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Quiz about The Golem
Quiz about The Golem

The Golem Trivia Quiz


The Golem is an artificial man in Jewish folklore and spiritual thought. Over the centuries, he has come to mean a myriad of different things to different people.

A multiple-choice quiz by Stuthehistoryguy. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
190,042
Updated
Apr 09 23
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
1898
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 168 (9/10), jonnowales (4/10), Guest 76 (2/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Perhaps the most popular Golem story concerns the creation of one of these creatures by the great author and spiritual leader Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1525-1609) to protect his people from a pogrom (a campaign against the Jews). In 1996, a children's book by David Wisniewski centered around this story won a Caldecott medal. In what city is this story set? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. In the most famous Golem tale, how does Rabbi Loew animate the Golem? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. At first, all went well with Rabbi Loew's Golem. He served as a good protector of Prague's Jewish community, and the people were happy. After a while, however, he began to be a problem, though various versions of the story differ as to what that problem might be. Which of these is NOT commonly cited as a problem with the Golem? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. There are various ways that the Golem is destroyed (or at least put to sleep) in different stories. Which of these is not one of them? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. At the end of the story, the Golem has been rendered inert, and now, years later, no one knows how it may be reanimated. According to legend, where does the Golem's body now lie? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. In addition to its role in folklore, the Golem has also been a question of Jewish theology. One classic question, for example, is whether a Golem can be counted when forming a minyan. What is a minyan? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. To what Biblical figure is the Golem most often analogized? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. According to one early Golem story, the prophet Jeremiah created a Golem through sacred inspiration and a thorough study of the Book of Creation over three years. This Golem rebuked Jeremiah, however, saying that in creating an artificial man Jeremiah had set himself up to be like G-d. How did Jeremiah undo his creation? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. There is another story about a Golem created by Hebrew poet Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabriol (1021-1056). When Ibn Gabriol was denounced to authorities, he revealed the Golem to be less than human and restored his creation to inanimate pieces of wood. Aside from the use of wood instead of clay, how did this Golem differ from most of those in other stories? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The Golem legend has also figured as an influence in contemporary motion pictures. One of the first such specimens, the 1920 German silent film "Der Golem", is ranked today as a classic of German Expressionism. What later American movie masterpiece is usually cited by critics as being heavily influenced by "Der Golem"? Hint



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May 06 2024 : Guest 168: 9/10
May 04 2024 : jonnowales: 4/10
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Perhaps the most popular Golem story concerns the creation of one of these creatures by the great author and spiritual leader Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1525-1609) to protect his people from a pogrom (a campaign against the Jews). In 1996, a children's book by David Wisniewski centered around this story won a Caldecott medal. In what city is this story set?

Answer: Prague, Czech Republic

Before the Holocaust, Prague was one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Europe. Jews lived there from 970 CE on, establishing a Jewish quarter adjacent to the town square in the eleventh century. The first Hebrew printing press was founded there in the late 1400s, and Prague experienced a "renaissance" into the 1540s. Jewish life and intellectual thought flourished in the Jewish Quarter for several decades. By 1708, one in four Prague residents was Jewish.
2. In the most famous Golem tale, how does Rabbi Loew animate the Golem?

Answer: Magical use of language

Most stories and religious works concur that language in some form is the driving force in animating the Golem, be it special combinations of words, writing on parchment embedded in the Golem, or prayerful and meditative reading of the Cabala. (Note that I'm using the Library of Congress spelling here--send correction notices to them, not to me:) In the text Wisniewski uses, Rabbi Loew whispers a name in the Golem's ear, and the Golem comes to life.

Incidentally, in some stories the Golem is created in order to defend the Jews against false accusations of blood sacrifice of Gentile children. These accusations, known as the "blood libel", figured largely in antisemitism for centuries, and false rumors of this sort are still circulated among the ignorant today.
3. At first, all went well with Rabbi Loew's Golem. He served as a good protector of Prague's Jewish community, and the people were happy. After a while, however, he began to be a problem, though various versions of the story differ as to what that problem might be. Which of these is NOT commonly cited as a problem with the Golem?

Answer: He turned against the Jews and aided in the pogrom

The text Wisniewski uses features an overzealous defender who litters the streets of Prague with Gentile corpses, while other versions have the good Rabbi forgetting to put the Golem to sleep on the Sabbath, thus causing him to commit sacrilege.
4. There are various ways that the Golem is destroyed (or at least put to sleep) in different stories. Which of these is not one of them?

Answer: He dissolves in the rain

Though it would be interesting to see how a being made of unfired clay would fare in a downpour, rain is not mentioned in any Golem legends I know of. Rather, the sacred parchment (or stone) is removed from his ear or from under his tongue. In other stories, the first letter (aelph) is rubbed from the word carved into his forehead, changing "emet" (truth) into "met" (death).
5. At the end of the story, the Golem has been rendered inert, and now, years later, no one knows how it may be reanimated. According to legend, where does the Golem's body now lie?

Answer: In the attic of a synagogue in Prague

The inanimate state of the Golem (he is still, according to legend, "resting" in the Alt-Neu Synagogue in Prague) was particularly poignant for the tellers of this tale given the record of abuse against the Prague Jews. In 1096, the invading Teutonic Knights forced many Jews to convert to Christianity at the point of a sword.

In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council ruled that Jews had to wear distinctive clothing and could not hold public office. In the 1300s, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and Bohemian King Wenceslas declared all debts to Jews (who, by Church law, were the only group allowed to charge interest, and thus the major lenders of the middle ages) to be null and void.

The Jewish Quarter was razed in 1389, and Jews were expelled from Prague in 1541, 1557 and 1745. All these expulsions were temporary, and Jewish life in Prague again flourished through the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

The Holocaust, however, nearly annihilated Prague's Jewish presence, and the Jewish population in Prague today is only a small fraction of what it was at its peak.
6. In addition to its role in folklore, the Golem has also been a question of Jewish theology. One classic question, for example, is whether a Golem can be counted when forming a minyan. What is a minyan?

Answer: A group of ten Jewish men necessary for public worship

One ritual for which a minyan is necessary is the reading of the Kaddish, a prayer affirming central tenets of belief often recited at memorial services. In 1961, the great American poet Allen Ginsberg, distraught that there was not a minyan at his mother's funeral and that Kaddish had not been said, composed his own version of the prayer for her as a beat poem.

Sometimes (but not always) women are allowed to be counted to get the numbers for a minyan; golems are not.
7. To what Biblical figure is the Golem most often analogized?

Answer: Adam

Like Adam, the Golem is formed out of the earth, or clay. In some stories, the Golem is given life, at least partially, by having it blown into his mouth or nose. This is reminicent of Adam in Genesis 2.
8. According to one early Golem story, the prophet Jeremiah created a Golem through sacred inspiration and a thorough study of the Book of Creation over three years. This Golem rebuked Jeremiah, however, saying that in creating an artificial man Jeremiah had set himself up to be like G-d. How did Jeremiah undo his creation?

Answer: By reciting the words of creation backwards

Jeremiah had carved the words "YHWH Elohim emet (The Lord God is truth)" on the Golem's forehead. The Golem sorrowfully scratched out the first E ("aleph") in emet, making the phrase read "The Lord God is death". As mentioned above, the mere act of rubbing out that letter is enough to undo the Golem's creation in later stories. The Golem in this story also differs from other such creations in that he seems to have both free will and considerable intellect. In most stories, the Golem is a mindless brute.

Please note that I mean no disrespect to Jeremiah in this writing. This story is taken from Howard Schwartz's "Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism". In other words, they said it, not me. Also, I am following the traditional Jewish convention here of abbreviating "G-d" unless quoting directly. For a full explaination of this convention, please send me a direct message or, better yet, consult your local Rabbi.
9. There is another story about a Golem created by Hebrew poet Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabriol (1021-1056). When Ibn Gabriol was denounced to authorities, he revealed the Golem to be less than human and restored his creation to inanimate pieces of wood. Aside from the use of wood instead of clay, how did this Golem differ from most of those in other stories?

Answer: It was female

When comparing all the Golem stories, it is interesting to note that creating the Golem can be seen as either sacreligious or sacred, though it does seem that the earlier stories tend to denounce the practice. Later tales, though often ending badly for the creating Rabbi or his congregation, seem to view the golem's creation itself as an act of piety.
10. The Golem legend has also figured as an influence in contemporary motion pictures. One of the first such specimens, the 1920 German silent film "Der Golem", is ranked today as a classic of German Expressionism. What later American movie masterpiece is usually cited by critics as being heavily influenced by "Der Golem"?

Answer: Frankenstein

Both "Der Golem" and "Frankenstein" had Karl Freund as their cinematographer, and the common staging of scenes and framing of shots is obvious when the two films are viewed together. Freund also lensed "Dracula", "Key Largo", "All Quiet on the Western Front", "Metropolis", and several seasons of "I Love Lucy".

As a director, he made perhaps the greatest version ever of "The Mummy" in 1932, but did little directing after that.
Source: Author Stuthehistoryguy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor ArleneRimmer before going online.
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