of an anthropoid, which apparently was

supposed to walk, at least according to the Talmudic passage. Thus, two aspects of the Greek fable can be found in sepearte contexts

in different Hebrew sources, one ancient and the other medieval; these sources have, nevertheless, something in common, for they deal with the word 'emet. Consequently, I would like to propose
an hypothesis regarding the occurrence of the two elements in Jewish sources: a tradition similar to that inherited by Phaedrus, apparently of Greek extraction, and presumably predating the composition of the fable in Rome in the first century C.E., was known by Palestinian Jewish masters. The fact that only a part of it, that dealing with

mendacity, was integrated in ancient Jewish material, may indicate that the entire story was already known to Jews in ancient times,

though the part connect to the Truth was not written down, for unknown reasons. Prometheus' creation of the Truth out of clay and

his breathing life into it might have reminded some Jews of the creation of man out of dust and the induction of life by God, a fact which possibly facilitated the absorption of this tradition
in Jewish sources.

[6]
Excerpt from Moshe Idel's Golem. 1. See below ch. 5, par. 8 and n. 58

2. BT Shabbat, fol. 104a. Additional occurrences, in the versions of the Alphabet of R. 'Aquiva' were indicated

by Haim Schwarzbaum, Studies in Jewish and World Folklore

(Berlin, 1968), p. 379. See also Liebes,"Christian Influences," . 60 n.55

3. Alexander Schreiber, "Die Luege hat keine Fuesse, zu den antikent Zusammenhaengen de Aggada," Acta Antiqua, vol. 9

(1961) pp. 305-306. Schwarzbaum, ibid., pp. 378-379.

4. Ben Edwin Perry, Babrius and Phaedrus, (London-Cambridge, Mass, Harvard Univ. Press, 1965), pp. 376-379. On the similarity between the description of Prometheus as "figulus" and the

conception of God as a potter in Isa. 29:16; see Ernest R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. W.R. Trask (London, 1953) p. 544. See also below, ch. 3, n. 29.

Compare also to R. Eleazar of Worms, Sefer ha-Hokhmah, p. 18 5. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1-2.

Summary of the myth

6. In some other cases as well it is plausible that Prometheus-

myths influences ancient Jewish legends; see e.g. Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch, vol. 5 pp. XLVIIIXLIX

There are some interesting parallels between the Jewish tradition of the artificial creation of an anthropoid and other traditions.Simon Magus was reported in the Clementime Recognitiones as

boasting that he "can render statues animated, so that those who see them suppose that they are men."

[1] The pinacle of his achievements was the creation of a boy by manipulating the air: 'Once upon a time, I, by my power, turning air into water,

and water again into blood, and solidifying it into flesh, formed a new human creature -a boy- and produced a much nobler work than God the Creator. For He created a man from the earth, but I from air - a far more difficult
matter; and again I unmade him and restored him in to air, but not until I had placed his picture and image in my bedchamber, as a proof and memorial of my work.' Then we understood that he spake concerning that boy, whose soul, after he had been slain by violence,

[2] he made use of those services which he requires. [3]

The background for this attainment is the attempt to emulate God,

obviously creation is a powerful magical act - and creation of life the most powerful of all. Simon used the soul of the boy to undertake

certain magical operations. The violent death of the boy is mentioned and it seems that there is some relationship between such a death and the magical use of the soul. According to some medieval texts, if someone is killed when thinking about a certain issue, his soul will continue to think, and act, according to the specific thought in the moment of his death.

[4]
The matter used by Simon is air, which was further transformed into a body by several

transformations, this process in itself can be seen as a manifestation of alchemy. Ultimatly Simon restored the body to air. It is important to note that this body should not be seen as the soul, as the soul was still under the power of the magician. This tradition seems to point to the Jewish tradition where the Zelem, (which is identical with the term Golem), is seen as an etheral body. Now, as Moshe Idel said in his book Golem. Golem refers in medieval Hebrew both to a magically created body out of dust, and in other contexts, to the spiritual body that differs from the soul, and is formed out of the air of Paradise

[5]-
Moshe Idel hyposthesises an archaric Jewish tradition, dealing with the creation of a man, as

exposed by Simon, used the term Golem. In this sense, Golem referred to the physical form of the body. The elements of this body could include dust, air or other stuffs. After a while, a spjjt

occurred in the way this term was used in Hebrew; in some circles it referred to the creation of a man from dust, in others, the term meant also the bodily form, but it was connect to the structure of the body as represented by the word Zelem, the etheral body. Whether or not new data will substantiate this claim remains to be seen, however some scholars have already remarked that there is an affinity between the Pseudo=Clementine texts and Jewish material, including Sefer Yetzirah. .

1. The Recognitions of Clement, Book 2, ch. 9, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids,

Michigan, 1951), p.99. Compare also ibid. Book 3, chapter 57, p.126; The Clementine Homilies, Homily 2, chapters 32,34, p.235; Homily 4, ch. 4, p.252. See also Butler, The Myth of the Magus

(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1980) pp.80-82; Fossum, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord, pp 113-113 and Scholem, "The Idea of the Golem," p. 172.
2. A violent death was concieved as a way to prepare the soul of the murdered person to

accomplish magical acts. Yohanan Alemanno mentioned the view of some magicians who indicated that by killing someone condemned to a death penalty, when the murdered individual

thought about a certain issue, his soul would continue to perform that issue, a fact that was used to manipulate dead. Cf. Sha'ar ha-Hesheq, fol, 43a, idem, Collectanaea, Ms. Oxford 2234, fol.

15a
3. Ante-Nicene Fathers Book 2, Ch. 15, p. 101. Compare also The Clementine Homilies, Homily

2, ch. 26, pp. 233-234
4. Probably the most famous example of this in literature is in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Act 3,

Scene 3. Where Hamlet does not kill the King when he has the chance, because he is praying. Instead Hamlet decides to wait until the King is drunk, or swearing.
5. It seems that perhaps "dust" can be seen as a metaphor for an etheral matter - whereas air is more in line with the conception of the astral.

The Golem

From: Jeffrey Smith (f901030k(a),bcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us)

About the Golem:

There is nothing directly alchemical about the Golem. The "Maharal", Rabbi Judah Loew of

Prague, was a notable rabbi and Kabbalist whom legend credited with creation of a Golem for the sake of defending the Jews of Prague against a blood libel and pogrom . I forget the dates; it may

have been during the time of Rudolf, but I am not sure. One version of the legend states that the Golem, once deactivated, was placed in the attic of the "Altneuschul", the principal synagogue of Prague. This, to the best of my memory (which is not working too well this morning), survived the

Nazis, and can be visited today.
The means of creating a Golem come out of the Sefer Yetzirah school, and traditions about them

reach back to Talmudic times and possibly earlier.
The principal methods involve combinational meditation of the Hebrew alphabet and magical use of the Name of God. The Golem of Prague is merely the most recent, and famous because it attracted the attention of several writers and film makers in the ear ly part of this century.

