Can a Golem Speak?

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  • #945028

    playtime
    Member

    Sam, what is the opinion of the Rambam?

    #945029

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Does the Ramba”m comment on Golems?

    #945030

    Sam2
    Participant

    I will have to look again to see precisely what he says about Sefer Yetzirah, but I’m pretty sure he says it has to be Derech Mashal. He might even hold that thinking that people can create things Yesh Mei’ayin is Apikorsus.

    #945031

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It’s not yesh mei’ayin.

    #945032

    playtime
    Member

    Sam2- DY’s right. It’s not Yesh Me’ayin. Its made from delineating a form of man in the dirt.

    Is this a Rambam in Yad you’re talking about, or in Moreh Nevuchim?

    #945033

    What a golem I am, to have started this whole controversial thread… by speaking (oh, do I exist?)

    #945034

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    You did not speak. Can a golem post?

    #945035

    playtime
    Member

    you mean post-Maharal era

    #945036

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    As to the Original question, the Maharal writes that a Golem can’t talk. The Gemara says that the one that Rava created didn’t talk.

    A side note, the Maharal explains many Gemaros in a non-literal way. This Gemara was not one of them. The Gemara and Medrash speak in a language that has to be understood, but not that what they say is meant to be dismissed whenever it is not strict Halacha.

    In our language we have the same thing. We often speak in metaphors, besides many cliches. If it is not easily discerned when you are speaking straightforward and when you are speaking metaphor then you are not a good speaker.

    #945037

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=2852&st=&pgnum=174

    Look at the second column. This Sefer was printed 6 years after the Maharal was Niftar. This is why I mentioned that perhaps the non-Jews knew about it while we didn’t. We definitely see that the story was around back in the day.

    Read the next paragraph for something even more strange, for it seems to be a first hand account of a common phenomenon.

    Nitpicker, I don’t either have much invested in the Golem, however I find it silly when people fight tooth and nail that there wasn’t a Golem. Then they say, “Oh, I believe he could have”, while refusing to accept the possibility that he did.

    My main reason for accepting it is the tradition, which predates Reb Yidel Rosenberg by many years. He did a great disservice to this tradition by putting out the Niflaos Maharal, although it is possible that he meant no harm, and just wanted to put out a fun book. I once read that he referred to these books as novels. I can’t say the same for the Hagadda, but that’s a different story.

    #945038

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, the Rambam had no problem with Neviim performing Nisim. I don’t recall anything against the ability to perform a Ness through Sheimos, either. He definitely believed in a non-natural existence, and he believed in conscious stars that affect us. He clearly writes that a Malach made Bilam’s donkey talk.

    He also held that Nevua is not bound to the Geula, since he was against figuring out the date of the Geula while he gave a date for the return of Nevua close to his day.

    So why would it be out of the park to say that a Chasid, who is Davuk in Hashem and Tzuros Elyonos (as he writes of a Navi) can bring about wondrous things?

    #945039

    nitpicker
    Participant

    “Nitpicker, I don’t either have much invested in the Golem, however I find it silly when people fight tooth and nail that there wasn’t a Golem. Then they say, “Oh, I believe he could have”, while refusing to accept the possibility that he did.

    You’re right of course.

    I suppose (to my shame) I argued like that because I got insulted.

    I have been insulted here many times but this time it really got to me. Why? because he said I was argumentative and unlearned.

    and as the saying goes, the truth hurts.

    #945040

    just my hapence
    Participant

    Haleivi – I couldn’t find any historical references to this vikuach you linked to, nor to the protagonists. The Sefer in which it appears was not published until the 1960’s. So what we have, in historical terms, is an unverified secondary source which is hardly reliable.

    To all those saying that they find the line “the Maharal could have made a Golem but probably didn’t” to be a bit of a cop-out, this is exactly the shitto of R’ Avrohom Gurwitz shlit’a. I heard this from a friend who learned with him b’chavrusa. My own feelings on the whole Prague Golem issue are entirely ambivalent, though Golems in general appear to be historically well documented, not least those in the Gemoro (as others have pointed out).

    #945041

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    I was referring to those who fight tooth and nail, not to someone who happens to think it didn’t happen.

    What was printed in 1960 is a Likut of old Sefarim. I happen to have a copy of this particular Sefer of Reb Zalman Aufhaussen. It doesn’t say that it was a live debate. Read the intro. A guy Samuel (which Reb Zalman spells in an interesting way) Brenz made a book called Shlangenbald and Reb Zalman Tzvi put out this Kutres as a retort. You can look up these people on wikipedia.

    By the way, how do you prove something didn’t happen? Some of what people consider proofs, I consider a joke, as I mentioned earlier. So, all we have is tradition. This, I won’t knock away with a joke.

    #945042

    just my hapence
    Participant

    The oldest printing I could find of the Aufhaussen debate is from 1863, still not 1614. Which still makes it an unverified secondary source. Even if it is accurate, having had a second look it appears as if it is not a ra’aya but aderaba… See

    http://seforim.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/golem-of-prague-in-recent-rabbinic.html

    #945043

    Robertz
    Member

    A great golem book ” Snow In August” by Pete Hamil

    #945044

    twisted
    Participant

    Of course they can speak. Just about every other political office is filled by a golem, and some just never shut up.

    #945045

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I dont know about speech, but reading these boards is obvious they know how to use a keyboard.

    #945046

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    It is a Raaya that the story was around then. It is also a Raaya that Reb Zalman didn’t know of it. That is why I said that perhaps it was only known to non-Jews.

    Perhaps it was a rumor that the Jews spread in order to scare their neighbors. Perhaps the Meshumad was referring to the Golem of Reb Adam Baal Shem, or Reb Avigdor. Perhaps the peasants decided they saw one coming from the Maharal’s house. There are many possibilities, but the story was around then.

    I can’t do better than take a Sefer’s word that it was written when it was. It says it was written in ??? ???”?, which is six years after the Maharal was Niftar.

    By the way, did you notice that hollow proof, that the Maharal never mentioned it in any of his Sefarim!? ??? ??? ????, ??? ???! Is that what you were expecting to find? However, the fact that it shows up suddenly at one time, all over, does pose a difficult question.

    #945047

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    By the way, did anyone ever hear of the Ibn Ezra’s Golem?

    #945048

    Sam2
    Participant

    Talmud: The Rambam in the Iggeres on astrology says that we can Pasken Hashkafa and that we (meaning he) holds that any Shittah in the Tannaim and Amoraim that involves supernatural things (and astrology) is a Shittah that we don’t hold by.

    HaLeiVi: The Rambam in the Moreh defines Malachim as something as something entirely different than we think of them. He interprets almost every miraculous event in both Chumash and Nach as a dream or a Nevuah (with a few exceptions). He did not believe that Tzaddikim can perform the supernatural.

    #945049

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    In the Moreh he writes that a Malach made the donkey talk. He interprets visions of Malachim as dream state but not the Nisim of Tanach. Where does he negate the ability of a Tzaddik to bring about a miracle? Did he re-interpret Rava bringing rain out of season, or Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai’s many Nisim when the Gemara called them Nisim?

    Truthfully, the fact that he rejects any mention of magic and astrology as a Daas Yachid, when we find quotes from the whole range of Tanain and Amoraim, and never a dissenting voice, makes it sound like an apologetic approach. This is probably why, as you said, it didn’t really last. But it gave a handle to those who can’t accept the straightforward approach, so that they can remain Frum and dismiss these uncomfortable parts as Daas Yachid.

    #945050

    yitz17
    Participant

    Old man. You should be ashamed of yourself, quoting a “well known” gemora at Sanhedrin 65b that “says” that a golem has never been and never will be. Not only is there no such gemora, the gemora over there says the exact opposite. The gemora says “Rovoh created a man and sent to R Zierah, R’ Zierah tried to speak to him and he wouldn’t answer. R’ Ziera said that you from my friend return to your earth”. So the gemora says that Rovoh created a man that was made from the earth. As to the question of whether a golem can speak, Rashi says that the reason the golem didn’t answer R’ Zierah was because he did not have the capacity for speech.

    #945051

    Sam2
    Participant

    HaLeiVi: Wasn’t that exactly what I said? The Rambam is an extreme minority opinion but that still doesn’t mean that is one allowed to make fun of him (or those who follow him)?

    #945052

    old man
    Participant

    “the Maharal could have made a Golem but probably didn’t” to be a bit of a cop-out, this is exactly the shitto of R’ Avrohom Gurwitz shlit’a. “

    This is a good technique to use if one wants to increase the stature of the person spoken of.But as an argument, it is worse than useless. The claim that “So and so can do this but he didn’t want to”, or “could have done it, but probably didn’t” leads nowhere, except to the suspicion that the reason he didn’t was because he couldn’t.

    To Yitz17, please calm down. I didn’t quote the gemara, it was quoted to me. I simply acknowledged that I am familiar with the gemara and what Rashi says on the daf. I myself maintain that the story referred to did not actually occur, but was a dream.

    To Sam2, the Rambam is not alone here in his interpretation of such stories as possible dreams. Rabeinu Chananel and his talmid chaver Rav Nissim both interpreted these types of “events” as dreams only or allegories, and not as actual physical events. I am referring specifically to the gemaras in Brachos 19a, Bava Metzia 59a, and Bava Metzia 107b.

    I am undisturbed by the emotional outbursts here calling me a boor, an apikores, a liberal, MO or whatnot. I accept it as a commendable expression of passion for what they believe in, even though it is adolescent behavior at its finest.

    Bottom line: There is absolutely no Jewish dogma that requires belief that man can create animate life from inanimate matter. And for good reason. It is impossible, and so it never happened, recorded or not.

    #945053

    just my hapence
    Participant

    HaLeivi – I was referring to footnote 28, not the main body of the article. His point is that it is clear from the vikuach that the mumar is referring to Golems in general (not the Maharal’s specifically) to which R’ Aufhaussen responds that no-one makes Golems anymore. It is a ra’aya simply that people knew of Golems in general (especially this mumar who had learned Gemoro), but if the Maharal had made one in Prague (where the vikuach took place) 10/20 years earlier there is no way that R’ Aufhaussen could claim that no-one makes them anymore (a sort of ‘lo chotzif inash’).

    I can’t do better than take a Sefer’s word that it was written when it was. It says it was written in ??? ???”?, which is six years after the Maharal was Niftar.

    This is the point. You can choose to believe it, but there is no way that you can show it to someone else as proof. To take the word of a book first published 250 years after it was supposedly written where there is no corroborative proof of the accuracy of its content is dubious. If you wish to believe it, fine, but don’t try and use it as proof for others. If we could do that I could claim that thousands of years ago Elves, Dwarves, Wargs, Trolls, Orcs, Uruk-Hai, Ents, Giant Spiders and Oliphaunts were hanging around what is now Northern Europe because I take the book’s word for it.

    #945054

    just my hapence
    Participant

    old man –

    “the Maharal could have made a Golem but probably didn’t” to be a bit of a cop-out, this is exactly the shitto of R’ Avrohom Gurwitz shlit’a. “

    This is a good technique to use if one wants to increase the stature of the person spoken of.But as an argument, it is worse than useless. The claim that “So and so can do this but he didn’t want to”, or “could have done it, but probably didn’t” leads nowhere, except to the suspicion that the reason he didn’t was because he couldn’t.

