- Golem - Another Mistake
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- (The following is a letter I sent to another Jewish wesbite:)
- I wish to complain about your content which is displaying Judaism as
a magical type of religion, not as the rational system it truly is. To
be fair, our site always quotes a reader's opinion. I also ask that
you create a section where reader's comments - as mine - are
- Your site reads:
- "The story is told of how the Vilna Gaon was in the
process of making a Golem. (A Golem is a living human like body
without a soul, which Kabbalists were able to create through
combining the Hebrew letters into various Names of God.) An angel
from God came and told the Vilna Gaon that it wasn't appropriate,
and he should stop making the Golem. Why? Because the Vilna Gaon was
not yet Bar Mitzvah!
On the other hand, age 15 is a full-fledged adult! "
- Many arguments can be lodged against the concept of a
"golem" a man-made human not using natural processes of
fertilization of eggs:
- How is it that man can do what God has not?
- If it is a good, why hasn't God created a golem Himself?
- What purpose would a human being serve without a soul?
- And if it has no soul and therefore no perception of its Creator,
then the Rishonim who explain all the limbs of man to be solely for
praising God would be wrong according to this view. Didn't these
Rishonim think before they wrote?
- And lastly, golem removes God's exclusivity as the Creator and gives
it to man as well. Utterly ridiculous.
- The Rishonim clearly disagree with such notions that man has any
powers. Read Saadia Gaon in his sefer Emunos V'Daos ( "The Book
of Beliefs and Opinions"). He shows rationally that man is a
created being, and as such, has no powers, especially over his own
life. How then can he have power over any one else's life and make
golems? It is nonsense and against Judaism. Do not simply repeat
stories because the ignorant masses love them. Use your minds and
determine what is sound reasoning before you publicize fairy tales on
the internet. Do not be misled to believe that what is in print is
true. Yes, I have heard of the golem stories, but it is against all
reason and definitely never occured. Publications do not prove a
theory as true. If all the books in the world said that 2+2=5, you
would be wrong to accept it. Here too is the same case.
- If you feel my approach of rationality and proof is my own, please
see my article on my site (www.mesora.org) entitled "God's
Existence: Belief of Proof?" Read the Rishonim I have quoted, and
check their sefarim to see if I misquoted them. They unanimously agree
that proof is what Judaism demands, in all areas.You make a grave
error by taking medrashim literally, something which Rishonim
instructed otherwise. Have not the learned Jews at your organization
learned Maimonides' son's introduction to Ein Yaakov, where Avraham
ben haRambam teaches that fantastic stories in the Talmud are not to
be taken literally? Isn't Rambam's son a formidable enough a Rabbi to
adhere to, or at least study?
- Your intent to present Judaic values is admirable, but your content
must be authentic, not displaying allegories as real. Your result will
be developing people's attachment to mystical things, and when they
see their life bereft of those desired miracles which were really
allegories, they might just abandon Judaism, as it doesn't afford the
mystical life they sought erroneously, evoked by such fables. Train
the Jews to use their minds, and conversely, they will see through
such fables, they will abandon delving into fantasy worlds, and will
develop independent thought and rational analysis which will not only
benefit them in Torah, but in their daily lives. The world works
rationally, as it was designed by a Perfect, Rational Creator. The
Torah teaches man to use his mind, not to abandon reason and assume
mystical and magical things beyond perception and explanation. Again,
please see the Rishonim I have spent time quoting in my article. Here
is a sample of the Rishonim quoted:
- Ibn Ezra (Exod. 20:1): "if we find any of them
(mitzvos) which contradicts common sense, it isn't proper that we
should understand it as implied. But we should consult the books of
the wise men of blessed memory, to determine if such a command is a
metaphor. And if we find nothing written (by them) we would require
to search out with all our ability, perhaps we can fix it (determine
it). If we can't, then we abandon that mitzvah as it is, and admit
we are ignorant of it".
- Teach Judaism as the Rishonim did. They did not teach of phony
magicians as the Bal Shem Tov who was told to have read minds. Again
ask yourself, if Moshe Rabbeinu and King Solomon could not read minds,
how could anyone much lower do so? Elisha purposely did not leave his
house to instruct Naaman, the general of Aram to bathe in the Jordan,
as Elisha did not want Naaman to think he had powers. Elisha wished
that Naaman be impressed with God, so Elisha sent his servant to give
the instructions to Naaman, thereby not taking any spotlight for the
miraculous removal of Naaman's leprosy.
- The Torah shows us by example of the neveim (prophets) that one who
claims ability to perform wonders is not within the pale of God's true
worshippers. Elisha did not want Naaman to think he had powers, which
in fact Elisha didn't have. It is clear that Rabbis today or in the
Bal Shem Tov's times who professed their innate abilities to perform
wonders are actually against Elisha. We know Elisha was a prophet, and
acted properly in this instance with Naaman. We therefore arrive at
the conclusion that those who profess miraculous ability are against
- We must adhere to the words of the Talmud and the Rishonim if we are
to keep Judaism as intended.
- I can write much more, and bring sources for you to determine
yourself whether to follow Chazal or ridiculous stories.
Eventually in life, you will be posed with statements of Chazal which
oppose such stories, you will then have to decide which is correct, as
the Rabbis teach us that two opposing views in philosophy cannot both
be right. This is why we find the Rabbis arguing on each other and not
saying "We are both right" , as fools think today. Rabbis
argued in the Talmud because they believed their fellow Jew was
incorrect. Thereby teaching us that we too must choose what our minds
see as truth, and deny the veracity of oppossing views.
- I do not require a response, but please try to learn Chazal, the
Talmud and the Rishonim before posting any more articles which are
truly against the Baalei Hamesora.
- Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim