What is “The Golem”?
How Does This Jewish Religious Icon Relate to
the Most Dangerous Arsenal of Nuclear Weapons of Mass
Destruction on the Face of the Planet Today?
legend of The Golem, in one form or another, can
be found in the most ancient days of Jewish folklore and is
notably referenced in the Talmud — an extended record
of discussions amongst Jewish rabbis about matters pertaining
to Jewish laws, ethics, customs and history, dating back to
the mid-years of the First Century, A.D. However, the bestknown
rendering of the tale came in a story first published in Prague
in 1847 in a collection of Jewish tales.
subsequent version was published in 1909 by Yudl Rosenberg
in a collection of short stories about The Golem
entitled The Golem and the Wondrous Deeds of the
Maharal of Prague.
so-called Maharal of Prague was a real-life 16th Century rabbi,
a highly-regarded authority on Jewish mysticism, who lived
between 1525 and 1609. Generally known at the time as Yehudah
Levin ben Betzalel Levai (or Loew) — or variations thereof
— the rabbi is most commonly recalled in the legend
of The Golem as simply “Rabbi Loew.” (The rabbi’s
title, “MaHaRaL,” incidentally is the Hebrew acronym
of “Moreinu ha-Rav Loew,” which means, simply,
“Our Teacher the Rabbi Loew.”)
wealthy heir to a distinguished Jewish family which included
his uncle, who was the Rabbi of the Jews of the Holy Roman
Empire, Rabbi Loew was not only influential in Prague, but
at one point, he later journeyed to Poland where he was named
Chief Rabbi of Poland. Today his tomb in Prague, the city
to which he returned during his final years, is a popular
work, as a Talmudic scholar and as a teacher of Talmudic scholars,
is hailed in modern times as being critical to the foundation
of Jewish philosophy. So the fact that Rabbi Loew is the key
figure in the story of The Golem is highly relevant indeed.
He was a living, breathing human being of historical record,
one highly esteemed among the Jewish people for more than
to the basic thrust of the legend of The Golem, the Emperor
of the Hapsburg Empire had proclaimed that the Jews of Prague
were to be expelled or killed — an early “Holocaust,”
so to speak. The legend varies, but it’s clear the emperor
had ill will toward the Jews.
any case, at the time, the Jewish community in Prague was
under fire — as many Jewish communities in Europe had
been, time and again — because certain Jews were accused
of killing Christian children and using their blood in Passover
rituals. (The question of whether the Jews, as a group, or
as individuals, or whether factions of Jews actually committed
such crimes is a topic of serious debate, as evidenced by
a recent scandal in Italy in which an Italian Jewish scholar,
Ariel Toaff — based at the Bar-Illan University in Israel,
suggested in a book — subsequently withdrawn from circulation
for revision after a frenzied response from Jewish organizations
— that there is solid historical evidence of such crimes,
generally known as “Jewish Ritual Murder.”)
the case, at the time, angry Christians in Prague believed
the allegations of ritual murder and were waging a campaign
of retribution against the Jews. It was Rabbi Loew, according
to the legend of The Golem, who found a way to defend the
rabbi, a skilled practitioner in Jewish mysticism, gathered
clay from the River Vitava and created The Golem, a large
man-like figure — an early Frankenstein’s Monster,
more or less — to defend the Jewish community and strike
back at the evil Christians.
are those who contend that Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein,
was inspired by the legend of The Golem, when she first crafted
her now-famous tale.)
legend says that Rabbi Loew made the clay image into a living
being by placing in his mouth a parchment, known as the “Shem,”
upon which was inscribed “the life-creating, ineffable
Name of God,” according to Nathan Ausubel, writing in
The Book of Jewish Knowledge.
the good Rabbi’s creation, Ausubel noted, became “drunk
with the immense power he was wielding, menaced the entire
Jewish community, even trying to bend the Maharal to his will,
which had now turned evil and destructive.”
