Civic Imagination

The Golem

The Golem, the poem by Jorge Luis Borges tells the story of Rabbi Judah Loew from Prague, who tries to play god and creates an automaton out of clay. He brings this golem to life and tries to educate him to become a higher form of human being, but fails poorly at this as his experiment turns out to be a clumsy creature with no features of intelligence or ability whatsoever.

The golem lacking any name ends up sweeping the synagogue and making the Rabbi angry as he tried to play god and didn’t succeed. The poem states many side ideas but one elemental concept on how the rabbi created a golem and tried to make him understand his reality and be like him but failed. This is a metaphor of how god looks at us the same way the rabbi looks at his golem, and the imperfection that comes from every work ever made.

This story comes from Jewish and medieval folk tales about how man experimented creating life and failed. The original story states that the rabbi in Prague created the golem in order to protect the synagogue from attacks. The story traveled among Jewish religious teachings over the years.

There is a specific encounter between the golem and the rabbi, where he explains things like he was talking to a child, and in the poem it goes like this.

I relate to this story I relate to this poem/story for the metaphor it evokes, I am not a religious person per se but I do believe in a higher power that has to do with us humans existing so in the midst of all I think this metaphor reflects humility and the ability to take a step back when it comes to judging others. Another important point on this story is the importance of a name. We take our names for granted because we are used to them an we are used to the fact people call this weird mix of sound and letters but the truth is a persons name sums up their identity and in this story the golem not having a name sets the tone of the lack of personality he will have.

My first encounter with the poem was during a class in my second highschool year. The class was Latin-American literature, I loved the class and one the best teachers I’ve ever had taught me how to look beyond the lines when it comes to poetry.

I liked this poem when I first read it but it was until we analyzed it in the classroom that I really began to understand the power of poetry. I got the guidelines to understand a poem and how the true beauty of a poem does not only come in the form of the sounds and words chosen to compose it but in what the author is really trying to communicate.

I don’t think this poem is very well known, maybe for the people involved in all the literature fields’ or who follow the great works of Borges.

This story still resonates with for its power to look beyond things and most importantly to always account imperfection in every work. Borges states that this poem also responds to the relation set between and artist and his work and the undeniable existence of imperfection in every work, but this most is not something to be fearful about on the contrary imperfection is what makes us human and relatable to others. What we can see from the poem is how the rabbi was very mad for the result of his creation rather than focusing on the fact that he created life.

I have shared it with other and have got good response and opinions about it but seeing how this is clearly not my work Id rather just enjoy it like everyone else.

This story can inspire through the way its tells a universal truth in a poem witch in my opinion makes the message more powerful. Even thought it’s a poem and a work of fiction the fact that it states universal feeling can inspire someone (like myself) to see the beauty in imperfection and understand humbleness.

Everyone can relate to poetry like one of my favorite composers one said “poetry is truth”, I understand its not for everyone but in these particular times were some much content is being thrown in our faces poetry stands out as one of the few genres where truth is vital to its making.

Everyone really gets to tell this story, I’ve gone on and on about the power of poetry because I consider its something universal and can be enjoyed and understood by everyone.

Spanish Version

English Version

Rabbi Lowe Statue in Prague

Movie Trailer

imperfection, humility, god, name, power, human, life, creation, poetry

“The rabbi was explaining the universe "This is my foot , this yours , but then only explained how to sweep right and left”

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