Star Trek and the Jews, Episode 4 - Reb Alert with Aaron Rotenberg

In episode 4 of Star Trek and the Jews, Josh and Hava wrap up Jewish themes and connections in season one of Star Trek: Picard. Aaron Rotenberg, Spiritual Leader of The Annex Shul (Toronto), joined us for Reb Alert to teach us about the Golem.

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גָּלְמִ֤י ׀ רָ֘א֤וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וְעַֽל־סִפְרְךָ֮ כֻּלָּ֪ם יִכָּ֫תֵ֥בוּ יָמִ֥ים יֻצָּ֑רוּ ולא [וְל֖וֹ] אֶחָ֣ד בָּהֶֽם׃
Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in Your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.
גֹּֽלֶם m.n. 1 shapeless matter (a hapax legomenon in the Bible, occurring Ps. 139:16 in the form גָּלְמִי). MH 2 ‘Golem’ — legendary human figure made of clay. NH 3 cocoon. NH 4 a shapeless mass. [From גלם.] Derivatives: גֶּלֶם, גָּלֽמִי, גָּלְמָנוּת, גָּלְמָנִי.
גלם to wrap up, to fold.
— Qal - גָּלַם he wrapped up, folded together (a hapax legomenon in the Bible, occurring Kin. II 2:8 in the form יִגְלֹם).
— Niph. - נִגֽלַם was embodied.
— Pi. - גִּלֵּם he embodied, personified.
— Pu. - גֻּלַּם was embodied.
— Hith. - הִתֽגַּלֵּם 1 was embodied. 2 pupated.
— Hiph. - הִגְלִים he wrapped.
— Hoph. - הֻגְלַם he took on the form of a body. [JAram. גּוּלְמָא (= a shapeless mass), Syr. גַּלְמָא (= a shapeless mass; a rocky place).] Derivatives: גִּלּוּם, גֹּלֶם, הֶגֽלֵם, הִתְגַּלְּמוּת.
גלל to roll (esp. to roll large stones).
— Qal - גָּלַל 1 he rolled, rolled away; PBH 2 he wrapped.
— Niph. - נָגֹל, נִגְלַל rolled up; was rolled, was folded.
— Po‘el . - גּוֹלֵל he rolled, unrolled, unfolded.
— Po‘al . - גּוֹלַל was rolled, was unrolled, was unfolded.
— Hithpol. - הִתְגּוֹלֵל 1 he rolled himself, wallowed; 2 he sought occasion against.
— Hiph. - הֵגֵל he rolled away, removed.
— Hoph. - הֻגְלַל was rolled up, was removed.
— Pilp. (see . - גלגל ). [Aram. גַּלֵּל (= he rolled, rolled away), Ethiop. galaga (= it accumulated, heaped up); whence the nouns גַּלְגַּל (= wheel), גָּלָל (= dung), גַּל ᴵ (= heap), גַּל ᴵᴵ (= wave), JAram.–Syr. גָּלָּא (= tortoise). Related to base גיל.] Derivatives: גַּל ᴵ, גַּל ᴵᴵ, גַּל ᴵᴵᴵ, גֹּל, גַּלְגַּל ᴵ, גַּלְגַּל ᴵᴵ, גֻּלָּה ᴵ, גֻּלָּה ᴵᴵ, גָּלוּל, גְּלוּלָה, גְּלוּלִית, גָּלִיל ᴵ, גָּלִיל ᴵᴵ, גְּלִילָה, גָּלָל, גְּלַל, גֻּלְּתָא, הִתְגּוֹלְלוּת, מֽגוֹלָל, מְגִלָּה, מַגְלוּל, מַגְלֵלָה, מִגְלֶלֶת, possibly also גִּלּוּל. cp. מַגָּל.
שִׁבְעָה דְבָרִים בַּגֹּלֶם וְשִׁבְעָה בֶחָכָם. חָכָם אֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר בִּפְנֵי מִי שֶׁהוּא גָדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ בְחָכְמָה וּבְמִנְיָן, וְאֵינוֹ נִכְנָס לְתוֹךְ דִּבְרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ, וְאֵינוֹ נִבְהָל לְהָשִׁיב, שׁוֹאֵל כָּעִנְיָן וּמֵשִׁיב כַּהֲלָכָה, וְאוֹמֵר עַל רִאשׁוֹן רִאשׁוֹן וְעַל אַחֲרוֹן אַחֲרוֹן, וְעַל מַה שֶּׁלֹּא שָׁמַע, אוֹמֵר לֹא שָׁמָעְתִּי, וּמוֹדֶה עַל הָאֱמֶת. וְחִלּוּפֵיהֶן בַּגֹּלֶם:
[There are] seven things [characteristic] in a clod, and seven in a wise man:A wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom, And does not break into his fellow’s speech; And is not hasty to answer; He asks what is relevant, and he answers to the point; And he speaks of the first [point] first, and of the last [point] last; And concerning that which he has not heard, he says: I have not heard; And he acknowledges the truth. And the reverse of these [are characteristic] in a clod.
שִׁבְעָה מִינֵי פֻרְעָנֻיּוֹת בָּאִין לָעוֹלָם עַל שִׁבְעָה גוּפֵי עֲבֵרָה. מִקְצָתָן מְעַשְּׂרִין וּמִקְצָתָן אֵינָן מְעַשְּׂרִין, רָעָב שֶׁל בַּצֹּרֶת בָּאָה, מִקְצָתָן רְעֵבִים וּמִקְצָתָן שְׂבֵעִים. גָּמְרוּ שֶׁלֹּא לְעַשֵּׂר, רָעָב שֶׁל מְהוּמָה וְשֶׁל בַּצֹּרֶת בָּאָה. וְשֶׁלֹּא לִטֹּל אֶת הַחַלָּה, רָעָב שֶׁל כְּלָיָה בָאָה. דֶּבֶר בָּא לָעוֹלָם עַל מִיתוֹת הָאֲמוּרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא נִמְסְרוּ לְבֵית דִּין, וְעַל פֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית. חֶרֶב בָּאָה לָעוֹלָם עַל עִנּוּי הַדִּין, וְעַל עִוּוּת הַדִּין, וְעַל הַמּוֹרִים בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא כַהֲלָכָה:
Seven kinds of punishment come to the world for seven categories of transgression:When some of them give tithes, and others do not give tithes, a famine from drought comes some go hungry, and others are satisfied. When they have all decided not to give tithes, a famine from tumult and drought comes; [When they have, in addition, decided] not to set apart the dough-offering, an all-consuming famine comes. Pestilence comes to the world for sins punishable by death according to the Torah, but which have not been referred to the court, and for neglect of the law regarding the fruits of the sabbatical year. The sword comes to the world for the delay of judgment, and for the perversion of judgment, and because of those who teach the Torah not in accordance with the accepted law.

