Golem - Another Mistake
Moshe Ben-Chaim
(The following is a letter I sent to another Jewish wesbite:)
I wish to complain about your content which is displaying Judaism as a magical type of religion, not as the rational system it truly is. To be fair, our site always quotes a reader's opinion. I also ask that you create a section where reader's comments - as mine - are displayed.
Your site reads:
"The story is told of how the Vilna Gaon was in the process of making a Golem. (A Golem is a living human like body without a soul, which Kabbalists were able to create through combining the Hebrew letters into various Names of God.) An angel from God came and told the Vilna Gaon that it wasn't appropriate, and he should stop making the Golem. Why? Because the Vilna Gaon was not yet Bar Mitzvah!
On the other hand, age 15 is a full-fledged adult! "
Many arguments can be lodged against the concept of a "golem" a man-made human not using natural processes of fertilization of eggs:
How is it that man can do what God has not?
If it is a good, why hasn't God created a golem Himself?
What purpose would a human being serve without a soul?
And if it has no soul and therefore no perception of its Creator, then the Rishonim who explain all the limbs of man to be solely for praising God would be wrong according to this view. Didn't these Rishonim think before they wrote?
And lastly, golem removes God's exclusivity as the Creator and gives it to man as well. Utterly ridiculous.
The Rishonim clearly disagree with such notions that man has any powers. Read Saadia Gaon in his sefer Emunos V'Daos ( "The Book of Beliefs and Opinions"). He shows rationally that man is a created being, and as such, has no powers, especially over his own life. How then can he have power over any one else's life and make golems? It is nonsense and against Judaism. Do not simply repeat stories because the ignorant masses love them. Use your minds and determine what is sound reasoning before you publicize fairy tales on the internet. Do not be misled to believe that what is in print is true. Yes, I have heard of the golem stories, but it is against all reason and definitely never occured. Publications do not prove a theory as true. If all the books in the world said that 2+2=5, you would be wrong to accept it. Here too is the same case.
If you feel my approach of rationality and proof is my own, please see my article on my site (www.mesora.org) entitled "God's Existence: Belief of Proof?" Read the Rishonim I have quoted, and check their sefarim to see if I misquoted them. They unanimously agree that proof is what Judaism demands, in all areas.You make a grave error by taking medrashim literally, something which Rishonim instructed otherwise. Have not the learned Jews at your organization learned Maimonides' son's introduction to Ein Yaakov, where Avraham ben haRambam teaches that fantastic stories in the Talmud are not to be taken literally? Isn't Rambam's son a formidable enough a Rabbi to adhere to, or at least study?
Your intent to present Judaic values is admirable, but your content must be authentic, not displaying allegories as real. Your result will be developing people's attachment to mystical things, and when they see their life bereft of those desired miracles which were really allegories, they might just abandon Judaism, as it doesn't afford the mystical life they sought erroneously, evoked by such fables. Train the Jews to use their minds, and conversely, they will see through such fables, they will abandon delving into fantasy worlds, and will develop independent thought and rational analysis which will not only benefit them in Torah, but in their daily lives. The world works rationally, as it was designed by a Perfect, Rational Creator. The Torah teaches man to use his mind, not to abandon reason and assume mystical and magical things beyond perception and explanation. Again, please see the Rishonim I have spent time quoting in my article. Here is a sample of the Rishonim quoted:
Ibn Ezra (Exod. 20:1): "if we find any of them (mitzvos) which contradicts common sense, it isn't proper that we should understand it as implied. But we should consult the books of the wise men of blessed memory, to determine if such a command is a metaphor. And if we find nothing written (by them) we would require to search out with all our ability, perhaps we can fix it (determine it). If we can't, then we abandon that mitzvah as it is, and admit we are ignorant of it".
Teach Judaism as the Rishonim did. They did not teach of phony magicians as the Bal Shem Tov who was told to have read minds. Again ask yourself, if Moshe Rabbeinu and King Solomon could not read minds, how could anyone much lower do so? Elisha purposely did not leave his house to instruct Naaman, the general of Aram to bathe in the Jordan, as Elisha did not want Naaman to think he had powers. Elisha wished that Naaman be impressed with God, so Elisha sent his servant to give the instructions to Naaman, thereby not taking any spotlight for the miraculous removal of Naaman's leprosy.
The Torah shows us by example of the neveim (prophets) that one who claims ability to perform wonders is not within the pale of God's true worshippers. Elisha did not want Naaman to think he had powers, which in fact Elisha didn't have. It is clear that Rabbis today or in the Bal Shem Tov's times who professed their innate abilities to perform wonders are actually against Elisha. We know Elisha was a prophet, and acted properly in this instance with Naaman. We therefore arrive at the conclusion that those who profess miraculous ability are against God.
We must adhere to the words of the Talmud and the Rishonim if we are to keep Judaism as intended.
I can write much more, and bring sources for you to determine yourself whether to follow Chazal or ridiculous stories.

Eventually in life, you will be posed with statements of Chazal which oppose such stories, you will then have to decide which is correct, as the Rabbis teach us that two opposing views in philosophy cannot both be right. This is why we find the Rabbis arguing on each other and not saying "We are both right" , as fools think today. Rabbis argued in the Talmud because they believed their fellow Jew was incorrect. Thereby teaching us that we too must choose what our minds see as truth, and deny the veracity of oppossing views.
I do not require a response, but please try to learn Chazal, the Talmud and the Rishonim before posting any more articles which are truly against the Baalei Hamesora.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

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