Monday, September 9, 2019

Don't be a Golem

Don't be a Golem

Academics & scholars, both Jews and non-Jews, frum and non-frum, consider the famous story of the Golem of Prague as fictitious. 

There is no evidence of the Maharal

ever creating a Golem.

The first mention of the Golem of Prague goes back to the year 1837. A Maskil by the name of Berthold Auerbach wrote a novel on Spinoza

In the fictional details of the Cherem, Spinoza declared not to believe in the Golem of Prague. 

He was put into Cherem for not believing in the Golem.  

Auerbach was trying to ridicule the Frum Yidden by portraying them putting into cherem anyone who does not believe in fairy tales.

 These few lines in the novel are the first and only mention of the Golem in Prague. This part in the novel might have created the legend of the Maharal creating a Golem.

Reb Yidel Rosenberg z"l who was a Rav in Lodz & Warsaw immigrated to Canada. 

He became a Rav in Toronto and later in Montreal. Reb Yidel Rosenberg was a great Talmid Chacham who wrote many Sefarim. 

He translated the Zohar in Loshon Hakodesh. He was also a novelist who wrote Yiddish novels.

He claimed to have acquired the manuscripts of R. Yitzchok Katz zt"l, son in law of the Maharal, from The Great Library in Metz.  (This library is in fact nonexistent.) One of these manuscripts described in detail the creation of the Golem.

  In the year 1908/9, R. Yidel Rosenberg printed this manuscript and called it "נפלאות מהר"ל".

It was R.Y.Rosenberg's " ספר נפלאות מהר"ל" which popularized the Golem story amongst the Yidden and eventually even amongst the Non-Jews.

R. Y. Rosenberg tries to validate the story by claiming that the Noda B'Yehuda believed in the Golem story. R.Y.R invented a story of the Noda B'Yehuda climbing up the attic** to observe the  decommissioned Golem.  

Within the first year of the ספר נפלאות מהר"ל being published, R, Mendel Eckstein z"l,  published a Sefer and called it Sefer Yetzira.  He refuted the ספר נפלאות מהר"ל and claimed it to be a fraud. He also claimed that some parts of the story would even be Halachically incorrect.

One of his proofs (among 25 proofs) is that in the manuscript R. Yitzchok Katz writes about a Talmid by the name of "Tosfos Yom Tov". In his days there was no such Sefer Tosfos Yom Tov printed. R. Yom Tov Lipman Heller Wallerstein was not known as the Tosfos Yom Tov.  R.Yitzchok Katz  could not have called him "The Tosfos Yom Tov."  

*His grandson, Mordechai Richler was one of the most famous Canadian novelists.
** The Rebbe Rayatz Zt"l (Frierdiker Lubavitcher Rebbe)  climbed up the attic.
He never claimed to have seen the Golem there but some Chasidim claim that he did.


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