What is a Golem

Uncover hidden superstitions meanings

So what is a golem? This is a Jewish folklore superstition.

It is supposed to be a magically charged statue made from either clay or mud. There are many stories about how this comes to life to be controlled by another! Originally, the name comes from the bible in slam 139:16. Perhaps by his base nature and actions, the golem might be considered most representative of ignorance and depravity. When one reflects on the various golem legends, the most apparent symbolism seems to be that of man’s hubris. Man forms a creature from whatever materials are most handy and performs a ritual, speaking the words necessary to endow the creature with life.

The new being, the creation of man, is intended to serve a purpose or fill a role; servant, laborer, guardian and so on. The creature initially performs as intended but inevitably he begins to run amok, wreaking havoc, often killing his creator in the process. This is surely an excellent illustration of the over-reaching nature of man. Among the Jews, they have a tradition which has it that the golem is a creature that was created by the human beings through the powers of magic and the main objective for their creation was to serve the master of darkness and the human beings. The word golem appears just once in the entire bible and that is in the book of book of Psalms 139:16 - as we mentioned in the opening paragraph. In the language of Hebrew, the word golem simply represents shapeless mass. The Talmud makes use of the word unformed or imperfect.

According to the Talmudic legend the word is used for unformed or even imperfect. Adam is called golem and this term in such case simply means the body that lacks a soul, this is found in Sanhedrin 38b, for the initial twelve hours of his existence. In various other sections in the Talmud, the golem does appear and in one of the most famous legends. Jeremiah the prophet is said to have made a golem. Note that the creation of golem is symbolic and that just like the spiritual experience it has some meaning which can be said to be only symbolic in nature. This can be contrasted to the spiritual experience and that usually takes the route of a spiritual experience which takes the route of the spiritual life.

In the book of creation which has been commonly referred to as the guide to the magical used by various western European Jews who lived the middle ages, has instructions which inform one on ways of making a golem. There areas several rabbis who in their commentaries on Sefer Yezirah did come up with various understandings on the instructions that one needs to follow when making a golem. A good number of the versions that include making some shaping of golem into some figure which has the resemblance of human beings and who is making use of the name of God who is the overall maker of all living things. If we are to believe in the story then we may have to maker the golem to come back to live, in such case then one will have to make the creature out of soil and then make some ritual which involves making various dances around it while reciting the order of the words backward. There are other sources which say - in order for the golem to come alive they need to write the letters aleph, mem and tav.

By Florance Saul
Oct 29, 2012