golem

(redirected from Golem of Prague)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

golem

(gō`ləm) [Heb.,=an undeveloped lump], in medieval Jewish legend, an automatonlike servant made of clay and given life by means of a charm, or shem [Heb.,=name, or the name of God]. Golems were attributed in Jewish legend to several rabbis in different European countries. The most famous legend centered around Rabbi Löw, of 16th-century Prague. After molding the golem and endowing it with life, Rabbi Löw was forced to destroy the clay creature after it ran amok.

Bibliography

See J. Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition (1939, repr. 1961); M. Idel, Golem (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

golem

automaton homunculus performs duties not permissible for Jews. [Jew. Legend: Jobes, 674]
See: Servant
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bound together in the Jewish cultural psyche, the Maharal and the Golem of Prague are unique figures in Jewish folklore.
Scholem told the story humorously, making many witty comparisons between the clay golem of Prague and the new golems of transistors and wires.
Later, both pupil and teacher must combine their talents to pull off two tricks: relocating the legendary Golem of Prague (a protective giant out of Jewish lore) and making Josef disappear to America.
Laqueur, adds something which the author occasionally invokes in relation to Jews living in a Christian world, specifically in the city of Prague, Jewishly famous center, about 1600, of the Maharal, Rabbi Yehuda Loew ben Bezalel, the supposed creator of "the golem of Prague": "Goldberg shows that the death beliefs and customs of the Ashkenazi follow the contours of western history more generally, albeit with a particular inflection."
In the early chapters of the novel, Chabon describes how Josef's escape is made possible by the rediscovery of the body of Rabbi Loew's famous Golem of Prague. This giant immobile figure, formed from the clay of the River Moldau, has long been kept hidden in an unmarked, sealed-off room in an apartment house near the Alneuschul (the Old-New Synagogue), but it is eventually retrieved by Josef and Kornblum (his ausbrecher tutor) and becomes the literal vehicle for Josef's escape out of Europe.