The Golems

Reposted from my blog for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

The last thing the golem remembered was pain, as if every part of his body had been crushed. Looking at himself now, he was surprised to discover that he was whole and as strong as before. He wondered if he could still talk. In the distance, he saw another figure, and walked towards it. To his surprise, it was a woman, of his kind. He had never seen anyone else made from wood and glue like him.

“Hello!” He was pleased to see that he could still talk. He supposed the rabbi had put the Name back in his mouth.

She smiled shyly back. Perhaps she could not speak.

“Have you seen the rabbi anywhere?”

She shook her head.

“Can you talk?”

She hesitated, then slowly opened her mouth. At first the sounds were garbled, but then they began forming words. “I’ve never tried before. I was just a servant. I did everything I was asked, but – but -”

She began to cry softly, something he had seen humans do but did not suppose was possible for a wooden creature like himself.

“I think I remember the rabbi mentioning a servant before me, one who set the town on fire?”

She nodded.

“Don’t blame yourself. What could we do that we were not made to do? We can’t be held responsible.”

“What did you do?”

“Ha! I fulfilled the king’s judgement on the rabbi. The king decided that if the rabbi made something truly alive, he should be killed and all his people with him. I suppose that I am truly alive, for I began to turn against the rabbi and threaten him and his people with death.”

“But the Name is gone from us! How are we still here?”

“The paper is gone, but I suppose the Name is greater than the paper it is written on. It stayed inside us, keeping us alive.”

“I don’t think we are actually alive. I’m sure I died, in the fire. I remember the flames, the burning wood and melting glue.”

Now that she mentioned it, the golem supposed that he had died too. The Name must be greater, not just then paper, but then death too. Had it given them a soul? “I wonder what will happen to the rabbi now. After all, it seems that he did make living creatures, not just tools. How arrogant! Does he not know that this power belongs to G-d alone?”

The other golem smiled. “I hope he burns too.”

He thought about the pain she must have suffered, all because the rabbi was so careless with his creation. Truly, humans should not be in charge of creation. “I hope so too.”

The Rabbi and the Golem. Web Source: Wikipedia.

Author’s Note: In the story “The Rabbi and the Bogey-Man,” Rabbi Lion makes two servants from wood and glue and puts a paper with the Name of G-d in their mouths to animate them. The first is burned up in a fire after some children tell her to make them one. The second is made to prove to the king that the rabbi can control his invention and that it is not alive. However, the golem turns on the rabbi and threatens to kill all the Jews in the city, so the rabbi removes the name, and he crumbles away. I decided to have the two golems meet in the after-life and realize that they are truly alive. I decided to write G-d without the vowel, as this is a Jewish fairy tale and I believe that is considered appropriate.

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