Golem by Philippe Semeria

A Golem by illustrator Philippe Semeria. The Hebrew letters on the creature's head read "emet", meaning "truth".

A Golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, magically created entirely from inanimate matter

Supposed Region of ExistenceEdit



It is a human-like being made entirely of clay.  In some accounts the word emet ("truth" in Hebrew) is written on its forehead. The golem can be deactivated by removing the aleph (א) in emet, thus changing the inscription from "truth" to "death".  In others add that after creating an entity out of clay, it would be brought to life by placing into his mouth a shem with a magic formula, and could later be immobilized by pulling out the shem.


The word golem occurs in the Bible in Psalms 139:16, appearing once as galmi meaning "my unshaped form".  This represents the unfinished human before God's eyes.  In Modern Hebrew, golem is used to mean "dumb" or "helpless", it often cited as a metaphor for a brainless lunk who serves under controlled conditions.  

Early stories of the golem date to early Judaism.  The Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b), when Adam was firsted made he was a golem. When his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless husk."  All golems are created from mud.  Created by the very holy and those close to God, a person who was close to God could gain some of his wisdom and power.  The creation of life was one of these powers, but no matter how holy a person became, a golem created by them would be a shadow compared to God's creation.  It was noted that the main disability of Golems is most can't speak. In the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 65b) Rava created a man.  He then sent him to Rav Zeira.  Rav Zeira spoke to him, but he did not reply.  Rav Zeira noticed this and said "You were created by the magicians; return to your dust."

During the middle ages passages from the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) were studied as a means to learn the ability to create and animate a golem, although there is little in the writings of Jewish mysticism that supports this belief.

The first reported golem was in 1625 by the Sephardi Kabbalist Josef Solomou Delmedigo related that the medieval Spanish poets Abraham ibn Ezra and Solomou ibn Gabirol had created golems which were returned to their lifeless state.


A picture of Rabbi Loew and his golem.

Another reported golem was circa. 1674.  It was made in a latin letter by Christoph Arnold; it was reprinted by Johann Christoph Wagenseil.  In the letter, he reported that Elias Baal chem (Elias, Master of the name).  Arnold reported that Elias would create a golem after holidays or do cerain domestic tasks.  At first being normal sized, but grew a little every day until bigger and larger than it's creator.  At this point Elias would then remove the first letter.  Arnold then went on to say that one day a golem of Elias' creation had gotten to big for him to reach the word. He asked the golem to remove his shoes.  When it bent over, Elias quickly removed the letter.  Unfortunately he was crushed by the golem.  According to "Jewish Life and Work in Chełm" chapter of the Commemoration Book of Chełm (Poland) (Yisker-bukh Chełm),

"No one was allowed to enter the attic of the Old Synagogue. No one even knew where the key to the attic could be found. One person whispered to another the secret that in the attic there lies the golem of the famous Rabbi Elijah Ba'al Shem.

It was said that a golem who would stand on market days with an ax in his hand, and as soon as he saw that a peasant was going to beat up a Jew, the golem killed the peasant.

An entire week the golem served the Rabbi, the Rabbi's wife, and he performed the manual labor in the Beit Hamidrash (A Jewish house of study where the study of the Torah is undertaken).

When the local landowner found out about the golem's might, the Ba'al Shem led the golem to the attic, withdrew from him the ineffable name of God, and converted the golem into a heap of clay. The Ba'al Shem locked the door, took with him the key, and since then the attic remained bolted


Old New Synagogue of Prague with the rungs of the ladder to the attic on the wall.

The most famous golem was supposedly created by Judah Loew ben Bezalel, in the late 16th century rabbi of Pragure.  He constructed the golem to protect the jewish community of Prague.  He made the golem out of the mud of Vltava river.  Using rituals and Hebrew incantations, he called the golem Josef but was also called Yossele.  The requirement was the golem was to be at rest on Sabbath.  But he forgot to remove the shem one friday; running to stop the golem he quickly remove the shem.  After doing so the golem fell to pieces.  Rabbi Loew then collected the pieces and placed them in the attic of the Old New Synagogue in Josef.  In 183 the attic was renovated but no evidence of the golem was found.  Some have had said that it was stolen and entombed in  graveyard in Prague's Žižkov district.  Others report that it was moved after a Nazi agent found the remains in the attic and was killed.  The attic is not open to the general public.

Another in 1714, Johann Jacob Schudt  that a reported that a Rabbi Ben Sira created a mute man.  He went on to say that an iron replica of Memnonis's statue at Thebes owned by the emperor of Morocco could speak clearly when the sun shone on it.  It also bowed before the emperor and handed him the artist's supplication.


None: as of yet these are all just stories told by rabbis and historians.

Possibility of ExistenceEdit

1. Not probable


  1. The Golem Returns by Cathy S. Gelbin
  2. Jewish Life and Work in Chelm by Akiva Winik, Translated by Howard Bergman
  3. Golem From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia