Jewish Golem

“There’s a really interesting story that today still exists. It’s supposedly a fable, and I don’t know if it is or is not. It happened in Prague I think. It’s about the creation of the golem. It originated at the time when Jews were being persecuted. Someone was going around saying that Jews were killing newborn babies and putting their blood in some kind of food. Obviously, this was not true. So anyway, this famous rabbi used a spell to bring to life this thing that was made out of clay called the golem. He was supposed to be the protector of the Jews. And he had written on his forehead, “EMET” which means truth in Hebrew. He would basically walk with the Jews to make sure that they wouldn’t be attacked. At some point it was time to put him to sleep so the Rabbi removed one of the letters from EMET so it became just MET, which in Hebrew means, death. So golem died and apparently his body still exists in this synagogue in Prague and they don’t let people into the attic because he’s apparently there.”

Alex said her mother told her this story when she was younger. She said she heard it a few times, sometimes with slightly different variations, but the story of the golem is a very popular one.

This is a simple folk tale told in different variations within the Jewish community. A golem is a being created entirely from inanimate matter, usually clay or mud.

I had never heard of a golem before this, but upon further research I realize that it is distinctly a Jewish folk belief. Many cultures have various beliefs about making inanimate objects come to life, but I think this variation is very interesting. The detail about writing “emet” on it’s head and then removing the one “e” to make it become “death” is very clever and intriguing.

For a more detailed and different variation of this story and more background information, read the following short story about the golem here: