RABBI JUDAH LOEW: THE GOLEM AND
The creation of the Golem by Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague is a radically different kind of Prometheanism than that discussed in previous chapters. Unlike the legends surrounding Albertus Magnus' automaton, Roger Bacon's brazen head, and Paracelsus' homunculus, the legend of Loew's Golem did not come into being as a result of scientific research, nor was it a paradigm of man's vanity. Man was not trying to compete with God's life- giving power. The Golem that Rabbi Loew created emerged into the phenomenological world when the holy man was in a state of ecstatic mysticism--a soul in the process of ascending to divinity. 1 The Golem answered a specific need for the Jews living in the Prague ghetto: survival.
Because of the extensive persecution in the sixteenth century of Jews in most of Eastern Europe and in Germany, a messianic figure was urgently needed to give them the strength necessary to remain alive. The Golem's purpose was to discover for the Jews of Prague the plans fot their extermination. Once these secret machinations were brought to light, members of the Jewish community could take action to prevent further murder. As a result, the bond between the Jews of Prague and divinity had become so strong that hope was reborn and the goal was achieved. The legend persists that both the Golem and its creator are still alive in a dormant state in Prague.
The Hebrew word golem means "unformed" or "amorphous mass." An analogy may be made between the unformed mass of