העושה מעשה בסקילה האוחז את העינים פטור אבל אסור מותר לכתחלה כדרב חנינא ורב אושעיא כל מעלי שבתא הוו עסקי בהלכות יצירה ומיברי להו עיגלא תילתא ואכלי ליה

Abaye elaborates: One who performs a real act of sorcery is liable to be executed by stoning. One who deceives the eyes is exempt from punishment, but it is prohibited for him to do so. What is permitted ab initio is to act like Rav Ḥanina and Rav Oshaya: Every Shabbat eve they would engage in the study of the halakhot of creation, and a third-born calf would be created for them, and they would eat it in honor of Shabbat.
אמר רבא אי בעו צדיקי ברו עלמא שנאמר כי עונותיכם היו מבדילים וגו'
Rava says: If the righteous wish to do so, they can create a world, as it is stated: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” In other words, there is no distinction between God and a righteous person who has no sins, and just as God created the world, so can the righteous.
רבא ברא גברא שדריה לקמיה דר' זירא הוה קא משתעי בהדיה ולא הוה קא מהדר ליה אמר ליה מן חבריא את הדר לעפריך
Indeed, Rava created a man, a golem, using forces of sanctity. Rava sent his creation before Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira would speak to him but he would not reply. Rabbi Zeira said to him: You were created by one of the members of the group, one of the Sages. Return to your dust.
רב חנינא ורב אושעיא הוו יתבי כל מעלי שבתא ועסקי בספר יצירה ומיברו להו עיגלא תילתא ואכלי ליה
The Gemara relates another fact substantiating the statement that the righteous could create a world if they so desired: Rav Ḥanina and Rav Oshaya would sit every Shabbat eve and engage in the study of Sefer Yetzira, and a third-born calf [igla tilta] would be created for them, and they would eat it in honor of Shabbat.
(משלי ט, ד) מי פתי יסור הנה חסר לב אמרה לו אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא מי פתאו לזה אשה אמרה לו דכתיב (משלי ו, לב) נואף אשה חסר לב
The verse states in that passage: “Whoever is thoughtless, let him turn in here; as for him that lacks understanding, she tells him” (Proverbs 9:4). The Gemara explains: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Who lured this man to sin? The woman told him to sin. An allusion to the interpretation that one who is lured to sin by a woman is called one “that lacks understanding” is as it is written: “He who commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding” (Proverbs 6:32).

תניא היה ר' מאיר אומר אדם הראשון מכל העולם כולו הוצבר עפרו שנאמר (תהלים קלט, טז) גלמי ראו עיניך (וכתיב (דברי הימים ב טז, ט) כי יהוה עיניו משוטטות בכל הארץ) אמר רב אושעיא משמיה דרב אדם הראשון

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir would say: The dust that served to form Adam the first man was gathered from the entire world, as it is stated: “When I was made in secret and wrought in the lowest places of the earth, Your eyes did see my unshaped flesh” (Psalms 139:15–16), and it is written: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (II Chronicles 16:9), indicating that this figure was formed from the whole earth, the place within the view of the Lord’s eyes. Rav Oshaya says in the name of Rav: With regard to Adam the first man,

גופו מבבל וראשו מארץ ישראל ואבריו משאר ארצות עגבותיו א"ר אחא מאקרא דאגמא
his torso was fashioned from dust taken from Babylonia, and his head was fashioned from dust taken from Eretz Yisrael, the most important land, and his limbs were fashioned from dust taken from the rest of the lands in the world. With regard to his buttocks, Rav Aḥa says: They were fashioned from dust taken from Akra De’agma, on the outskirts of Babylonia.

Nathan Ausubel, "The Golem" in The Jewish Spirit: A Celebration of Stories & Art, edited by Ellen Frankel, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 1997.