Golems in Jewish Tradition

A Devotaj Sacred Arts Source Sheet

The golem (גולם) is a creature of Jewish mythology, although the idea of being made of clay or other elements is not unique to Judaism. Through out Jewish history, glamim (גולמים) have been created in times of need to protect the Jewish people and their allies, and are deeply connected to the need to protect Jewish people from antisemitic persecution and violence.

In Jewish tradition, the golem is most widely known as an artificial creature created by magic, often to serve its creator. The word “golem” appears only once in the Bible (Psalms 139:16). In Hebrew, “golem” stands for “shapeless mass.”

Jewish Virtual Library

While the golem has been appropriated by non-Jews — its history and existence is rooted and forever intertwined with Jewish people.

Figurines depicting the Golem of Prague. (Flickr/Enrico)

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