    I think you got the wrong end of the wrong stick. I was referring to those who maintain that the Maharal’s Golem definitely existed and to say he could have made one but didn’t is a cop-out. To which I responded that there are some very high profile Rabbonim who hold that. I was not trying to say that the Maharal ‘didn’t want to’, simply that he had the requisite knowledge (Sefer Yetzira etc.) and piety to do it. We know he learned Sefer Yetzira, this is well documented, as well as being very well-versed in many areas of Kabbala. We know he was an extremely holy person. This is all that was meant. Nothing more.

    #945055

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The Gemara doesn’t use the word Golem. It started at some point. True, he doesn’t say it was the Maharal. But I am showing that the story was around. And, as others have said in the past, not necessarily was it a well known fact. Those that bumped into it knew about it.

    The question is, how would the Meshumad know how it was made?

    You shouldn’t comparee what you found in a book to a book itself. You are saying that not everything printed is true, and I am am saying that a book with an author was authored by that author. I didn’t see anyone questioning its authorship. All online articles seemed to be aware of the Shlangenbald.

    Old books are constantly used as ‘documented proof’. I never noticed the requests to see the original manuscripts. Do you ask, how do we know the Maharal wrote Be’er Hagolah and Derech Chaim? Did you see the manuscripts?

    #945056

    acers
    Participant

    Aruch Hashulchan (EH 13), Quote: “I will tell you a great principle: Chazal, besides their holiness and wisdom in the Torah, were also greater scholars in the natural sciences those savants (“mischakmim”) who would argue against their pure words. And someone who disagrees with them testifies about himself that he does not believe in Torah she bal peh, even though he would be embarrassed to admit it outright.”

    The Gemora in Sanhedrin (100a) tells that R. Yochanan derived from a posuk that when Moshiach comes, the gates of Jerusalem will be made of jewels 30 amos long and 30 amos high. Some student said that such big jewels do not exist – “we do not even find jewels as big as doves eggs,” he said. Then, one day the student saw angels (!) cutting such big stones, and he asked them what they are for. The angels answered: “They are for the gates of Jerusalem”. When next he saw R. Yochana, he praised his qualifications for expounding the Torah, based on his “scientific observation” that confirmed the Rebbi’s interpretation. R. Yochanan responded, “Bum! You only believe because of what you see? You dishonor the words of the Sages!”, and the student died.

    The Ran (Drashos #13) points out that the statement of R. Yochana had no halachic relevance at all – it was merely an Agadic interpretation, and the disagreement was regarding a scientific fact, yet the student was punished for not believing in its truth. Therefore, he concludes: “Just as we are commanded to follow their opinions regarding laws of the Torah, so too are we commanded to follow all of what they say from tradition in Hashkafa (“Deos”), and medrash on Pesukim. And someone who veers from their words, even in something that has no relevance to any Mitzvah, is an apikores and has no share in the next world.

    #945057

    just my hapence
    Participant

    Haleivi – That’s not what I was saying. I was saying that if a document suddenly appears 250 years after it was purportedly written that has not been published before it is unwise to assume that the authorship is genuine and that the content is reliable. I’m sure you would not take the word of the New Testament (a document with similar origin, though it appeared 70-90 years after it was purportedly written rather than 250) just because it said it was accurate. The writings of the Maharal were published in his lifetime and (despite a break in publication) can be traced back to him.

    Furthermore, the mumar also doesn’t use the word golem (that appears in brackets) but calls them men made out of clay. And he is still talking about golems in general. And you haven’t actually answered the question: how could R’ Aufhaussen claim no golems were made anymore when all present would have seen or heard of one had the Maharal made one?

    Joseph – shaychus?!

    #945058

    Sam2
    Participant

    Just my Hapence: SHU”T Chacham Tzvi Siman 63 is a good Ra’aya that there were rumors of a Golem closer to that time.

