Monday, September 28, 2009
This month they are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Judah Loew, often referred to as the Kabbalist Maharal. The stories say he delievered the Jewish Community of Josefov in Prague from persecution by creating an inhuman creature from clay. Of course, creating such creatures was nothing new to kabbalists. Perhaps the definition should have been limited to "overlarge men" rather than something supernatural. Men used to commit specific acts under the guise of religious mysticism. Singer and Rosenberg based their books on the original legend of the Golem of Prague as passed down by Katz who just happened to be the Maharal's son-in-law. Obvious distortions occurred as a result but more so out of necessity than by accident. Yes, there was a banker involved, as was the mayor and several other prominent people just as the mythological tales reveal but what they don't tell you is that the Emperor did have reason to lay charges and historically, did take possession of the mayor's fortune after Meisel's death. These are all facts and the story as presented by Singer, although quaint and enchanting, does not provide the history behind the actual events. The crimes committed by the banker, the printing house and the Golem were more than legend but in actuality historical facts.
The reality was that in the year of 1588, the city of Prague was held in the grip of terror, victim to the murderous rampage of an inhuman monster created from the seeds of hatred and sown through religious intolerance and mortal greed. Therefore the legend of the Golem must be viewed from this perspective to appreciate it fully.
In my novel, Shadows of Trinity released by Eloquent Books http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ShadowsOfTrinity.html the full story is revealed comparing the legend against the historical documentation. In this story, there is an exposure of those intentionally proclaimed as its heroes to be nothing more than the notorious villains who were prepared to destroy their own world. The real hero was a Karaite Hacham who for all his efforts has been sadly forgotten.
Shadows of the Trinity, for the most part, is a non-fiction historical novel, revealing a series of strange and world-shattering events that occurred during the years 1588 and 1589 in Prague, the Bohemian capital of the Austro-Hungary Empire. It is a social commentary on why people believe that in order to achieve something good that they must commit evil to do so.
As for the Maharal, the current legends will proclaim that he was the chief Rabbi of Prague. That's a lie. He was turned down twice for that position. The first time in the late 1580s and the second time in 1604. Why, because the community knew all about him and they didn't want him. In February 1592 he met with the Emperor Rudolph II and within a month he had packed his bags and taken his family to Poland. Of course his son-in-law described it as a meeting where the Emperor wanted the Rabbi to explain Kabbalah to him and they had a fantastic relationship. Well, hardly fantastic since Loew wasn't allowed to return to Prague until shortly before his death in 1609. So when you read Shadows of Trinity, keep in mind, the story of the Golem as you may now know it was all based on these distortions. And the truth is stranger than fiction.