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Thoughts on Rabbis and Golems

The very best rabbis make the worst golems.

A good golem is a mixture of crude image and an ineffable name of God. So a rabbi who drops the ball can sometimes get the mix wrong, or make the image too crude, or not crude enough, of the name of God, too ineffable or not ineffable enough.

While a rabbi who is not thinking too hard, and just making a golem according to the recipe, can sometimes get out of his head and just do it. He slaps the clay together so it looks crude but not too crude, he looks in the book and grabs a name that you can’t say but is obviously a name of God, ba-da-bing ba-da-boom and there’s your golem.

Somebody told me once that these bad rabbis who are good at making golems actually don’t know that’s what they’re doing. They don’t think they are making a crude image of a man — they think they are making a good image of a man. They don’t think they are handling the ineffable name of God just right, so they stand on the molecule-thin membrane separating saying from not saying. They just think it’s ok to write down one of the supernal names of God and stick it in a pile of wet clay because they want to make a golem, and don’t even realize the contradiction at the heart of their project.

To which I say, I don’t know if such people exist or they don’t, but if they do, they’re not rabbis.

They’re golems~

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