Tachat haRachamim. Jeffrey Smith

From: rec@.rca.ac.uk (Robin E. Cousins)

On 19.7.95 Jeffrey Smith wrote:
There is nothing directly alchemical about the Golem'

The creation of a Golem is a process comparable to alchemy. It is likewise a spiritual quest. The creation of the Golem was (is) a mystical experience, a ritual representing the creation of Adam

Kadmon, the principal man.

The instructions (the most precise were by Eleazar of Worms (1160-1230)) leave no space for the Golem to exist in the physical world, but using the alphabetic combinations with the IHVH (231

permutations, but 462 in all to create from and return to dust) would no doubt induce a change of consciousness. There is a strict order, which would result in a very formal recitation, both magical

and meditative.

It is possible that the mystical experience could be a vision of the Golem in the form of the operator's doppelqanqer - a reflection and hence a lower form of him/herself. The double would

allow the magician to perceive and so discover the evil forces wit hin himself; exorcise them; and evolve further along the road to redemption. It is a kind of self-purification process. The magician, as the creator, is in the superior position - the doppelganger is now the Lower Self, which can be redeemed by accepting faults, absorbing them, and correcting the imbalance. With self- examination it could be said that one's own Golem is created and confronted.

The spiritual path towards the higher initiation of the Soul will take the seeker through various initiations, resulting in the purification of the self and knowledge of the True Self or Holy Guardian

Angel - and from there to the Higher Planes. Each stage will have its Golem. Even with elementary rituals, such as a Middle Pillar exercise, or say a sephirothic meditation, a Golem is created and redeemed. The purification process has commenced and a step taken, however

small, towards the union with the spi rit, where the Golem is no more. No wonder more than one lifetime is necessary!

On a wider scale the Golem is said to be the symbol of the collective soul of the Jewish people.

whose progress supposedly reflects the state of humanity. In this respect the Golem can be seen

as a reflection of the whole of humanity. It becomes the embod iment of the current condition of

the world. It embraces the individual, communities, nations, nature, and the whole ecology of the

planet. The Golem stands before humanity, its creator, asking for redemption. This vision of the world should present to ma nkind the good, the evil, and the means bv which the world can be

improved or released from its present state. If only.

Incidentally, if one wants to believe in Rabbi Loew's Golem, the fact that somebody crawled into the attic of the Staronova Skola and saw nothing (according to one guidebook) should not be a

disappointment. There was an exhibition organised by the Goethe Institute the other year devoted to old manuscripts and prayer books culled from the lofts of synagogues in Germany and legend

says that the Golem was hidden under such a heap. Judging from the photos, most of the mss had rotted over the centuries to du st and debris often knee-deep, so the Golem would just

become indistinguishable from the muck, which was probably swept away during some officious bout of spring-cleaning. Rabbi Loew died in 1609, so he was concurrent with Rudolf and Dee.

Robin C.
From: Jeffrey Smith

Robin has spoken some good thoughts about the concept of the Golem. One of the motifs that has not been touched on in this thread, which is of some importance in the tradition, is the Golem's inability to speak.
The faculty of speech (and by extension, reason, free will, and consciousness) is the gift of God to humanity. Says Scripture: "Your eyes saw my unshaped flesh" (Tehillim 139), in which the last

phrase translates the Hebrew word Goleml, to describe the process of God creating man (whether the text is applicable to every individual, or, as per the traditional view, quotes the words of Adam to God.) We ourselves are Golemim and Golemahot until God comes along and makes us fullv human, making us living souls bv breathing in the "breath of life."

For those really interested in the matter, Moshe Idel wrote a book covering the entire tradition, entitled quite reasonably "Golem". I have yet to read it, but he is a reliable and perceptive writer who is not always in tune with the standard academic p arty line.

Tachat haRachamim. Jeffrey Smith

Rava's Golem

Abba Ben Rav Hamma (299-353 C.E.) was a rich merchant of Mehoza, a city on the Tigris tocated near the Malkha River. Better known as Rava, he was on close terms with the Persian

royal house. Together with Rav Abaye (d c. 338 C.E.), Rava was one of the central pillars of

Babylonian Talmudic learning. The discourses of these two scholars and commentaries which elaborate upon their theories are still taught today.

To those who study the Kabbalah, Rava is also known for his delvings into the Sefer Yetzirah and his use of its teachings to create a Golem. The Sefer Yetzirah is, perhaps, the most important work of Jewish mysticism. This text is said to contain the secrets of the creative processes by

which God brought the universe into being. Tradition holds that the Sefer Yetzirah was written by the patriarch Abraham and that he used the methods found within the text to create souls (Genesis 12:5).

Yet even Abraham, as righteous as he was, did not study the mysteries of this work alone. A late Midrashic text written by R. Yehuda Barceloni states that Abraham, along with his teacher Shem, the son of Noah,"... meditated on the Sefer Yetzirah until they knew how to create a world." Both Rava and Abraham, students of the Divine creative process, were constrained by the injunction, as recorded by Barceloni:". . . take a companion, and meditate on it together, and you will understand it." Rava studied and meditated for three years with Rabbi Zera, at the end of which they produced a calf and then immediately forgot the knowledge which they had learned. After three additional years, they managed the same feat.

Rava, however, seems to have progressed to a point at which he could utilize the concepts found in Sefer Yetzirah on his own, without help from Rabbi Zera. No less an authority than the Talmud

states that "Rava created a man and sent him to R. Zera. The rabbi spoke to him but he did not answer. Then he said: 'You are from the pietists. Return to your dust."' (S, Sanhedrin, 65b) The Talmud does not go into detail as to how Rava accomplished this feat, but Rashi states in his commentary that it was through study of Sefer Yetzirah.

Note 1 This is the only instance in the Talmud which refers directly to the creation of a humanoid

Golem.

That the Talmud is silent on the technique used in the creation of the Golem is interesting. It is as

if the creation of a Golem were something so unremarkable that further discussion were

unnecessary. Rava's Golem is unique in Kabbalistic literature in that it was created by the meditations of one man, without harm befalling him, and not by two or more as in other cases

which are explored below.

Note 2
Within the mystical texts relating to the creation of Golems two themes consistently reappear. The first theme is that two or more practitioners, working together, are needed to create a Golem, and there are many instances of this occurring. For example, every Friday Rabbis Hanina and Hoshia studied Sefer Yetzirah to create a prime calf which they ate as their Sabbath dinner (B Sanhedrin 67b). Rabbi Schlomo ben Aderet, known as The Rashba, held that it was significant that this was done on Friday, the day in which mammals were originally created (Genesis 1:24).

Note 3
In many cases the completion of the study of Sefer Yetzirah was marked by the ritual of creating

a Golem. The Golem was not used for any purpose other than to demonstrate that the Sefer Yetzirah had been mastered, and the Golem was de-constructed upon its completion. Rabbi

Loew, the Maharal of Prague, by contrast, together with his son-in- law, R. Isaaac ha-Kohen and his disciple, Rabbi Ya'aqov Sason ha- Levi created a Golem and successfully saved the Jews of

Prague from blood libel. This is a rare instance of a Golem being created with a specific purpose other than proof of mastery of the Sefer Yetzirah.

Golems can be created using many different methods, according to the sources. Some state that it is accomplished through combinations of letters. These combinations are called "gates," the number of gates differing according to the various Kabbalistic schools, and ranging in number from 231 to as many as 271, depending upon how the letters are to be combined.

Note 4 Other schools taught that a Golem was created through the utterance of the Divine Names. The Talmud records that there are 12. 42. and even 72 letter names of God which might have been used for this purpose.

Note 5 Many schools, such as the Hasidim, held that the Hebrew word 'emet [truth] should be inscribed upon the forehead of the Golem. Among a number of methods of de-constructing a

Golem, a common one was the erasure of aleph, the first letter of emet. This leaves the word met [dead] which destroys the Golem.

The use of gates and the pronunciation of the Divine names are both magic of the highest sort.

Magical practices are forbidden in the Hebrew Bible, but the Talmud allows "activities like those of Rabbi Hanina and Rabbi Hoshia" (B Sanhedrin, 67B). It is because the magic involved is of a

holy nature (there being nothing holier than the name of God) that the issue of purity repeatedly arises. Those who participate must be ritually clean, the robes they wear must be pure white, the

clay and the water used must be pure, the room clean.

The purity of the materials is important, but not as critical as the purity of purpose of those who would explore the secrets of the Sefer Yetzirah. This is because the creation of a Golem can be

dangerous to the creator. Therefore, the second theme which is stressed is the purity of purpose with which the task must be approached. A Golem cannot be created for the purpose of evil

(having no human soul, any sin the Golem commits is a sin of the creator, not the creation). With the exception of Rava's solitary achievement, solo attempts at Golem creation call into

question the practitioner's purity of purpose and, inevitably, bring harm to that person. It is also dangerous to use a Golem for simple, mundane tasks, as will be seen.

The intent, in most cases, is to attain a greater understanding of the creative process. In some

cases, such as Rabbi Loew's famous Golem, the intent is the protection of a community. Sometimes a Golem is even used in order to avoid a transgression.

Note 6 No matter how pure the purpose, however, the creation itself could not be perfect. In Tractate Sanhedrin 65B we read that Rava himself said, "if the righteous wished, they could create a world, for it is written, 'your iniquities have been a barrier between you and your God.'" The imperfection in all Golem accounts save one is the muteness of the Golem. It is because of this imperfection that Rav Zera was able to distinguish Rava's Golem for what it was and to dismiss it as he did.

The Maharal commented in his Chidushei Agados that when Rava

would purify himself and meditate on Sefer Yetzirah, concentrating intensely on the different Names of God, he would thereby cleave very closely to God and be able at such moments to create a person. But this person would have no power of speech for that far was Rava's energy not able to extend itself. . . For he was a human being himself; and how would it then be possible for him to create a complete person just like himself? (II: 166).

A Golem will always be somewhat less than human.
Over two hundred years before the Maharal was born, the great Spanish mystic, Abraham Abulafia, also commented on the concept of purity of purpose. Abulafia held that nothing was actually created when a Golem was formed, believing that the creation of a Golem was a

meditative exercise, not a physical one. Even so, he wrote in Hayyei ha-'Olam ha-Ba' that those who pursue". . . the lore of the name in order to operate thereby corporeal issues. . . even if he express by his mouth or things in his heart that he recites the name for the glory of God, it is

not so and. . , this man is wicked and a sinner, who defiles the name of God." (Folio 80a-80b) Abulafia's words are strong reminders that it is not enough to say or feel that the task undertaken

is a holy one. The purity of purpose must be "soul deep." Therefore, it does not matter whether a Golem is to be used for evil purposes. Anything less than a perfect purpose is not enough.

Abulafia was one of the mystics who taught that a Golem is created through the pronunciation of the Divine Name. He used the 72-letter name of God in his school of meditation, each syllable corresponding to a particular limb or organ in the Golem. To highlight the dangers of this exercise, he further wrote that the practitioner must be careful not to mispronounce anything. If so, harm will befall not the creation but the creator.

Note 7

Various tales demonstrate the danger to the creator when purity of purpose is questionable. Furthermore,

the vast majority of these accounts tell of Golems created by individuals, thus highlighting the importance

of pure purpose in combination with a partner. The Talmud says that "two scholars sharpen each other's

minds in the study of the law" (fl Shabbat 63a). The tractate goes on to further state that the scholars will

not prosper nor rise to greatness "if their studies are not sincerely motivated" and that this is also so "if they

become conceited [because of their knowledge]."
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Even one as great as the Maharal was an inadvertent victim when his Golem was used for a mundane task. Though he had left instructions with his wife, Perele, that Yoselle the Mute was to be left alone, she took it upon herself to put him to work. She showed him how to draw water and

pour it into a barrel, then left him to complete the job without further supervision. Yoselle returned time and again to the barrel, never stopping, even after the barrel began to overflow. Still he

continued, until the Maharal's house was flooded. Upon arriving home, R. Loew put a stop to Yossele's work and told Perele that she should never again use Yossele for household tasks.

Though Perele did not create the Golem herself, she still intended to use it for mundane work. Here again, the lack of purity of purpose causes disaster.

If the above story seems familiar, it is most likely due to the variation which appears in the classic animated film, Fantasia. In "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment, Mickey Mouse creates a "Golem" by animating a broom to do his work for him (much as Perele used Yossele to lighten her own chores). After showing the broom how to draw water and pour it into a barrel, Mickey falls asleep, only to waken to an impending flood. Breaking the broom into pieces only exacerbates the situation and soon the sorcerer's workshop is in danger of being inundated by an army of water-toting brooms. The sorcerer returns just in time and, like Rabbi Loew, puts a stop to the proceedings. As the scene concludes, the viewer is sure that Mickey has learned a valuable lesson and will think twice before casting that particular spell again. This scene \r\Fantasia combines both of the most dangerous elements of Golem creation. Mickey creates his Golem single-handedly and intends to use his creation so that he can escape an arduous chore - hardly what would be considered a pure purpose.

Nowhere are the dangers of creation more poignantly elaborated on than in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The parallels between Victor's creation and the Golem are apparent in such things as their size, strength, and lack of speech, although Victor's creation does have the ability to learn language and speaks eloquently to Victor upon meeting him on the Mer de Glace.

Grimm's Journal for Hermits was written only eight years before Frankenstein was published. It is well-known that Shelley was inspired to write her tale after trading German ghost stories at the home of Byron. It is certainly possible that the stories included tales of Golems, which were

popular at that time.

Note 8 If Frankenstein is read with an eye towards Kabbalistic parallels, the impending tragedy can be anticipated. For, in the Kabbalistic sense, Victor Frankenstein desires to create for all the

wrong reasons: "my enquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world (86)." Certainly, these are not the words of someone who wishes to understand the means by which God is able to create. Nor as these, which soon follow: "soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. . . .1 will pioneer a new way,

explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation (96)." According to this Kabbalistic view, very few are Qualified to understand the "deepest mysteries of

creation." He who would discover these profound mysteries for reasons of pride and to prove to others - and not just to himself - that creation can be understood, is not ready to embark on a course of meditation, study and discovery.

Victor's prideful ambition is revealed as his overriding motivation when he states that "a new

species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent creatures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should

deserve theirs" (104). Compare these words with those spoken by the Golem created by Jeremiah and his son, Ben Sirah, in an account attributed to Judah ben Bathyra. Upon its

creation, the Golem had upon its forehead the phrase "YHVH Elohim "Emet" [God is truth]. With a knife he erased the aleph to leave the phrase "YHVH Elohim Met" [God is dead] saying that "God

has made you [Jeremiah and Ben Sirah] in His image and in His shape and form. But now that

you have created a man. .. people will say: There is no God beside these two!" After following the instructions given by the Golem and de-constructing it, Jeremiah proclaims that "we should

study these things only in order to know the power and omnipotence of the Creator. . . but not in order really to practice them." (manuscript, Halberstam 44 folio 7b; quoted from Scholem, Kabbalah, 80).

Note 9

Knowledge alone is not what Victor has in mind. He wants his creation to thank, adore, bless and, perhaps, worship him in his rightful place as its Creator. This attitude is precisely the opposite of that of one who studies Sefer Yetzirah with pure intent. The knowledge it contains is nothing if not

humbling. It took Rava and Zera three years of study to be able to create a calf, while the world itself was created in a mere fragment of that time. Yet Victor admits "[my] imagination was too

much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt my ability to give life to an animal as

complex and wonderful as man" (101), It is only after he succeeds that he realizes the unholy nature of what he has done. Much later he states that "During my first experiment, a kind of

enthusiastic frenzy had blinded me to the horror of my employment" (209).

Instead of de-constructing his creation he flees and thereby proves the truth of the Kabbalistic

warning harm befalls the creator, not the creation. While Victor does not suffer physical harm at the hands of his creation, he is affected by his constant self-incrimination and his horror at what

he has done. Additionally, and most tragically, he loses everybody whom he holds dear William, Justine, Cerval and Elizabeth as a direct result his act of creation. Ultimately, his failed efforts to

destroy the creature, an act he realizes should have been performed years earlier, kill him.
His creation acknowledges his own part of this. Speaking over the corpse of Victor Frankenstein

the creature admits that it is he "who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst"

(261). Furthermore, the ties between Frankenstein and Golem literature are strengthened when the creature refers to himself as Victor's Adam. The writers of the Talmud held that Adam was

actually a Golem when he was first formed. As stated in B. Sanhedrin 38b during the process of his creation, "in the second hour, [Adam] became a Golem... During the third hour, his limbs were stretched out. In the fourth hour, the soul was cast into him. . ."

At the end of his life, Victor's last words to Walton show that he has truly come to the realization

that his motivation to create was not a proper one. Victor tells Walton to "Seek happiness in

tranquillity and avoid ambition. (260)." Victor Frankenstein thus realizes too late that what he has

accomplished in his "fit of enthusiastic madness" is an unholy act. It is only later, looking back, that he voices a thought which echoes the Kabbalistic and Talmudic precepts which have been

passed down for generations.

A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that

the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those

simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then their study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting of the human mind (103).

Had Victor dug deeper during his studies of Agrippa, Magnus and Paracelsus, he might have realized early on that what he sought to undertake could only bring him ill. It is interesting to speculate upon how matters might have differed had he heard a heavenly voice, as Jeremiah had, instructing him to "take a companion." Perhaps he then would have turned his attention, as Rava did, towards attaining a more perfect understanding of the wonders of God's, not Nature's, creative process.

Notes

1. During a presentation on the subject of Golems, in which I participated with my own study

partner, Michael Weisberg, an audience member suggested that Rava's Golem might have been akin to a "lab prank" which Rava sent to R. Zera to demonstrate his individual mastery ofSefer Yetzirah. Though not an entirely satisfactory explanation, to date I have heard none better to explain why Rava created his Golem without the help of R. Zera.

Return
2. See Moshe Idel for a more detailed discussion of Solomon ibn Gabriel's Golem, also created

single-handedly. According to Idel states that ibn Gabriel was not a magician but a technician. (233-34)
Return
3. It is interesting to note that these two rabbis were able to create a calf every Friday without

forgetting the knowledge, while Rava and R. Zera had to study for three years to be able to do so and three additional years to create their second calf.

Return

4. The gates were formed by combining every letter of the Hebrew alphabet to every other letter.

The analogy in the Roman alphabet would be to begin with AB, AC, AD, AE, and so on, until

reaching ZV, ZW, ZX, ZY. In most systems of gates, letters are not combined with themselves.

Return

5. See Adin Steinsaltz's The Essential Talmud for further comments on the Divine Names. (213-

14)

Return

6. The Kabbalists speculated that the calf that Abraham served to his angelic guests was created

through the use of Sefer Yetzirah. This would place the calf beyond the law and make it parve

[neutral]. In this way, Abraham would avoid the sin of serving milk with meat.

Return

7. Abulafia stated that, if a syllable were mispronounced, the organ or limb to which it

corresponded would be displaced upon or within the body of the creator.

Return

8. Specifically, stories of destructive Golems were prevalent in Shelley's time, such as Johann

Schmidt's report that Golems "... inflict great damage upon the person of their master... "

(FeurigerDrachen Gifft und WutigerOtten Ga//[1682]; quoted from Winkler 72). Return
9. R. Isaac ben Samuel of Acre, a Kabbalist of the early 13th century stated that Jeremiah and

Ben Sirah "attained a divine perfection [so as] to create. . . a speaking, intellective being."

(Sassoon manuscript 919, p. 217; Cambridge manuscript, Genizah, TS, K12,4 p.22; quoted from Idel, 177). Return

References

Idel, Moshe. Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions On the Artificial Anthropoid. NY: SUNYP, 1990

Kaplan, Aryeh. Sefer Yetzirah in Theory and Practice. NY: Samuel Weiser., 1990 Scholem, Gershom. Kabbalah. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd., 1974

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. London: Penguin Books, 1985

Steinsaltz, Adin, The Essential Talmud, NY: Bantam, 1976

Winkler, Gershon. The Golem of Prague. NY: The Judaica P, 1980 You are visitor number 4598 to this page.

RICHARD TEITELBAUM GOLEM

The concept of the Golem is an ancient one, stretching from its Biblical source, as Adam's "unformed substance" (before receiving a soul) to its later incarnations as an artificial

man, and as the modern day robot. I was struck then by the parallel with my own attempts to develop an intelligent, interactive artifical "pianist", and also by the Golem as a symbol

for the promises and dangers of our technological society.

Rabbi Lowe, who is said to have created his Golem on the banks of the Moldau in the spring of 1580 to aid and protect the community from danger, but, growing too strong, it ran amuck and had to be destroyed. As such, the legend has seemed an increasingly fitting metaphor of the dangers of unchecked power of various sorts - not only technological and military, but also political and social - as the recent history in that part of the world has confirmed.

Traditionally, a Golem was an artificial man made of clay and brought to life by the incantation of magic formulas derived from the Kabbalistic manipulations of the Hebrew

alphabet. In my piece, I have digitally sampled the sound of the river banks in the voices of the spring peepers, and also certain Hebrew letters and texts, based on the ancient

kabbalistic Book of Creation. Through the use of MIDI control, these formulas and texts can be "played" on keyboards (as well as triggered by vocal control), such that playing different melodic patterns will, in the words of the Book of Creation, "ordain them, hew them, combine them, weigh them, and interchange them." Live audio signal processing, FM, and speech synthesis all from ingredients in a complex, interactive system in which the performers process and control each others inputs. When, to this witches brew, feedback is added through a circuit that "listens" and responds to itself, the Golem comes alive and begins to act with a mind of it's own.

In this performance, the Golem will be represented by several interactive systems embodying artificial intelligence techniques: In one, a computer controlled interactive player piano "listens" and responds to live music played on acoustic instruments, other keyboards and the human voice. In another, the movement of images projected from a MIDI-controlled interactive video laser disk responds to the musicians live performances in real-time. These images include extensive excerpts from the German expressionist classic Der Golem (1920) by Paul Wegener, scenes from the old Jewish Ghetto in Prague and other specially prepared material.

BACKGROUND ON THE GOLEM LEGENDS

Kay E. Vandergrift
In order to understand Golem by David Wisniewski it is useful to read some of the research and

writings about this very old legend and the issues connected to it. The story has connections to Jewish mysticism while also possessing a long thread in fictional literature. The excerpts provided

below help to frame your understanding of this legend and the additional readings serve to fill out any gaps remaining.

ON JEWISH MYSTICISM

Cabala (Hebrew, "received tradition"), generically, Jewish mysticism in all its forms; specifically, the esoteric theosophy that crystallized in 13th-century Spain and Provence,

France, around Sefer ha-zohar (The Book of Splendor), referred to as the Zohar, and

generated all later mystical movements in Judaism. See Mysticism; Theosophy. The earliest known form of Jewish mysticism dates from the first centuries AD and is a variant

on the prevailing Hellenistic astral mysticism, in which the adept, through meditation and the use of magic formulas, journeys ecstatically through and beyond the seven astral

spheres. In the Jewish version, the adept seeks an ecstatic version of God's throne, the chariot (merkava) beheld by Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 1).

The Medieval Period

Medieval Spanish Cabala, the most important form of Jewish mysticism, is less concerned with ecstatic experience than with esoteric knowledge about the nature of the divine world and its hidden connections with the world of creation. Medieval Cabala is a

theosophical system that draws on Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and is expressed in

symbolic language. The system is most fully articulated in the Zohar, written between 1280 and 1286 by the Spanish Cabalist Moses de Leon, but attributed to the 2nd-century

rabbi Simeon bar Yohai. The Zohar depicts the Godhead as a dynamic flow of force

composed of numerous aspects. Above and beyond all human contemplation is God as he is in himself, the unknowable, immutable En Sof (Infinite). Other aspects or attributes,

knowable through God's relation to the created world, emanate (see Emanation) from En Sof in a configuration of ten sefirot (realms or planes), through which the divine power further radiates to create the cosmos. Zoharic theosophy concentrates on the nature and interaction of the ten sefirot as symbols of the inner life and processes of the Godhead. Because the sefirot are also archetypes for everything in the world of creation, an

understanding of their workings can illuminate the inner workings of the cosmos and of history. The Zohar thereby provides a cosmic-symbolic interpretation of Judaism and of the history of Israel in which the Torah and commandments, as well as Israel's life in

exile, become symbols for events and processes in the inner life of God. Thus interpreted, the proper observance of the commandments assumes a cosmic significance.

From: Richard S. Sarason. "Cabala," Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. Deluxe Edition, c. 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation, Disc 1.

ON THE GOLEM AS PROTECTOR

In Jewish legend, an image or form that is given life through a magical formula. A Golem

frequently took the form of a robot, or automaton. In the Hebrew Bible (see Psalms 139:16) and in the Talmud, the term refers to an unformed substance. Its present

meaning developed during the Middle Ages, when legends arose of wise men who could instill life in effigies by the use of a charm. The creatures were sometimes believed to

offer special protection to Jews. The best-known of the Golem stories concerned a Rabbi Low of 16th-century Prague, who was said to have created a Golem that he used as his

servant.

From: Entry on "Golem" in Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition, c. 1993- 1996 Microsoft Corporation, Disc 1.

ON THE NATURE OF THE GOLEM

In the development of the later legend of the Golem there are three outstanding points:

(1) The legend is connected with earlier tales of the resurrection of the dead by putting the name of God in their mouths or on their arm, and by removing the parchment

containing the name in reverse and thus causing their death. Such legends were widespread in Italy from the tenth century (in MegillarAhima'az). (2) It is related to ideas

current in non-Jewish circles concerning the creation of an alchemical man (the "homunculus" of Paracelsus). (3) The Golem, who is the servant of his creator,
developed dangerous natural powers: he grows from day to day, and in order to keep him from overpowering the members of the household he must be restored to his dust bv removing or erasing the alef from his forehead. Here, the idea of the Golem is joined bv the new motive of the unrestrained power of the elements which can bring about destruction and havoc. Legends of this sort appeared first in connection with Elijah, rabbi ofChelm(d. 1583).

From: "Golem" entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica. Volume 7. Jerusalem, Israel: Keter Publishing House, 1971, pp. 754-755.

VARIANT ON THE GOLEM LEGEND

A variant of the Golem legend gives another explanation for the Maharal's [Rabbi Loew] decision to return the clay monster to the dust lie came from.[sic] Although the creature was mighty in strength, supernatural in prescience, and ever alert in following the orders of his Cabalistic creator, so that he saved the Jews of Prague from many a calamity, nonetheless, his creator decided to "unmake" him because he had grown afraid of the creature he had created, for the Golem, waxing drunk with the immense power he was

wielding, menaced the entire Jewish community, even trying to bend the Maharal to his will, which had now turned evil and destructive. Thereupon, using the secret gematria of

Cabalistic formulas for the second time, the Maharal returned the clay hulk of his creature to its original inanimate condition by withdrawing from its mouth the Shem, the life- creating, ineffable Name of God that he had placed there when first he made him.

From: "The Golem," in The Book of Jewish Knowledge. Nathan Ausubel. On The First Electronic Jewish Bookshelf, Scanrom Publishers, 1994,Cd-Rom.