the end, the rabbi removed the “Shem” from the
mouth of The Golem and took away the mad monster’s life
the rabbi preserved the body of The Golem and locked the monster
away in the attic of Prague’s Old-New Synagogue and
issued an order barring anyone from visiting there. The tale
says that The Golem remains there to this day.
is claimed that not even the German Gestapo dared to enter
the attic of the old synagogue during World War II and that
— presumably because of the presence of The Golem —
the Old-New Synagogue somehow survived destruction by the
Nazis. Or so the legend goes.
at Jewishmag.com, Joyce Ellen Weinstein, provided a concise
overview of the legend of “The Golem” noting that
the Talmud actually mentions several instances of rabbis creating
such man-like creatures and using them to conduct errands.
However, in the popular rendition of the Golem legend, as
we’ve seen, the creature ran amok, even turning on his
creator. Ms. Weinstein notes:
IS THE GOLEM?
word golem comes from the Hebrew word gelem,
meaning raw material. The golem is outwardly a real person,
yet he lacks the human dimension of personality and intellect.
is interjected into him through a mystical process using
God's special name. He is created from the ground, as
was the first man. When his mission is over, the name
of God is removed from him and he returns to the ground.
trace the golem to the mystical teaching of the Kabbalistic
book called "Sefer HaYetzera", the book of formation.
This ancient book is still in print today and studied
by Jewish mystics. The book deals in great length with
the actual process of creating the universe.
the Golem legend suggests that human beings — in this
case, Jewish rabbis — have a power almost equal to that
of God: being able to create a living creature that is almost
human, but not quite.
this is significant, from a theological standpoint, in that
— quite in contrast to the Christian and Muslim traditions
— such power is reserved to God and God alone: It is
only God who can create life.
the Jewish tradition evidently grants superior powers to rabbis,
skilled in magic arts that they have used (or perhaps abused
or misused, however one defines it) for their own earthly
purposes and — in the popular legend of The Golem —
Rabbi Loew used supernatural power to bring to life the man-like
creature crafted from the natural elements given to man by
God, in this instance, the clay of the River Vitava.
it is that in the Hebrew Bible (see Psalms 139:16) and in
the Jewish Talmud, the term galem or gelem
— or Golem — refers to an “unformed substance.”
1971 edition of an Israeli edition of The Encyclopedia
Judaica noted the evolving concept that The Golem, as
a servant of his creator, “developed dangerous natural
powers . . .[and that the underlying theme of The Golem] is
joined by the new motive of the unrestrained power of the
elements which can bring about destruction and havoc.”
very point that The Golem of Jewish folklore was created from
the earth as a means by which to defend the Jewish people,
only to have The Golem become a force for evil — one
that could even redound against his creator and the Jewish
people — is a point that bears repeating, and one that
calls out to be brought to the attention of the world at large.
For today, a very real Golem stands at the brink of bringing
the globe to the long-awaited Armageddon.
legend of The Golem has been told in literature, on the stage
and on film. In 1915 Gustav Meyrink commemorated the tale
in a Geman-language novel entitled Der Golem, although
the latter-day 20th Century Yiddish-language writer, Isaac
Bashevis Singer, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, brought
more widespread commemoration of the legend in his own short
story first published in 1969 in Yiddish, later translated
question, the best known film production of the tale (one
which introduced a visual image of The Golem to the world)
came in a three-part silent film series (from 1914 to 1920)
by German actor and director Paul Wegener, the best known
installment of the series of which is the final film, The
Golem: How He Came Into the World, an expressionist drama
in which Wegener himself played The Golem. That film was released
in the United States in 1921 under the title, The Golem. The
image of The Golem, appearing on the cover of this book, is
reproduced from Wegener’s film. The film is considered
a classic, by all estimations.
often-produced stage production of the tale, also entitled
The Golem, was written by a famed Yiddish writer, H. Leivick,
and was first introduced in 1924 in Moscow. It’s been
replayed time and again and in 2002 David Fishelson produced
it in New York City through his Manhattan Ensemble Theater.
April 7, 2002 The New York Times discussed the play
in a review
entitled, “A Jewish Avenger, a Timely Legend.”
the Jewish-themed play, the Times noted: “Its
central concern is the self-destructive consequences of Jews
resorting to violence to defend themselves . . . The Golem
wreaks fierce retribution and the Jews proclaim him a hero.
But he gets carried away. He goes on a rampage, spilling the
blood of those he was meant to protect.”
1984, the aforementioned much-beloved Yiddish writer Isaac
Bashevis Singer (who, as noted, had previously adapted the
story of The Golem) wrote of the legend of the Golem and,
quite aptly, compared the Golem to the nuclear arms race:
“While we attempt to surpass our enemies and to create
new and more destructive golems, the awful possibility is
lurking that they may develop a volition of their own, become
spiteful, treacherous, mad golems.”
Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Jewish journalist,
invited controversy by issuing, The Samson Option,
his revealing book on Israel’s nuclear ambitions, in
since then, Israeli journalist Avner Cohen, in his 1999 book,
Israel and the Bomb, has not only validated Hersh’s
earlier work, but provided an even more detailed exposition
of the history of Israel’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
IS THE GOLEM?
that volume Cohen wrote of how David Ben-Gurion — the
great Israeli (and Jewish) icon, one of Israel’s founding
fathers and then its prime minister — focused on the
development of an atomic bomb and how Ben-Gurion viewed nuclear
weapons as being central to Israel’s very survival.
Ben-Gurion, in fact, was obsessed with the bomb.
Ben-Gurion’s obsession with Israeli nuclear supremacy—
and of his dissatisfaction with the efforts by President John
F. Kennedy to bring an end to Israel’s nuclear ambitions
— Cohen wrote:
with the lessons of the Holocaust, Ben- Gurion was consumed
by fears for Israel's security . . .
his public speeches and writings as prime minister Ben-Gurion
rarely discussed the Holocaust. In private conversations
and communications with foreign leaders, however, he returned
to the lessons of the Holocaust time and again.
his correspondence with President John F. Kennedy in 1963,
he linked Arab enmity to Israel with Hitler's hatred of
the Jews, and wrote:
a Jew I know the history of my people, and carry with me
the memories of all it has endured over a period of three
thousand years, and the effort it has cost to accomplish
what has been achieved in this country in recent generations
. . . Mr. President, my people have the right to exist,
both in Israel and wherever they may live, and this existence
is in danger" . . .
about the Holocaust reached beyond Ben-Gurion to infuse
Israeli military thinking. The destruction of Israel defined
the ultimate horizon of the threat against Israel. Israeli
military planners have always considered a scenario in which
a united Arab military coalition launched a war against
Israel with the aim of liberating Palestine and destroying
the Jewish state.
was referred to in the early 1950s as mikre hkol,
or the "everything scenario." This kind of planning
was unique to Israel, as few nations have military contingency
plans aimed at preventing apocalypse. Ben-Gurion had no
qualms about Israel's need for weapons of mass destruction
. . . Ben-Gurion saw Arab hostility toward Israel as deep
and long-lasting . . .
pessimism . . . influenced Israel's foreign and defense
policy for years. Ben-Gurion's world
view and his decisive governing style shaped his critical
role in initiating Israel's nuclear program . . .
believed that science and technology had two roles in the
realization of Zionism: to advance the State of Israel spiritually
and materially, and to provide for a better defense against
its external enemies.
determination to launch a nuclear project was the result
of strategic intuition and obsessive fears, not of a well-thought-out
plan. He believed Israel needed nuclear weapons as insurance
if it could no longer compete with the Arabs in an arms
race, and as a weapon of last resort in case of an extreme
military emergency. Nuclear weapons might also persuade
the Arabs to accept Israel's existence, leading to peace
in the region [he thought].
27 June 1963, eleven days after he announced his resignation,
Ben-Gurion delivered a farewell address to the employees
of the Armaments Development Authority in which, without
referring to nuclear weapons, he provided the justification
for the nuclear project: "I do not know of any other
nation whose neighbors declare that they wish to terminate
it, and not only declare, but prepare for it by all means
available to them. We must have no illusions that what is
declared every day in Cairo, Damascus, Iraq are just words.
This is the thought that guides the Arab leaders . . . I
am confident . . . that science is able to provide us with
the weapon that will secure the peace, and deter our enemies."
summarize: The "nuclear option" was not only at
the very core of Ben-Gurion's personal world view, but the
very foundation of Israel's national security policy. The
Israelis were essentially willing, if necessary, to "blow
up the world" — including themselves — if
they had to do so in order to destroy the Arab neighbors they
hate so much.
policy is better known by what Jewish-American Pulitzer Prizewinning
author Seymour Hersh referred to, in the book by the same
name, as “The Samson Option” — that, as
Samson of the Bible, after being captured by the Philistines,
brought down Dagon's Temple in Gaza and killed himself along
with his enemies. As Hersh put it: "For Israel's nuclear
advocates, the Samson Option became another way of saying
`Never again,'" (in reference to preventing another Holocaust).
IS THE GOLEM?
the late Winston Churchill said that two ancient peoples —
the Greeks and the Jews — suffered from a strong impulse
of self-destruction, he was not far off the mark.
Americans have no idea that the possibility of a full-fledged
nuclear “suicide bombing” by the state of Israel
itself is a cornerstone of Israel’s national security
the frightening fact remains that Jewish (and, in particular,
Israeli) attitudes toward non-Jews could play a major role
in triggering the activation of Israel’s modern-day
(and very real) Golem: its nuclear arsenal of weapons of mass
understand this danger, we must turn to the fascinating revelations
and insights of the late Israeli writer Israel Shahak, a native
of Poland who spent a portion of his childhood in the Nazi
concentration camp of Dachau, and who emigrated to Palestine
in 1945. As years passed, Shahak became an open and very vocal
critic of Israeli policies, both foreign and domestic, a valuable
source for facts about Israel that few Westerners would dare
admirers have called Shahak a “prophet,” and his
critics have called him a “self-hating Jew,” there
is no doubt that Shahak was an outspoken, articulate and fearless
analyst and critic of Israeli foreign policy and Shahak’s
written works provide a dramatic testament to this.
his book Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,
Shahak said that — contrary to the general perception
— Israel does not seek peace.
is a myth, he said, that there is any real difference between
the supposedly “conflicting” policies being pursued
by the “opposing” Likud and Labor blocs whose
rivalries have been played out on the global stage and which
have overflowed into the American political process, pitting
American Likud supporters against Labor backers in America.
contended that the Israeli lobby in the United States —
with all its factions — is ultimately propping up Israel’s
policy of expansionism with the final aim of consolidating
“Eretz Israel” — an imperial state in complete
control of practically the entire Middle East.
dared to point out that Israel’s nuclear policies —
and the influence of the Israeli lobby on the American political
process — are a very real danger in a certain respect
that few would dare to imagine. Not only is Israel prepared
to destroy itself, but because of its underlying religious
and racial bigotry toward non-Jews — the Gentiles —
Israel’s outlook toward the world at large is driven
by a deep-rooted hostility, founded in the religious teachings
of Judaism itself. Shahak’s
writings in the realm of Israel foreign policy were based
almost entirely on public pronouncements in the Hebrew language
press in Israel and, in that realm, Shahak
pointed out that what the Israeli government tells its own
people about its policies is entirely inconsistent with Israel’s
insistence to the West and the world at large that Israel
Shahak contended, is essentially a militarist state and an
undemocratic one at that, evidenced by the second-class status
accorded its Arab inhabitants and those Christian and Moslem
Palestinians in occupied territories. One cannot understand
Israel until one understands this vital fact.
nation’s very foundation rests upon its military and
defense policies, which, as Shahak made clear, ultimately
stem from the fanatic religious tendencies that dictate the
thinking of its military and intelligence leaders who are
the prime movers behind the engine of state.
Israel is quite capable of forging temporary (and often covert)
alliances and strategic arrangments even with Arab states
— even to the point of dealing with the hated Saddam
Hussein when it was in Israel’s immediate interest —
the bottom line is, quite simply, that — as Shahak demonsrated
quite chillingly — Israel will say and do anything to
pursue its determined goal of winning total domination at
it fails, Israel is perfectly willing to choose “the
legend of The Golem, first in the tales of the Talmud and
later brought forth into popular (or rather Jewish) consciousness
in the story of Rabbi Loew of Prague, is a very real warning
for our modern world.
state of Israel mined the earth for uranium in order to produce
its atomic “Golem,” much as Rabbi Loew took the
clay from the River Vitava to produce his own.
Israel proclaims its Golem as its means to protect Israel
from its enemies, real and perceived.
now, today in Israel, increasing religious fanaticism, coupled
with growing hysteria about purported threats to the nation’s
survival, raise the very strong possibility that its Golem
might be put into force. Israel is determined to prevent other
nations of the Middle East from assembling their own nuclear
weapons or even having access to peaceful uses for nuclear
like the Golem of Prague, Israel’s Golem could produce
ugly results that not even the Jewish people might be able
that is why Israel’s very real modern day “Golem”
is a danger to the world, one that must be dealt with.
there be any doubt that the singular and central mission of
the modern, civilized world must be to ensure, once and for
all, that Israel’s nuclear Golem is dismantled, before
it’s too late?
there are those who might be inclined to suggest that we are
IS THE GOLEM?
unfairly targeting “little Israel —
the nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, a nation
that rightly feels the need to defend itself from yet another
Holocaust,” the fact is that — as we shall demonstratein
the pages that follow — it is the very existence of
Israel’s Golem that could indeed lead to another Holocaust
— a very real Holocaust in the dictionary definition
of the word.
potential of a nuclear catastrophe arising from the problems
surrounding The Golem could lead to the absolute destruction
of not only the state of Israel but spark a global conflagration
that could bring about the end of life on Earth.
the very least, the existence of Israel’s nuclear Golem
— and the troubles it has brought to the Middle East
and the world at large (particularly because of the iron-clad
“special relationship” between the United States
and Israel) — could very well ultimately set in motion
a worldwide wave of anti-Jewish fervor. Neither Israel nor
the Jewish people in diaspora want that.
such works as Future Fastforward and Brainwashed
for War, Programmed to Kill, Malaysian diplomat and attorney
Matthias Chang demonstrated that the Zionist global war agenda
is operating through a military-industrial-media complex central
to the world of warfare that plagues mankind today. And according
to Chang, Israel and its intrigues will be the linchpin for
forthcoming — and inevitable — nuclear warfare.
Chang foresees a “meltdown” of the far-reaching
financial forces that drive this war machine, this meltdown
will not come without a struggle — and indeed, he says,
that struggle has already begun, that we are facing a Long
War of the 21st Century. The prospect is not appealing for
those who seek peace.
maelstrom of violence swirls around Israel and its Golem,
a direct result of the imposition of the state of Israel upon
Palestine in 1948 and the consequences that have come in its
wake, particularly as Israel has sought to assert itself —
supported by the United States — as a regional power,
with the United States waging wars (covert and otherwise)
to advance Israel’s interests in a variety of realms.
we must bear in mind that Israel’s institutional philosophical
and religious outlook toward the rest of the planet is the
foundation of the problem we face as a consequence of the
existence of The Golem.
such, in the chapter which follows we will review some of
Israeli dissident Israel Shahak’s earlier work on the
topic of Jewish racism and its attitudes toward “the
we shall see, this institutionalized Jewish racial and religious
outlook has significant bearings when one considers the fact
that Israel does indeed have its own nuclear Golem.