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MYSTERIOUS PRAGUE: STORY OF THE GOLEM

Bety

As we promised, we are back with another interesting legend of Prague. We have extended our article series, Mysterious Prague, with the story of the Golem. We hope you will enjoy this one!

There are countless legends about Prague. Of all these legends, none is as famous as the story of the Golem. Golem is definitely one of the most interesting mysterious personalities to walk through the streets of Prague. So let us tell you how the story began.

The legend about Golem dates back to the 16th century-early Judaism. During the reign of Rudolf II., the Holy Roman Emperor, the Jewish Praguers were being attacked and lived their lives in fear. There were many times when the wise Rabbi Judah Low managed to avert all kinds of perils that threatened the inhabitants of the Jewish Ghetto, but he knew very well that he would not live forever. He wanted to protect his people and make provision for future. For a long time, he studied books and fragile parchments until at last he found what he was looking for. He decided to create an artificial man with supernatural power, who would protect the Jewish community and fight against their enemies.

Thus the Rabbi created Golem, a giant made of clay from the banks of the Vltava River.  There are many tales differing on how the Golem was brought to life. Many of these stories say that the Rabbi made him alive through Hebrew rituals and by placing “shem”, a small marble, in the Golem’s forehead. The Golem obeyed the Rabbi’s every order and helped him to protect the people of Prague’s Jewish Ghetto.

The only care required of the Golem was that he must rest on the day of the Sabbath (Saturday). The Rabbi always deactivated the Golem by removing the shem before the Sabbath began. One day the Rabbi’s daughter fell ill. It was Friday and the evening was drawing on, the Rabbi departed for the synagogue with his head full of worries and completely forgot about the Golem. When the time for the Golem’s rest came and went without the Rabbi appearing, he ran amok, smashing windows, pulling down wooden house signs, breaking down doors and pulling up trees with their roots. When the Rabbi found out what is going on in the Ghetto, he ran out of the synagogue to look for the Golem. He was aware that the Golem was capable of killing, as well as destroying. When he found him he managed to pull the shem from him forehead and immobilize him.

The Rabbi Low knew very well what might have happened if he had not intervened in time. With a heavy heart he decided to destroy the Golem. The Golem’s body was stored in the attic of the Old New Synagogue. According to legend the Golem would be restored to life again if needed. Another legend says that the Golem was brought back to life by Rabbi’s son, and may still be protecting Prague today.

The picture above it the curtesy of www.prague-stay.com.


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