    #945059

    just my hapence
    Participant

    Haleivi – We have a mimah nafshoch – if the Aufhaussen record is accurate (or valid) then the Maharal probably didn’t make a Golem (or else how could Aufhaussen claim otherwise 10/20 years later against people who would have seen or heard of it); if the Maharal made a Golem then the Aufhaussen record isn’t accurate (or valid).

    Your choice, can’t take both…

    #945060

    just my hapence
    Participant

    Sam2 – I’m open to the idea of a Maharal Golem, like I said before. I’m questioning the validity of the Aufhaussen source.

    #945061

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Or like I suggested, he didn’t know about it and it was not widely known amongst us.

    #945062

    just my hapence
    Participant

    How could he not have known?! It’s a whacking great clay man going around beating up Czechs, that kind of thing tends to get noticed. If a mumar knew, the Jews certainly did.

    #945063

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is no primary non-jewish source for the Golem of Prague.

    #945064

    yitz17
    Participant

    Old Man. How do you simply state that “I myself maintain that it was a dream”. Why this story in the gemora. Why don’t you say the same thing about any story that the gemora says that you hold cannot be true. The gemora doesn’t say anything about a dream, but is says that this happened.

    And there are two characters in this story, so whose dream was it. You are confusing this with places that an amorah says the term “chozoh” as in he saw, which can be interpreted as seeing in a dream, as this is the term used by nevuah, like chazon yeshayahu.

    You are getting very close to being a mal’ig al divrie chochomim, in saying that what they said did in fact happen could not have possibly happened.

    As to calming down. The reason that you should be ashamed of yourself is for stating that the gemora says something when the gemora says the exact opposite. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are not misleading a bunch of people (and you did because apparently everyone believed you)into believing the gemora says something that is completely false. You could have said that you heard that there was a gemora, but you knew that this wouldn’t mean anything. So instead you declared that there is a “well known gemora”. Shame on you.

    #945065

    Sam2
    Participant

    Yitz: You misread him. He said that he knows that the idea of a Golem is a well-known Gemara but he holds it can’t be so. And, as I said earlier, be careful how strongly you argue. He is in the Rambam’s company, however minority an opinion it is.

    #945066

    yitz17
    Participant

    Sam2. He said that what the gemora says as a factual story was in his opinion a dream. So he does not accept that the gemora says this. In fact he declared that that very gemora said that there has never been a golem when the gemora says the exact opposite. To simply say that “in my opinion it was a dream” is not an accepted way of dismissing a story in the gemora.

    I would imagine that the rambam holds about this gemora like he says in Chelek about many agdah gemorohs, that they are not k’pshtutom but that they are alluding to something else with those words, and not to a factual story.

    Also the Ramchal brings a story that when the rambam was an older man he was in Yerushalyim and a person started telling him about kabalah. The Ramchal writes that after the Rambam heard what this person told him “he regretted with great regret many things that he wrote”. So the Rambam’s opinions about many if these types of things are because he was basing himself on logic because he was not aware of kabalah, not that he knew of the concepts of kabalah and disagreed with them.

    #945067

    zaidy78
    Participant

    I once heard from a Rosh Yeshiva who has a knack for history that in all probablity the Golem never exsisted.

    But the STORY of the Golem most definently did exsist in the times of the Maharal.

    The Maharal, in order to make the goyim scared of the Yidden, concocted and led everyone to believe that there was a Golem capable of doing all of these things to people who made problems for the Yidden of Prague. He allowed all the stories about the great Golem (who noone ever actually saw, but everyone knew someone who actually saw it) to continue and grow to help klal yisroel from our enemies.

    #945068

    Sam2
    Participant

    Yitz: Calling it a dream or a Remez or an allegory is the same basic thing. It means you learn something from it but accept that it didn’t happen. He’s answering it the same way the Rambam would.

    And that story is nice, but it doesn’t make any sense. The Rambam wrote a ton and referred to some Kabbalistic literature (Shiur Komah). He rejected all of it. I find it very, very hard to believe.

