SKU # : SS-WW 1001
The Golem of Rabbi Loew
1993, Mixed media wallwork
84-1/2" x 84-1/2" x 9-5/16"
I discovered this tale in "A Treasury of Jewish Folklore" by Nathan Ansubel and was instantly captivated. The story was adapted for "Niflaut Maharal" ("Miracles of the Maharal," 17th century) and tells how Rabbi Yehuda Loew (the Maharal) came to create a golem and how the golem protected the Jews in mid-16th century Prague.
The inscription around the frame is, according to the book, "Ato Bra Golem Devuk Hachomer V'tigzar Zedim Chevel Torfe Yisorel," a cabalistic command that says "Create a golem out of clay who will destroy all the enemies of Israel."
On the canvas in large letters is "EMET," the word for "truth." This was put on the forehead of the golem. At the top of the canvas I put scripture that seems appropriate, Genesis 2:7, "and the Eternal God formed the man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul." At the center on the canvas is part of Genesis 3:19, "for dust thou art.".
On the lucite overlay are the letters "MET," the word for "death." When it was time for the golem to be destroyed, the first letter of "truth" was erased and that left "death." At the center in red is the end of Genesis 3:19, "and unto dust shalt thou return." At the bottom in red is part of Genesis 4:23, "now that I can slay a man by a wound of mine."
Special thanks to Malcolm and Shira Susman, friends, and Rachel Tugend of the University of Judaism Library for help with the Hebrew.
This piece has been displayed at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Art Park , Hollywood ,CA and the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA.