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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Golem and Eve

Who was the first golem?  His name was Adam.

Yes, that Adam.  The one you would have learned about if you had gone to church instead of frantically worshiping the devil in your mother's basement.  You with your polyhedral dice and your spellbooks and your demons tanar'ri.

OK so maybe you did go to church, or temple.  Or, maybe you managed to read a holy book or two during one of your rare bouts of sanity.  That means you already know Adam was made out of dust from the ground, and had life breathed into him.  In the Talmud (more commonly known as the holy book of the rich and powerful (no not the scientology one, the other one)), Adam is considered to be a body without a soul for his first 12 hours.  Ancient Hebrews used the word "golem" (גולם), or "shapeless mass", to describe this state of existence.

More exciting, though, are the later stories in Jewish folklore.  The most famous is the Golem of Prague.

Is he going to eat that old man?
An old rabbi (heretofore known solely as rabbi) saw the plight of the people in his small village of huts and straws (heretofore known solely as Prague) and delved in to the dark arts of Ashkenazi Hasidism (heretofore known solely as branch of Germanic Orthodox Judaism that focuses on Jewish Mysticism - hmm, on second thought let's keep "Ashkenazi Hasidism").  He took some clay from the Vltava river banks, spread some hot Ashkenazi ju-ju all over it, and brought it to life.

The Golem of Prague fought the enemies of the chosen people, but it fell in love.  Turned out the girl didn't have a naked-statue fetish, so the Golem went into a rage and killed a bunch of innocent people.  The rabbi eventually destroyed his creation to save the innocents - but his point was made, and some of the local anti-Talmud folks backed off.

Even in the 16th century era of this story, golems were completely obedient to their creator, but in the most literal interpretation.  They also exhibited a certain degree of hubris.  They couldn't harm their creators directly but found ways to hurt the people or things their creators cared about.  In one story, a golem killed himself, just so that his lifeless body could fall on top of his creator.

The moral of this story?  Jews make awesome roleplayers.

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