September 8, 2012


It was in the year of 1580, when the Jews of Prague were once again accused of ritual murders committed against children. One night a highly respected rabbi called Judah Loew ben Bezalel had a special dream. A voice told him to create a being out of clay & formed like a human, which shall protect the Jewish inhabitants against antisemitic assaults. Thereupon the rabbi took his disciple to the banks of the river Vltava, to form a figure in the shape of a human out of clay. As they had completed, they circled the figure seven times, while they were saying a weird magic formula. It stayed non-expressive, but its eyes gleamed red & intensely like fire. The golem had come to life. 
The golem obeyed rabbi Loew. When the rabbi had an order for the golem he put a piece of parchment with the name of God written on it under his tongue* to awake the creature.
Most of the time the golem was told to patrol the streets in & around the ghetto to prevent attacks on Jews or to stop people who transport the dead body of a child into the ghetto. But after a certain time the golem turned evil. It killed people haphazardly & destroyed everything that crossed his way. The king begged the rabbi to stop the golem. In return he promised not to offend the Jewish community again & rabbi Loew accepted. He performed the same ritual as in the creation of the golem, but in reverse order* & therefore destroyed the golem.
The remains of the golem were stowed in the attic of the Old New Synagogue in Prague. And ever since then it is forbidden to anyone to enter this attic. It is said, that until these days the remains of the golem are still hidden there.

Old New Synagogue in Prague
*There are some slightly different versions about this legend of rabbi Loew and the the golem of Prague. Another version of the legend says that rabbi Loew wrote the Hebrew word 'emet' - truth - on the forehead of the golem to bring it to life. To destroy the golem he erased the first letter of this word, so it said 'met', the Hebrew word for dead.

The golem is a creature that originates from a very old Jewish legend. It is said that a golem is made out of clay & is brought to life by particular incantations. It obeys his master's orders, but hasn't any own understanding. In fact it can not even talk. This creature is reckoned to be very strong and has powers which are not known. The inherent nature of this creature makes it quite dangerous. As told in the narrative above the golem went wild & spread terror among the inhabitants.

I looked up the word “golem” (hebr. גולם ) on several web pages, but didn't find a particular translation. The best explanation for the word is this one:

"In Hebrew, "golem" stands for "shapeless mass." The Talmud uses the word as "unformed" or "imperfect" and according to Talmudic legend, Adam is called "golem," meaning "body without a soul"" ( )

In the Jewish narrations the golem acts as a protector of the Jews, but because of the antisemitic attitude the golem is widely known as a dreadful creature. Many novels, films & the like are based on the narrations of the golem. I found a really old one on youtube. It's a silent film of 1920 about rabbi Loew & his golem.


  1. wow das ist interessant! Ich habe immer schon mal davon gehört und wusste, dass der Golem irgendeine riesenhafte Sagenfigur ist aber so genau wusste ich nichts darüber..ich finde es immer interessant, herauszufinden, woher Namen und Wörter stammen. Das ist immer sehr spannend*-*

  2. Wow, super interessant! Hast du die Synagoge dann in Prag auch besucht? Schade, dass man den Dachboden nicht betreten kann, wäre bestimmt spannend bei so einer Hintergrundgeschichte :D

  3. Ja stimmt. Ich frag mich auch immer, wieviel Wahrheit dahinter steckt :-)
    Nein, war nicht in der Altneu Synagoge. Das war iwie viel zu teuer :-( Dafür war ich aber in 2 anderen & dem jüdischen Friedhof. Nen Post dazu gibt es dann, wenn ich die Fotos bekomme ^^

  4. Dass die Sage um den Golem einen jüdischen Hintergrund hat, wusste ich gar nicht! Sehr interessant und mal wieder klasse recherchiert! :D
    Freue mich schon auf den nächsten Post!!! :D