LITERARY ASPECTS OF THE LEGEND OF THE GOLEM

The Legends concerning the Golem, especially in their later forms, served as a favorite

literary subject, at first in German literature-of both Jews and non-Jews-in the 19th century, and afterward in modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature. To the domain of belles lettres also belongs the book Nifla'ot Maharal im ha-Golem ("The Miraculous Deeds of Rabbi Loew with the Golem"; 1909), which was published by Judith Rosenberg as an

early manuscript but actually was not written until after the blood libels of the 1890s. The connection between the Golem and the struggle against ritual murder accusations is

entirely a modern literary invention. In this literature questions are discussed which had no place in the popular legends (e.g., the Golem's love for a woman), or symbolic

interpretations of the meaning of the Golem were raised (the unredeemed, unformed man; the Jewish people; the working class aspiring for its liberation).

Interest in the Golem legend among writers, artists, and musicians became evident in the

early 20th century. The Golem was also invariably the benevolent robot of the later Prague tradition and captured the imagination of writers active in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and German, ».. The outstanding work about the Golem was the novel entitled Der Golem (1915; Eng. 1928) by the Bavarian writer Gustav Meyrink (1868- 1932), who spent many years in Prague. Meyrink's book, notable for its detailed description and nightmare atmosphere, was a terrifying allegory about man's reduction to an automaton by the pressures of modern society.

From: "Golem" entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica. Volume 7. Jerusalem, Israel: Keter Publishing House, 1971, pp. 754-755.

This dissertation examines the ways in which contemporary Jewish American authors rewrite traditional Jewish narratives to both reflect and revise current conceptions of the self and the Jew. Far from denying a connection to Jewish tradition, these authors instead shift the focus, articulating a Jewishness that has less to do with their conception of a specifically revealed will of God than with their desire to integrate inherited stories with those emerging from contemporary Jewish life. I argue that the texts being granted authority have changed, expanded to include narratives of collective memory that stand outside of the sacred canon but nevertheless retain both causal and normative roles in the construction of contemporary Jewish identity.

[Grauer] contends that by reworking the Jewish legend of the Golem to allow for female creation, Cynthia Ozick (in "Puttermesser and Xanthippe") and Marge Piercy (in He, She and It) speak to perceived gender inequities within Judaism while still maintaining that traditional narratives can fruitfully inform contemporary female identity.

From: Grauer, Tresa Lynn. One and the Same Openness: Narrative and Tradition in

Contemporary Jewish American Literature. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 1995, abstract page.

ON MEDIA AND THE GOLEM LEGEND

This is a poster for Paul Wehener's lighthearted 1917 film, "The Golem and the Dancer"~an authentic myth that worked loose from its religious moorings to serve a variety of symbolic functions.

In an article by John Gross entitled "The Golem~As Medieval Hero, Frankenstein Monster and

Proto-Computer," he reviews "Golem! Danger, Deliverance and Art," an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in April 1988 in New York City displaying memorable images of the German filmmaker

Paul Wegener along with many others.

"Between 1914 and 1920 Wegener made three movies on the Golem theme: first "The

Golem," set in 29th century, then "The Golem and the Dancer," a lighthearted fantasy, and finally "The Golem: How He Came into the World," which goes back to the 16th

century and the story of Rabbi Loew, Only the last of the three has survived. It can be seen on video at the Jewish Museum, and it makes an extremely pwerful impression. The

Golem, played by Wegener himself, is a complelling figure, with his stiff movements and squared-off haricut (remininscent, as Emily Bilski [curator of the exhibit] says, of figures in Egyptian art, though it also makes him look rather like a medieval serf.)"

"There are Golems and Golems. A third version, very different from eithr Wegener's or Steiner-Prag's can be found in a verse play, "The Golem," published in New York in 1921

by the Yiddish poet H. Leivick. According to Leivick's stage directions, he visualized the Golem as a giant with a black curly beard, a dull stare and a fixed smile that was somehow on the verge of tears. (One of the artists who translated this conception into

pictorical terms was the celebrated stage designer Boris Aronson; in the late 1920's he devised some striking sets and costumes for a production of the play that unfortunately

never materialized.) For Levick, the Golem was a false savior, who promised deliverance but deliverd violence: by the sound of it, the play is heavy with Jewish foreboding. And by

the mid-1930's there was a sense of looming calamity in Czechoslovak portrayals of the

Golem, too-in the fine painting by the surrealist Frantisek Hudecek, for instance, which shows men (or androids) being hammered into life in some kind of infernal smithy."

From The New York Times, Sunday December 4, 1988, p.41.

ON RITUAL MURDER OR THE BLOOD LIBEL LEGEND

Among the prime candidates for placement under the rubric of the folklore of evil, I would rank at or very near the top of the list the so-called blood libel legend. Other phrases

designating this vicious legend include blood accusations and ritual murder (accusation). These terms are used almost interchangeably but there are several scholars who have

sought to distinguish between ritual murder and blood libel, arguing that ritual murder refers to a sacrificial murder in general whereas the blood libel entails specific use of the

blood of the victim. In the case of alleged Jewish ritual murder, the blood motivation is

nearly always present which presumably accounts for the equally common occurrence of both ritual murder and blood libel as labels.

The blood libel legend is not only the basis of ongoing festivals, but it has also been memorialized in church decoration. Legends proclaiming the Jewish "ritual murder" of Christian children or the profanation or desecration of holy wafers are celebrated in various European towns in such artistic forms as tapestries or stained glass church windows. For example, there are such windows or pictures or tapestries ornamenting the choir of the Saint Michael-Saint Gudule Cathedral in Brussels, a ceiling fresco in the small Tyrol village of Judenstein, paintings in a church sanctuary in the Vienna suburb of Korneuberg, and a stained glass window in a Paris church chapel.

It would be one thing if this classic bit of anti-Semitic folklore existed only in ballad or

legend form, but the sad truth is that what has been so often described in legend and literature is also alleged to have occurred in life. There have not been tens, but hundreds

of actual cases of blood libel tried in various courts in various countries. The map of Western and Eastern Europe and the Near East is profusely dotted with sites where ritual

murders were said to have occurred.

The sad truth about the blood libel legend is not so much that it was created-the need for such a psychological projection on the part of Christians is evident enough-but that it was believed to be true and accepted as such and that the lives of many individual Jews were

adversely affected by some bloodthirsty Christians who believed or pretended to believe in the historicity of the blood libel legend.

From: Alan Dundes. "The Ritual Murder or Blood Libel Legend: A Study of Anti-Semitic Victimization through Projective Inversion," in The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore. Edited by Alan Dundes, pp. 337, 339, 341, 360.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ABOUT AND ADULT VERSIONS OF, THE GOLEM

Alexander, Tamar. "A Legend of the Blood Libel in Jerusalem: A Study of a Process of Folk-Tale

Adaptation," International Folklore Review: Folklore Studies From Overseas. Volume 5 (1987):60- 74.

Allison, Alida. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? The Golem as Family Member in Jewish Children's Literature," Lion and the Unicom. Volume 14, No. 2 (December 1990): 92-97.

Anthony, Piers. Golem in the Gears. New York: Ballantine, 1986.
Bilski, Emily D. Goleml Danger, Deliverance* and Art, Foreword by Isaac Bashevis Singer; with

essays by Moshe Idel and Elfi Ledig.New York: Jewish Museum, 1988.
Bloch, Hayim, The Golem; Legends of the Ghetto of Prague. Translated from the German by Harry Schneiderman, With prefatory note by Hans Ludwig Held, Blauvelt, NY: Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1972.
Borges, Jorge Luis. The Golem. New York: Grove Press, 1967.
Dundes, Alan, Ed. The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore. Madison, Wl: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

Goldsmith, Arnold L, The Golem Remembered, 1909-1980: Variations of a Jewish Legend. Detroit, Ml: Wayne State University Press, 1981.

Goldsmith, Arnold. "Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Judah Lowe, and the Golem of Prague," Studies in American Jewish Literature, Volume 5 (1986): 15-28.

Hamill, Pete. Snow in August: A Novel. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 1997.

Haraway, Donna. "A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Socialist Feminism in the 1980's" in Feminism/Postmodernism, Linda Nicholson, Ed,, New York: Routledge, 1990, pp. 190-

233.

Idel, Moshe. Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.

Jacoby, Jay. Selected Resources for the Study of the Legends of the Golem and Lilith. [microform} Charlotte NC: J. Jacoby, 1984. [Nineteenth Annual Convention, Association of Jewish

Libraries, June 24-27,1984, Atlanta, Georgia.]
Jacoby, Jay. "The Golem in Jewish Literature," Judaica Librarianship. Volume 1, No. 2 (Spring

1984):100-04.

Krause, Maureen T,, Ed, "Rabbi Loew and His Legacy: The Golem in Literature and Film." SERIES: Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts; v. 7, nos. 2 and 3. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State

University, 1996.
Meyrink, Gustav. The Golem, Translated by Mike Mitchell and with an introduction and chronology by Robert Irwin. Sawtry, Cambs: Dedalus ; Riverside, CA: Ariadne, 1995.
Piercy, Marge. He, She, and It. New York: Knopf, 1991.
Plank, Robert, "The Golem and the Robot," Literature and Psychology, vol, 15 (1965).
Posner, Marcia W. The Golem in Art: An Interview with Beverly Brodsky, Creator of Her Own Golem," Judaica Librarianship. Volume 1, No. 2 (Spring 1984): 104-06.
Ripellino, Angelo Maria. Magic Prague. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994. Rowen, Norma. "The Making of Frankenstein's Monster: Post-Golem, Pre-Robot," in Nicholas Ruddick, Ed. State of the Fantastic: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Fantastic Literature and Film, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992, pp.169-77.
Rubens, A. Alfred. A History of Jewish Costume. New York: Crown, 1973.
Schaffer, Carl. "Leivick's The Golem and the Golem Legend," in Patrick D. Murphy, Ed. Staging the Impossible: The Fantastic Mode in Modem Drama. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992, pp. 137-49.
Scholem, Gershom Gerhard. On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism. [Zur Kabbala und ihrer Symbolik,] Translated by Ralph Manheim ; Forward by Bernard McGinn, New York: Schocken Books, 1996.
Sherwin, Byron L. The Golem Legend: Origins and Implications. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985,
Thieberger, Bedrich. The Great Rabbi Loew of Prague: His Life and Work and the Legend of the Golem. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1955.
Teitelbaum, Richard. Golem. Sound Recording: An Interactive Opera. New York: Tzadik, 1995. Trachtenberg, Joshua. Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion. New York: Atheneum, 1970.
Wechsberg, Joseph, New York: Macmillan, 1971,
Wiener, Norbert. God and Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion. Cambridge, MA: M I T Press, 1988.
Winkler, Gershon. The Golem of Prague: A New Adaptation of the Documented Stories of the Golem of Prague. Introductory Overview by Gershon Winkler, illustrated by Yochanan Jones. New York: Judaica Press, 1980.

Winkler, Gershon, The Sacred Stones: The Return of the Golem: A Mystical Novel. Illus. by Yosef Dershowitz. New York: Judaica Press, 1991.

Adam, Golem, Robot - A Dialogue between Ken Goldberg and Ovid Jacob

This arose out of a correspondence between Ken and I February 1995. Ken's text is based on a talk he gave at USC Hillel Faculty lunch with Tamara Eskenazi, Professor of Biblical Studies, Hebrew Union College, on 15 February, 1995.
Ken:

I must begin by asking your indulgence for I am trained primarily as a scientist and am venturing outside my usual area. My aim is to reconsider the archetype of The Creature in Western literature and thought by examining the linkage between Adam, Golem and Robot.
Adam

The well-known story of Adam and Eve is told in chapter 2 and 3 of Genesis. Initially Adam and Eve live in a state of innocent bliss in the Garden. G-d tells them that they can eat from any tree with the pointed exception of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent suggests to

Eve that eating from this Tree will open her eyes and make her wise. After she and Adam cast aside caution and eat, G-d appears and they hide. He asks why are they wearing fig leaves and Eve confesses, blaming the serpent. Then Adam confesses, blaming Eve, "the woman You gave me": in effect blaming G-d. G-d responds with a threefold punishment:

• Woman will experience pain during childbirth.
• Man will no longer be pampered but must work by the sweat of his brow. • Both will become mortal, anticipating that life is finite.

Me:

Joseph Campbell points out that before the Biblical myth of creation, there were other competing

myths in that region, with different interpretations of the Garden, the Tree and the Serpent. His Occidental Mythologies has some of this. Check out also some of my thoughts The Tree, The

Ladder. The Chariot and the Self

One interesting thing 1 want to mention is that tho' we "lost" the Tree of Life and the Tree of

Knowledge after we were expelled from the Garden, subsequently Kabbalists figured out a way to "get back in"! Thus, Moses Cordovero, in his Garden of Pomegranates _ (Pardes Rimonim) in the 1500's explores this - see Scholem's Kabbalah for more details. I think that pomegranate refers to

female genitals, so it is perhaps some type of kabbalistic sex magick, tho' I am speculating now.

Anyway, the point is that the Tree was not totally "lost". K:

When we consider these conditions, Pain, Work and the recognition of Mortality, we realize that

they define the condition of being an adult. In effect, the consequences of their act of disobedience (rebellion) facilitates their maturing into full human beings. Their expression of free

will transforms them from passive innocence to responsible leaders.

And what about G-d's reaction? Is He Really so angry? Or might He be secretly pleased by the inevitable consequence of his creations, (see the essay, "Did They Fall or Were They Pushed?") In light of this reading, I propose the following thesis:

The event wherein the creator loses control of the creature is a necessary step towards the development of the creature.

(Certainly this reading of Creation story runs counter to the traditional Christian view of

"Fall/Original Sin" advocated by St. Augustine and Milton ("Paradise Lost"). But this reading is somewhat consistent with Jewish readings of the story, which do not agonize over the events in

the garden.)

Me:
A very interesting thesis and an interesting point regarding "evil." Indeed, in Kabbalah, "evil" has

its place. The complications which come with loss of control seem part of the process, as you point out.

K:
Golem:
Let us turn our attention to the next component of this linkage, the "Golem." I used this term as a shorthand to refer to a story that arises, with variations, in many cultures' mythology and folklore: Prometheus, Icarus, Faust, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Frankenstein, the Hasidic tale of the Golem. The archetype generally describes a human who creates a creature that comes to life. Initially the creator takes great pride and delight in the creature, until at some point the creature takes a life of its own and runs amok, and in the end the creator pays the consequences for this act of hubris. (Interestingly, it is rarely a woman who plays this role; for a feminist perspective on this subject, see Donna Harawav's Cvborq Manifesto, as well as Jenny Cool's essay on it.)

Me:
There is also a book by Gustav Meyrink, "Der Golem," published in 1925 or so. There is an

English translation of this, and I also have a Romanian translation I got in 1991. Plus, of course, the great 1925 Expressionist German film by that title as well.

K:
Each variant of this story has the same basic message: it is a mistake to overreach, especially in

the realm of science: Don't mess with Mother Nature! During the Middle Ages this edict was enforced by the Church: only the mystical and secretive alchemists persisted in trying to create homunculi: artificial men. As a vivid example, recall the horror of the Manhattan physicists when

they witnessed the awesome potential of their creation. By then it had gotten away from them and some, in particular Oppenheimer, suffered a Promethean downfall.
Although the consequences may be severe, I'd like to postulate that:

The event wherein the creator loses control of the creature is a necessary step toward the development of the creature.

Me: I have a different take on this: in the story of the Golem, the Rabbi brought the Creature to

life only when it was a clear need, to defend the Prague Jewish community from expulsion. It was

meant to be a short-lived measure, which it is in Meyrink's version. So is tempering the Hashem - - like power of creation, but in a very circumscribed way.

The physicists, on the other hand, did not seem to have as much understanding (and

compassion), compared with Rabbi Loew, of the dimensions involved in building such an awesome instrument of destruction as the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, one of the few in the

group who did worry about the implications of the atomic bomb work, realizes some of the implications, but too late to affect the decision of whether to drop the bomb, or where to do that. The creators have lost control of the creature , the bomb, but this has had grave consequences.

Maybe necessary, but grave nonetheless. Perhaps the lessons we might learn from this is to temper our learning with compassion and wisdom, otherwise we will destroy ourselves.

K:
Before I leave the subject of the Golem I would like to reconsider the particulars of the Jewish

version of this story. After the Golem saves the small Jewish community from the consequences of a accusation of a blood libel, Rabbi Loew asks the creature to fetch water from the well. The Rabbi goes upstairs to sleep and awakens to discover that the entire house is filled with water!

The Golem continues dutifully fetch water until the Rabbi tricks it into leaning close enough that the Rabbi can erase the first letter inscribed on its forehead, thus changing Emet (Truth, or Life) to Met (Death), whereupon the Golem turns into a lifeless mass of clay which crushes the Rabbi to death. Again, harsh consequences for the creator. As a Computer Scientist I note that the rabbi's fatal error was to forget to specify what we call a "termination condition". The Golem went into an infinite loop due to a programming error!

This may suggest a subtle point: the loss of control is often traced back to some 'mistake' on the

part of the creator. Consider the case of the Cornell graduate student Robert Morris, who in 1990 experimented with a program that could replicate itself over the Internet. After such viruses (technically, worms) are detected, one way to prevent further spread is to 'inoculate' an

uninfected machine so that it appears to be infected, To counter such defenses, Morris added a feature to his program that would, with some small probability, re-infect a machine which

appeared to be already infected. Morris set that probability at 5% not anticipating the exponential spread of his program, It soon replicated to that point where many computers on the Internet were jammed with thousands of copies of this program. Morris was arrested and expelled from Cornell. Although many embarrassed system operators advocated chaining Morris to a rock and

arranging for an eagle to eat out his liver every day, he is reportedly now working quietly for the NSA.

Me: I do think it is hubris, the hubris of rationality, which believes it will be able to foresee all the

possible contingencies and prepare for them all. yet, it is only a part of the whole mind. It usually works along linear modes of thinking, and misses non-linear or synergetic effects, like Robert

Morris did. I feel this is a source of many difficulties.

K:
Robot
This brings us to the final component of the linkage, the Robot. I'd like to differentiate it from the Golem by defining the Robot as a purely mechanical and logical creature who's animation does not derive from spiritual, magical, or alchemical sources as is the case with the Golem. Furthermore, I will characterize the motivation behind creating a Robot as pragmatic: to do work, in contrast to the motivation behind creating a Golem, which is to some degree to demonstrate virtuosity.

Me:
But I would also like to point out that the Golem is "Emet", alive! The Robot is not. Even Frankenstein's monster is made of flesh from other (formerly) living creature.

K:
In contrast, let us consider the origin of the term "robot" in Karel Capek's 1923 play, 'R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots.' "Robot" derives from the Slavic word for 'work'. Consider the consonant German German "arbeit", which appeared as a grim example of Nazi humor on the gates of Auschwitz - "Arbeit Macht Frei", Work will me you free. The etymology of this word suggests that the robot is a utilitarian creature whose primary purpose is to serve its human master. This role is emphasized in Asimov's science fiction stories. The contemporary science of Robotics also emphasizes the utilitarian, although it carries a persistent thread on interest in virtuosic demonstrations of modern automata.

Me:

By the way, Capek was from Prague. I wondered if he is Jewish, and familiar with the Golem story? Anyway, I like you connecting "rabotai" in Czech and "arbeit" in German.

K: Is the goal of Robotics to create obedient slaves?

Me:
That is an excellent question. I take it from the subsequent discussion that you think so.

K:
This raises some subtle issues, Certainly we want robots that do what they are told, But to lessen the burden of programming (and the consequences of making software errors!), we want to provide the robot with some ability to make decisions: to act "intelligently". But this capability opens a Pandora's box: once we give the robot some latitude, we may not be able to anticipate all logical consequences. In Artificial Intelligence, success is often declared at the moment when the program or robot is capable of surprising its creator.
In the 1950's a computer scientist named Samuels wrote a program to play checkers that was able to evolve its decision tables based on past games. Eventually it was able to beat Samuels regularly! Similarly, a team of grad students at Carnegie Mellon University developed a chess-

playing program that also evolved based on past games. It soon outstripped its developers and beat a few chess masters. The grad students were hired by IBM which is putting its corporate

resources behind the development of Deep Blue, which will take on the world champion Gary

Kasparov
In closing I would like to return to my thesis:

The event wherein the creator loses control of the creature is a necessary step toward the development of the creature.

I would like to argue that in all the cases we have considered, from Adam to Golem to Robot,

although conventional wisdom warns against hubris and views rebellion or loss of control as a downfall, it seems plausible to read the event instead as a step forward and upward. Although the creator inevitably suffers, the truly inspired creator suffers willingly.
Come on, leap cheerfully, even if it means a lighthearted leap, so long as it is decisive. If

you are capable of being a man, then danger and the harsh judgement of existence on your thoughtlessness will help you become one. - S. Kirkegaard, The Present Age. 

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