A golem is an animated being created from any inanimate matter in Jewish folklore [1]. Usually, it is clay or mud but in recent media stone, iron, gold, and other materials have also become very common.
The word golem was used in psalms and medieval writing to mean an amorphous, unformed material [1].
The oldest golem story dates back to early Judaism. In the Talmud, Adam was initially created as a golem as his dust or mud was formed into a shapeless husk [2].
Originally the main disadvantage of golems was their inability to speak [3].
Golem stories have been popular in many different countries in the world including Israel, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Prague.
Golems Moral Connection
In many stories, the golem is connected to hubris as the creator makes the golem help with tasks or perform a specific task. Later on in the story, the creator of the golem has to pay due to the golem always taking the task given to them literally (The golem cannot understand similes, metaphors, and sarcasm) [4].
In the earliest modern form of the golem story, the Golem of Chelm grows to be enormous and uncooperative. In some versions of the story the rabbi who created the golem needs to destroy it by resorting to trickery [1]. In some versions, this leads to the golem breaking and crushing the rabbi [5].
In Yiddish and Slavic folklore there is a similar story of a couple making a clay boy and leaving him by the fire to dry while they go out. When they return the boy has come to life which makes them very happy. The boy never stops growing however and eats more and more devouring their food, their livestock and finally them [6].
Norse Myth,
In Norse mythology, there is a similar creature to a golem. Mökkurlálfi or "mist-calf" is described as a mighty creature made of clay [7].
[1]: Idel, Moshe (1990). Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0160-X. page 296
[4]: Introduction to "The Golem Returns" Archived 12 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
[5]: Kieval, Hillel J. Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech. Lands. University of California Press; 1 edition, 2000 (ISBN 0-5202-1410-2)
[6]: Cronan, Mary W. (1917). "Lutoschenka". The Story Teller's Magazine. Vol. 5, no. 1. pp. 7–9.

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