fredag 17 april 2015

Golem - tjeckiska eller polska rötter?

Golem med sin Pragskapare, rabbi Löw. Av Mikoláš Aleš, 1899. Nationalgalleriet i Prag.
They say that a baal shem in Poland by the name of Rabbi Elias made a Golem who became so large that the rabbi could no longer reach his forehead to erase the letter e. He thought up a trick, namely that the Golem, being his servant, should remove his shoes, supposing that when the Golem bent over, he would erase the letters. And so it happened , but when the Golem became mud again, his whole weight fell on the rabbi, who was sitting on the bench, and crushed him.

Legenden Golem har jag alltid förknippat med Prag och den judiska befolkningen där. Men det finns uppenbarligen andra trådar också. Uppstod Golem-berättelsen rentav i Polen? skriver i veckans nyhetsbrev:
"The legend of the golem - the unformed mass of clay which, thanks to a magical spell, becomes a living creature – inspired Jewish cabbalists as early as the 12th century. The possibility of creating a humanoid creature raised interest from both theorists and practitioners of Cabbalah - Jewish or not - from Spain to Germany. But the story of the Golem as we know it, whose main narrative is located in Prague, and which connects the creation of the golem with the figure of the rabbi Jehuda Loew ben Betsalal (Maharal), was formed much later - in a period scholars tentatively identify as a time between the 17th and early 19th century. It turns out some of the key elements of the legend, including the figure of Betsalal himself, may have come to Prague via Poland."
Detta spår är mycket intressant att följa. Längre fram i artikeln skriver Mikołaj Gliński:
"According to the Praguian legend, rabbi Betsalal created a golem to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-semitic attacks and pogroms. Depending on the version, the Jews in Prague were to be either expelled or killed under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolph II. The problem is that this period, often referred to as the Golden Age of Czech Jewry, was a time of remarkable tolerance toward Jews and Protestants alike, when Jewish cultural life flourished, and the Jewish population grew significantly. This makes it a rather unlikely background for the history of a golem whose main function was to be a bodyguard of the Jewish community. Another problem is posed by Betsalal himself, the creator of the Prague Golem. Hillel J. Kieval, an expert in the golemology, points to the fact that while Betsalal does appear to have had an interest in the speculative side of Jewish mysticism, he had never written about golem, nor was he known for having been a devotee of "practical" Kabbalah - the art necessary to create a Golem. This art, however, flourished in another nearby state, namely Poland. And Betsalal himself was really born in Poznań, where he became also the rabbi of Poland, that was before he moved to Prague."
Hela artikeln kan läsas här. Given fredagsläsning.

Vill du ha ytterligare material är denna sida hos Jewish Virtual Library mycket givande. Där påpekas bland annat detta:
"The golem has been a popular figure in the arts in the past few centuries with both Jews and non-Jews. In the early 20th century, several plays, novels, movies, musicals and even a ballet were based on the golem. The most famous works where golems appear are Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Karel Capek's R.U.R. (where the word "robot" comes from), Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Golem and The X-Files. There is also a character named Golem in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series The Lord of the Rings. Today, there is even a golem museum in the Jewish Quarter of Prague."

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