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Inanimate to Animate - Life with a Word.

17 Sep 2017 18:01 #1 by ARLewis
ARLewis ► Inanimate to Animate - Life with a Word.
Inanimate to Animate - Life with a Word.

The vast majority of us have made a sand castle at some point in our lives. We’ve taken water and mixed it with earth and made a shape from it...fueled by our imaginations. With that fuel, the form is given that allows movement and the ability to shape and affect that which is around it. Without even knowing it, we experimented with a not so simplistic form of alchemy. On that simple beach or in that simple sandbox, we took two of the four great elements, earth and water, and combined them to make something. As with all alchemy, a power or outside force has to be applied to effect such changes. In this case, it was pure imagination, which can be one of the most powerful forces in existence.

But...that happens if something other than imagination is used? What happens if a divine power can be channeled and added to that already powerful chemical compilation of forces? What if, as some great theologians would say, the Word of God Himself was added into the mix? Ask the MaHaRaL of Prague in the late 16th century and you would have your answer.

Judah Loew ben Benzalel is known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, which is actually a Hebrew acronym of “Moreinu Ha-Rav Loew,” (“Our Teacher, Rabbi Loew”). He should be best known for his work with the Torah, Jewish philosophy and mysticism, and making such ideals accessible to the average educated reader. Instead, he is most well known for having created a figure out of clay and the Word of God...the idea of which could actually be traced back to Adam himself in Genesis. According to the Bible, God made man, aka first Adam in this case, by molding a figure from ash and dust and then breathing life into it. The Maharal did essentially the same thing...not out of hubris, but out of hope for protection for his people.

The Holy Roman Emperor at the time, Rudolf II, ruled that the Jews in Prague were to be exiled or executed. The Rabbi went to the banks of the Vitava River and molded a human figure out of clay. Rabbi Loew then placed a shem, a mystical scroll with the name of God upon it, within the mouth of the figure and it came to life. Whether this figure stayed in a statue-esc form or if it transmuted to look the same as a normal human is where accounts of the story start to shift. Suffice it to say, the Golem, was tasked with defending the Jews from persecution, both physical societal...aka bullying and violence from the other people around them.

The Golem was more than successful. Since he couldn’t be stopped or destroyed except by removing the shem, which only the Rabbi knew about at the time, the Jews were able to live and prosper….eventually not having to worry about death around every corner. Unfortunately, the Rabbi neglected at one point to deactivate the Golem for the Sabbath, the day of rest, and the Golem began to act uncontrollably and started to destroy the city and “all” of those in it. The Rabbit was forced to deactivate the Golem for good by again removing the shem and destroying it, which caused the Golem to crumble to pieces.

Alchemy + power [ie imagination or divine authority] - humility [or + neglect] = violent lack of control. Take the sand castle again. Earth and water, breathe in some imagination, and you can have a place where stories and life are made. One wrong step, by someone not paying attention or not caring, and the beauty is gone. Alchemists in the Afterlife, and in some cases nature itself, have perfected the formulae that the Maharal of Prague provided and the Golem is now one of the most powerful minions that exists. It can destroy, it can protect, and is nigh indestructible. Please just never neglect your imaginative control of it.


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