Golem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The most famous golem narrative involves Rabbi Judah Loew the Maharal of Prague, a 16th century rabbi. He is reported to have created a golem to defend the Prague ghetto of Josefov from Anti-Semitic attacks. The story of the Golem first appeared in print in 1847 in a collection of Jewish tales entitled Galerie der Sippurim, published by Wolf Pascheles of Prague. About sixty years later, a fictional account was published by Yudl Rosenberg (1909). According to the legend, Golem could be made of clay from the banks of the Vltava river in Prague. Following the prescribed rituals, the Rabbi built the Golem and made him come to life by reciting special incantations in Hebrew. As Rabbi Loew's Golem grew bigger, he also became more violent and started killing people and spreading fear. Rabbi Loew was promised that the violence against the Jews would stop if the Golem was destroyed. The Rabbi agreed. To destroy the Golem, he rubbed out the first letter of the word "emet" (truth) from the golem's forehead to make the Hebrew word "met", meaning death. (According to legend, the Golem of Prague's remains are stored in a coffin in the attic of the Altneuschul in Prague, and it can be summoned again if needed.) The existence of a golem is sometimes a mixed blessing. Golems are not intelligent - if commanded to perform a task, they will take the instructions perfectly literally.