Legend of Prague´s Golem

Rabi Low a Golem

Today we will transfer to Prague, namely to the 16th century – the reign period of the Emperor Rudolph II. It was a period of disturbances, when the Jewish inhabitants were suffering from numerous pogroms and other riots. Rabbi Löw was trying to protect the inhabitants of the Prague ghetto and he also provided them with spiritual comfort. The legend of the Golem of Prague started to spread in effort to avert the riots of the neighbouring Christian inhabitants.

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Creation of Golem artificial man - Golem
Rabbi Löw is said to have had a dream in which a sign occured: Make a creature of mad who that help you against all the enemies! And so it was. One night, few days later, he and another two scholars dressed in white robes went behind the town. In the morning they reached the place where they close to the river Vltava found the right, fine and humid mud of which they formed a figure of a huge man - Golem. Afterwards Rabbi commanded one of the scholars to go seven-times round Golem while he was saying sacred words. During this ritual the body of mud dried up and changed into glowing iron. One of the pupils performed a similar procedure and the body started to cool down. Finally the ritual was repeated by Rabbi himself. After he had made the seventh circuit he leaned to Golem and he inserted a card with a secret sign into his mouth. As soon as he did so Golem had opened his eyes and started to get up.

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Golem in the ghetto artificial man - Golem
Rabbi and his men dressed Golem and they took him back to Prague. They brought him along to the house of Rabbi Löw and said it was a new servant. He was helping in the synagogue during the day but he fulfilled his main tasks in the night. He was walking through the streets of the Prague ghetto and was guarding to prevent any attacks against the Jewish inhabitants who he protected. According to a legend a maid from a Christian family got lost in the neighbourhood of the Jewish Ghetto. The first suspected, selected by the Christians, was Golem who they were scared of. There was no other way how to prove his innocence except for finding the lost maid. So Rabbi ordered Golem to go and find her. It took him some time to find her and the situation calmed down for some time again.

Golem´s destiny Old-New Synagogue
Gradually his power grew and grew so to and fro Rabbi took out the „shem“ – which he had under his tongue – to weaken his power. Unfortunatelly, one day he forgot to take it out and Golem was brimming over with energy until he could not control himself anymore. He ran out to the street and he was like mad breaking everything what was in his way. However, Rabbi arrived in a while, commanded Golem to stop it and he took the „shem“ out and replaced it by a new one. Then he told him to leave and take a rest in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue. Golem obeyed, went to the attic where he lay down and fell asleep. In the meantime Rabbi Löw called his two assistants who had helped him activate Golem and together they went to the synagogue. They stood around the sleeping Golem and backwards uttered the magical formula which they had used for his activation. Golem strated to weaken, his body was decomposing and finally nothing but dust remained from the huge figure.

Since that moment it had been forbidden to enter the attic of the synagogue. The restriction was followed for long years. The first man who dared to enter the attic of the synagogue was a researcher and chief Rabbi of Prague Rabbi Landau in the 18th century. Apparently, he returned completely pale, shivering all over and immediately again forbade to enter the attic of the synagogue without telling anybody what he had seen up there. The attic was closed for long years yet the researchers have not found any remains of Golem there.

The articles are divided into thematic parts:

  • In the first part we have prepared general information on Judaism for you.
  • In the second part we will introduce the main view points of the Old Jewish Town to you.
  • And the third part involves other Jewish landmarks of Prague.

How the site Jewish Prague works:

Description of the Jewish Prague is given in form of the articles that can be found below.

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GENERAL INFORMATION ON JUDAISM:

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Life in the name of the Torah 
Jewish traditions and customs

Meaning of „Kosher“
Synagogue
Jewish prayer 
Mordechai Maisel

Rabi Löw
Franz Kafka 
Noted Jewish Personalities
 
Legend of Prague´s Golem

History of the Jewish inhabitants in the Czech lands
Sanitation of the Jewish ghetto

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Map of the Old Jewish Town- Josefov  in Prague:

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Pinkasova synagoga: 50.089283, 14.417005
Starý židovský hřbitov: 50.088983, 14.417166
Maiselova synagoga: 50.088781, 14.418677
Obřadní síň - budova pražského Pohřebního bratrstva: 50.090037, 14.417031
Staronová synagoga: 50.089926, 14.418488
Klausová synagoga: 50.090350, 14.421120
Vysoká synagoga a židovská radnice: 50.089971, 14.418582
Španělská synagoga: 50.090209, 14.421019

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MAIN MONUMENTS OF THE PRAGUE OLD JEWISH TOWN:

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Prague Jewish Town – Josefov (Pražské židovské město)
Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova synagoga)
Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasova synagoga)
Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý Židovský Hřbitov)
Klausen Synagogue (Klausová synagoga)
Jewish Ceremonial Hall – building of Prague Burial Society
Old New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga)
Jewish Town Hall (Židovská radnice)
High Synagogue (Vysoká synagoga) 
Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga)
Jewish Museum (Židovské muzeum)

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Map of the other Jewish Monuments in Prague:

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Židovské památky mimo cetrum: 50.087371, 14.420820

Jubilee Synagogue in Jerusalem Street (Jubilejní synagoga v Jerusalémské ulici)
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague´s Žižkov(Starý židovský hřbitov na Žižkově)
New Jewish Cemetery (Nový židovský hřbitov)
Smíchov Synagogue (Smíchovská synagoga)
Old Jewish Cemetery in Smíchov
(Starý židovský hřbitov na Smíchově)

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DOWNLOAD: Tourist guide PRAGUE PRAGUE CITY LINE 1

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Průvodce Praha 1 - ENG - úvodní stránka

  Tourist guide PRAGUE CITY LINE - Prague 1 (14,7 MiB)

Prague 1 still belongs to one of the most attractive parts of the whole Prague. Probably nowhere else you can find such a concentration of historic monuments and places where the history and romance of bygone times are all around you. Hardly anywhere you can walk on the same paths where were walking Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the Golem of Prague.

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PHOTO GALLERY :

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