Friday, 24 February 2012

Golem Building: Sources Part 1

For someone who claims to be a Trainee Golem Builder, I spend a remarkably small amount of time talking about how to create Golems. Trying to excuse it by saying that in a similar way “to become a neuroscience you have to know a lot about medicine” – so becoming a golem builder requires a lot of knowledge of Jewish mysticism and magic… is well a bit of a cop out.

To rectify that I’ve located my notes written 3 years ago on golem building and will over the next couple of months start updating and posting some of that information. If there is an interest in an audio lecture on this topic, that can be arranged. However, since people tend not to value things that are free as much as those they have to pay for – the lecture would be available for a small fee.

Anyway, here is a list of sources used for the lecture:

  • “Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid (SUNY Series in Judaica)” - Professor Moshe Idel 
  • “The Idea of the Golem” by Professor Gershom Scholem (see “On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism (Mysticism & Kabbalah)”) 
  • “Sefer Yetsirah” translation and commentary by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan 
  • “Jewish Meditation” by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan 
  • “Jewish Magic/Myth and Superstition” by Trachtenburg 
  • “Jewish Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism” by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis 
  • Mendy & the Golem comics 
  • “Mind, Body and Soul: Kabbalah on Human Physiology, Disease and Healing” by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg 

Plus a couple of extracts from the Talmud (Jewish oral law, recorded in final form in 450-550 common era) that mention golems: 

Talmud Sanhedrin 38b
Rabbi Yochanan the son of Chanina said, The day’s length is twelve hours, The first hour, dust was gathered. The second hours it [Adam] was kneaded into a shapeless form (Golem). The third hour, his limbs were stretched out. The fourth hour a soul was cast into him. The fifth hour he stood on his feet…

Talmud Sanhedrin 65b
Rava said: “If the righteous wished, they could create a world, for it is written: ‘Your inequities are a barrier between you and your G-d.” For Rava created a man and sent him to Rabbi Zeira. The rabbi spoke to him [the man] but he did not answer. Then he [Zeira] said: “You were created by one of my colleagues; Return to your dust.”

Rashi (commentary on above Sanhedrin 65b)
Created a Man: Through Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) that you learn to join letters of G-d’s name.