    #945069

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, he wasn’t referring to the Sefer of the Ramak, was he? I don’t know what he saw, but he definitely wasn’t complaining about a Zohar Hakadosh.

    But again, where do you find that he had a problem with Nissim? He held Malachim are not related to the physical and therefore cannot be seen. This is why he explains all such visions to be dream state. But, where do you find that he had a problem with Hashem performing Nissim for His close ones, as in fruits growing out of a tree, raining on particular spots that were pointed out by a person, being saved from falling off a high roof, or knowing a strangers name?

    The Rambam did not believe in Kishuf or Sheidim perhaps, and calls such references Daas Yachid, but someone who can’t comprehend a Ness is not based on the Rambam.

    #945070

    Sam2
    Participant

    HaLeiVi: I think he says that explicitly in the Moreh. He says in the introduction to Chelek (I think) that Hashgacha Pratis is only for those very few great Tzaddikim. I’ll try and find where in the Moreh he specifically talks about Nissim when I get a chance. I’m pretty sure he clearly says that it was only a very select few times in history. Not that they happened to Chazal. (At least, not Nissim that violate Teva.)

    Shiur Komah is a (presumably) allegorical Sefer that gives the size of each of Hashem’s limbs. It fits in with other Heichalot literature. Some claim it was written by R’ Akiva. The Rambam, quite obviously, doesn’t.

    #945071

    old man
    Participant

    As I said before, the Rambam was not alone in his approach to stories about supernatural acts. Rabbeinu Chananel, Rav Nissim and probably others had the same dream/allegorical approach.

    I have no problem with those who believe that the stories are literal. I have a big problem with those who insist that one who doesn’t believe that is a kofer, apikores, mal’ig, etc… In addition, I am distressed by the use of magical act capability as a barometer of spiritual greatness. The greats of all time, the Rambams, the Ramas, the Nodah Be’yehudas, the Chofetz Chaims ,the Chazon Ishes, were great not because they could have made a golem but didn’t. Not because they could perform neurosurgery but didn’t, and not because they could predict when Moshiach will come but kept or are keeping it to themselves. Misguided dogma such as this is not only wrong, but makes a mockery of our faith.

    I felt it was important for those who read these threads to know that there are legitimate opinions out there other than the typical mesivta high school one. Let each one examine the issue and come to his own conclusion. I came to my conclusion, I expressed it, and I’ll defend it.

    #945072

    old man
    Participant

    Oh, yes, one more thing. To Yitz17, you misunderstood my post again, please read the thread from the beginning. I know what the gemara says, and I never said it says something other than what it says. It tells a story about a golem without calling it by that name. I don’t dismiss the story at all. I maintain that this is a story that occurred in a dream. That’s it.

    #945073

    playtime
    Member

    Old man, control in your hand

    Slam your fist on the table

    And make your demand

    Take a stand

    Fan a fire for the flame of age

    Got the freedom to choose

    You better make the right move

    Old man, the power’s in your hand

    Slam your fist on the table and make your demand

    You better make the right move

    (wantin to say that for awhile. (apologies to mattisyahu) May you find a better way)

    #945074

    Uh, Nu?

    (if a golem could speak, it would translate to “hello, how’s everything?”)

    #945075

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Actually it translates to Arf Arf! — which means, “Hi, I exist and I’m here.”

    #945076

    computer777
    Member

    I don’t believe in the story of the golem. I also don’t have an opinion on whether the Maharal was able to create one. Why must one believe that he was able to create one? It seems that everyone here believes that one must believe that.

    #945077

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    I also don’t have an opinion on whether the Maharal was able to create one. Why must one believe that he was able to create one? It seems that everyone here believes that one must believe that.

    Not that one must believe that, just that we do believe that. One must only believe that it is possible by someone, like Betzalel, or Rava. This is unless you nutralize the words of our sages by spraying ‘dream’.

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