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why vilna gaon wanted to make golem?


Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Kislev 15, 5782
what does word golem means? how old was vilna gaon when he wanted to make golem? did he make it? whats the end of the story?
In Mesechet Sanhedrin (daf 65:), it is mentioned that Rava created a 'person' by using Hashem's names according to the kabbalistic book 'Sefer Yetzira'. The 'person' in the Gemara did not speak. In the Gemara this creature was not called a golem. The word 'golem' is only a few hundred years old , and means dummy, or clay automaton. The Vilna Gaon wanted to make a golem, even before he was a bar mitzvah. He did not finish the job because he saw some sight which he interpreted to mean to stop creating the golem because he was too young. This is mentioned by his student Rav Chaim of Volozhin who heard the story from the Gra (the Vilna Gaon). He wrote it in the introduction to the Gra's commentary on the kabalistic book 'Safra D'tzniuta'. There were other golem stories in the Jewish history, such as the golem created by Rabbi Eliyahu of Chelm and was told by his grandson the Chacham Tzvi, and his great-grandson Rav Yaakov Emden (see Sheilat Yaavetz 93). All the best!
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