You may be familiar with Golems from other parts of folklore. If you are not, golems originate in Jewish folklore is a being animated by humans created from entirely inanimate matter, typically clay. The figure is brought to life by magic and bound to its creator to mindlessly fulfill their whims. This brings us to a peculiar entry into the golem mythos, the Golem of Prague.
The story begins with Rabbi Judah Loew, who was a rabbi under the reign of Rudolf II. He decided to create a golem, despite its potential dangers, to help protect the Jewish people of Prague who were being continually attacked.
The golem Rabbi Loew created was from mud gathered on the banks of the Vltava River. Rabbi Loew made the creature monstrously huge, ensuring it would a great protector from the dangers that lurked in dark alleyways and preyed on unsuspecting people. Some reports say it was between 8 and 9 feet tall and appeared human-like. After its creation, Rabbi Loew spoke the final incantation and bid the golem to protect the Jewish people of the Prague ghettos. Before the golem left his care, Rabbi Loew carved into its forehead the word ‘emet’, which means truth.
As the golem set out on its task, it became stronger and more violent. The golem was typically placated when it was corralled back inside by Rabbi Loew and allowed to rest on the Sabbath. However, one Sabbath day Rabbi Loew forgot to bring the creature into rest.
Sadly, this made the creature all the more violent and aggressive. Soon, the maker of the creature was revealed to be Rabbi Loew, several aggressors that were violent towards the Jewish people approached him and promised the violence would stop if the golem was destroyed.
Rabbi Loew agreed, fearful of what his creature had wrought, and set out to destroy the golem. When he confronted the being, he removed the letter ‘e’ from the golem’s forehead. This transformed the word to ‘met’, which means death. This de-animated the golem and its reign of terror was ended.
However, it was said that Rabbi Loew did not destroy the golem. Instead, he heaved the now lifeless mud being into the attic of the synagogue. He let the aggressors know that if the hatred toward the Jewish population continued, he would not hesitate to re-animate the fearful being.
Thanks to Rima M for today’s #Blogstonishing suggestion!
The above image is entitled Rabbi Löw oživuje Golema and is licensed in the public domain.