The Golem and the Won­drous Deeds of the Mahar­al of Prague

Yudl Rosen­berg; Curt Leviant , trans. & ed.
  • Review
By – March 23, 2012

Writ­ten in 1909, this is a delight­ful col­lec­tion of tales about the renowned Rab­bi Loew of Prague and the leg­endary crea­ture he was said to have ani­mat­ed. Rosenberg’s golem serves the frag­ile Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty when they most need help, against threats of blood libel. Each of the tales show­cas­es the wis­dom, human­i­ty, and com­mon sense used by the Mahar­al (Rab­bi Loew) in his deal­ings with the evil priest Thad­deus, the Good King Rudolf and the local police. All the trap­pings of the clas­sic dra­ma are here. The author gives us insight into 16th cen­tu­ry Prague, but also into the real time” of the man­u­script, the ear­ly 20th century. 

As Curt Leviant points out in his excel­lent intro­duc­tion, this won­der­ful lit­tle book elab­o­rat­ed and defined the sto­ry of the golem, and paved the way for glo­ri­ous rein­ter­pre­ta­tions until this day. (Pete Hammil’s Snow in August comes to mind.) Notes.

Sydelle Shamah has been lead­ing book club dis­cus­sions for many years, and is a pub­lished sci­ence fic­tion writer. She was pres­i­dent of the Ruth Hyman Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter of Mon­mouth Coun­ty, NJ.

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