In 16th century Prague, a people are under attack. Accused of an unspeakable crime they didn't commit, they have no recourse: even the rulers of the city have turned against them. They can't find justice, so they have to make justice - a silent guardian to watch over their community, one to keep the wolves at bay. But is he too late to help guard the innocents against the sinister machinations of one man?
"An Opus in Bb" by Blue Dot Sessions | "A Simple Shroud" by Blue Dot Sessions | "Beeth" by Blue Dot Sessions | "Andelo" by Blue Dot Sessions | "Toothless Slope" by Blue Dot Sessions | "Valantis" by Blue Dot Sessions
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There's an interesting new podcast by Parcast out called Unexplained Mysteries. Go to http://parcast.com/unexplained or find it on Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, and Google Play.
There are many mentions and depictions of antisemitism. The story centers around a rabbi's fight against something called the blood libel, an antisemitic myth that Jewish people needed the blood of Christians (namely Christian children) to cook their matzos. There are also a few brief mentions of dead children.
By the way I also heard that the golem Yosef or “yossle” was introduced to everyone as a mute stranger the only people who knew the truth were the maharal his son in law and his desciple.
I’ve been listening to myths and legends for a while now and I am very happy to hear a jewish story! And I’m just curious where did you find these stories? Like was it a book that found all this? Or a compilation from different places?
PS Congratulations on the webby award!
Looking forward to bonus episodes on the golem!
Hey, great episode!!!.
Can some one please tell me how the creature of the week is spelled out?
I really wanna know about that squirrel!
True origin of the 4 elements:
Classically, there really were only 4 elements (think periodic table of elements). Everything (humans included) was supposedly made up of earth, water, air, and fire.
For example, if you burn wood (with fire), it burns into ash (earth), it starts letting off smoke (air), and if the wood is fresh enough the tree sap will ooze out (water). They thought that by burning anything, you could get the most simple constituents of matter.
They were simply confusing the states of matter with the concept of perfectly simple and inseparable elements. This “science” cropped up in many different cultures, and is the start of culture’s obsession with water, earth, fire, and air a la Avatar the Last Airbender, the band Earth Wind and Fire, and yes, the planeteers as well.
Thanks for another great look into an interesting culture. I always learn something new from your stories. I echo the previous commenter’s note on the references to fire, water, earth, and air in the Kabbalah. Something that caught my ear was the description of the strengths or protections that the golem had because they relate to the same four elements. He could walk through Fire, he would not drown in Water, he would not be hurt if he fell of a building and hit the Earth, and he couldn’t be killed with a sword. Many traditions around the Tarot cards bring in Kabbalistic influences including relating each suit to one of the four elements and the suit of Swords is linked to the element of Air. I don’t know if that was the intention in the source stories but it was a nice coincidence to hear as the protections were being listed and they seemed to fit.
Hey Jason. Thank you for the retelling of this Jewish myth. Very skillfully done. I grew up on this and there is actually a recording for children with Leonard Nemoy narrating.
In regards to the possession of the elements of fire, air and water, there are kabalistic explenations for what that would mean, with many layers.
Each element represents a different personality and temperement, this is based on the source of the soul in the spiritual realms and therefore it’s temperment.
There is much more to this, but I think this will suffice for here. Thanks so much. Keep up the good work.
Jason, I love your podcast, and listen to it all the time and it really helps me with Scholars Bowl. Anyways, I think that you may have put the description of the Gilgamesh episode on this one.
Love your show!
On the subject of having the power of the elements, I can only think of Astrological Signs or Four Humor theory of medicine. While the Humors are not directly linked to the Elements, they are linked to the Four Prime aspects, Hot, Dry, Cold, and Moist which are linked to the Elements.
Congratulations on the Webby Award!
I grew up listening to and reading stories about the Maharal of Prague and the Golem. I was really happy to hear how accurately you told the first part of the story. There were a few mispronunciations, but the only ones that would probably pertain to the next parts of the story is that Maharal would be pronounced Ma-ha-ral instead of Ma-ha-rel, and Avraham is pronounced Ah-vra-hum instead of Aah-vra-hum.
Regarding your question about the four elements possessed by the Maharal and his disciples: Perhaps this refers to the seasons in which they were born?
Jews today still say the Book of Psalms (Tehillim) when in times of danger, such as when a medical emergency arises, praying for the safety of someone going to a dangerous place, praying for a good outcome in a court case, etc. The Book of Psalms is also said in different cycles every week or month, and said when visiting a gravesite. Fasting is now usually done only on religious fasts (Yom Kippur, Tisha B’Av, and the five minor fasts).
Did you read the story of the of Nazi that went into the Genizah (area where Jewish religious articles are stored once they can no longer be used, but before they are buried in a cemetery) in the attic of the Altneuschul where the Golem is said to be buried? There are different variations of it, but the one I heard growing up was that a Nazi officer climbed up to the Genizah, tried stabbing a pile of holy artifacts, and fell down dead. He then had to be dragged out by the soldiers that were waiting for him below.
I always enjoy listening to Myths and Legends! Looking forward to the bonus episode, and the next installment of the legend of the Maharal and the Golem.