Golem FAQ

General Golem Related

What is the Kabbalah?
Within Judaism, Kabbalah is a part of the Torah which describes creation and God's relationship to that creation. It defines both a series of texts, particularly the Zohar and including the Sefer Yetzirah, as well as defining a system of mysticism and interpretation of Scripture.

What is the Sefer Yetzirah?
The Sefer Yetzirah is associated with Kabbalistic texts. It was written some time between the 2nd and 6th centuries. The text is attributed to Abraham, and was probably transcribed later by Rabbi Akiba, though the exact origins are unknown.

Sefer Yetzirah is Hebrew for "The Book of Creation," and it describes the mystic way in which to create a golem through contemplation of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the 10 Sefirot.

What are Sefirot?
Described in Kabbalistic texts, the Sefirot are divine aspects of God which can be known through the lowest of the Sefirot, the Malkhut. The Sefirot allow us to relate to the unknowable God, the Eyn Sof. There are ten such Sefirot: Keter (crown), Hokhmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding), Hesed (mercy/greatness), Din (judgement/might), Tiferet (splendor), Netzah (triumph), Hod (majesty), Yesod (foundation), and Malkhut (kingship). The Sefirot are divided into male and female aspects. It is believed that through the uniting of these two aspects, specifically the uniting of Tiferet with Malkhut, the world can be redeemed.

What is a mikvah?
A mikvah is a ritual bath. It is used to become ritually pure. It is never for the purpose of cleaning or bathing the body, but is instead to cleanse ritual impurity. The word mikvah is Hebrew and means a "pool" or "gathering" of water. The mikvah must only contain water and be built into the ground. The water should not be flowing, but still must be brought together by natural means. The water must not be channeled by anything that could become unclean.

Why is there a bucket of water in the FAQ header?
Questions flow like water, of which there is an endless supply. The bucket exists to catch these questions, like droplets. However, a bucket can only be finitely sized, and inevitably some questions will flow out, unanswered.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time anyways.

What is a golem?
A golem is a mystical creature of clay and dust. It is subservient to its creator, though in legend it can become uncontrollable. This clay creature is traditionally in the figure of a man. The golem is based on Kabbalistic texts and figures prominently in the Sefer Yetzirah. In the past, legends of the creation of a golem restricted the creation to Rabbi's. More recent stories suggest creation by wizards or even the common man.

What's so great about a golem anyways?
Golems follow the instructions of their master without question. They are rumored to be extremely strong and practically indestructable. They're good at carrying out menial tasks and are handy around the house. Golems also make great town defense systems.

Why isn't the golem saying anything?
Golems, according to legend, are traditionally incapable of speech. There is some mention that, because golems are made in the image of man and not in the image of God, they can't speak.

Does the golem have a soul?
No. Because golems are the creation of man and not of God, golems do not have souls.

What gender is a golem?
Golems are thought of as genderless but commonly referred to as male. There is one instance of a female golem created by a Rabbi Shelemo ben Gabirol; rumors abounded that she was his concubine.

What happens if I do something wrong?
Theory suggests that if something goes wrong during the initial creation process of the golem you will need to restart the process from the very beginning. It should have no immediate adverse effects.

If something goes wrong after the golem has been created, and the golem begins destroying the village, it is possible to destroy it:

I've followed all of the directions correctly but it still won't work. What did I do wrong?
Golem creation is generally reserved for those learned wise men, like Rabbis or Zaddiks, who have dedicated their life to God and the Torah. Those Rabbis who have been attributed with golem creation are considered to be very holy and spiritual. If you can't successfully create the golem, either you have made a slight mistake in pronounciation or you have not achieved the proper state of holiness.

Will the golem kill me?
This is entirely within the realm of possibility. Golems seem more uncontrollable the longer they have been in existence. Thus, the longer you use the golem, the more likely it will rampage.

Can my golem be tried as an adult?
Contact your local authorities for the laws concerning golems. You may be considered liable for any destruction of property caused by the golem should you lose control of it at any point.

Why should I make a golem?
Golems are useful as mute servants. They follow any command given by their master. Their great strength makes them ideal for lifting tasks as well as for defense. They are incapable of feeling pain. Plus, they are low cost on upkeep. Golems are also created to prove one's mastery of the Sefer Yetzirah.

Will God be pissed that I'm creating golems?
Creation of a golem is a special case. Only the most righteous of believers are allowed to create them. Some say that only those who are near to God and his wisdom will be able to follow the ritual to completion. So no, God shouldn't be pissed.

Does the golem need to observe the Sabbath?
Yes. In one legend, the golem is allowed to observe the Sabbath every week. The Rabbi temporarily deanimated it at night, reanimating it after Sabbath passed. One day, the Rabbi was busy and forgot about the golem. The golem became violent and uncontrollable, rampaging through the village and destroying half of the homes. The Rabbi was forced to destroy the golem.

Will the golem be redeemed at the time of the Messiah?
Golem redemption is uncertain. Because the golem is soulless, it's unlikely there is something to redeem in the first place. However, according to Kabbalistic or Hasidic teaching, all objects in the world around us contain the sparks which must be lifted up. Thus, even the golem would play some part in the Redemption, unless the very act of creation by man causes the sparks to flee the materials used.

Why was Golem so fixated on the Ring?
That's "Gollum" not "Golem" and you're in the wrong FAQ.