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A Golem is an animated anthropomorphic being created from inanimate matter. The term Golem originals in early Jewish History and describes the form and animation given to dust and dirt by a Rabbi. The history of the Golem goes back to early Judaism "Adam was described in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b) as having been created as a Golem" [1]

The most famous and references Golem creation is from Judah Loew, the Maharal of Prague. According to the story, Rabbi Loew was a 16th century rabbi that "created his Golem as a response to the Emperor's edict that would result in the killing or the expulsion of the country's Jews. Rabbi Loew formed the Golem from the clay along the banks of the Vltava River. Using the rituals set forth in the Kabbalah's Sefer Yetzirah, he brought life to his creature with the word "emet" – truth, written on its forehead."[2]

"The Golem was generally unswervingly obedient. It served its creator and the Jewish community well. Finally, the Emperor implored the Rabbi to call off his creature. Depending upon which version of the story you read, the Golem was responsible for the death of both gentiles and Jews. In some texts, the creature turned on its master. To halt the creature's path of destruction, Rabbi Loew erased the first letter on the Golem's forehead. So, instead of "emet" – truth, it read, "met" – death."[3]

"The tale alludes to the idea that the Golem was not destroyed, but put into storage either in the Rabbi's attic or the Synagogue in Prague: in case its services were ever needed in the future. The Lord called the world into creation with a word; it is a word that gives life to the Golem and a word that removes it as well."[4]

"The common denominator in virtually all of the Golem tales is their creation through "word." Just as the world was called into creation either by words spoken by God, or through the Tetragrammaton, God's four letter name, Golems, were animated by the word emet upon their foreheads and a parchment with the Tetragrammaton placed in their mouths. Inevitably, the creator of a Golem realized, sometimes too late, that they had intruded in God's domain. Usually, the life of the Golem was forfeited, and sometimes the creator's life as well." [5]

The Golem is the first example of a long list of human-created objects and machines, such as Frankenstein, and the idea of a Robot. Sometimes the machines do the bidding of the human, and sometimes they turn against the owner. In each case, the human has acted as a god, bringing life where there was formerly non.

"Czech Playwright Karel Èapek coined the term "robot" in a 1918 short story and then applied it in his 1921 play R.U.R. Robot is derived from the Czech word robota, a term that means "forced labor" or from robotnik, a serf. The play was about Rossum's Universal Robots, an Englishman who created biological creatures to serve humans. Unlike most Golems, the robots revolted against their masters and destroyed humanity. This is a familiar theme that has been repeated time and time again in print and in film." [6]

L. Frank Baum's Character TikTok appeared in his third Oz Book "Ozma of Oz", but even before then the animation of the Scarecrow, a sawhorse and others were affected by magic powered, usually with mixed results. The Oz books are a storehouse of this material. Metropolois by Fritz Lang is another example of a machine made in the image of a human.


  1. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm
  2. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm
  3. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm
  4. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm
  5. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm
  6. http://www.jewishmag.com/124mag/golem_history/golem_history.htm