Over his son's cradle, honourable Rabbi Bezalel said:
"He was born to bring us consolation, to give us strength and comfort. At his birth a happy star was lit up. He will help us where help will seem impossible to the others. Let his name be Judah, since it is written: Judah is a young lion."
The baby lay in the cradle and appeared too tiny and delicate to be able to carry the fame and greatness that awaited him. And so they started to call him Judah, son of Bezalel, or Jehudah ben Bezalel.
The Birth of Rabbi Loew from Golem by Eduard Petiska
Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1520-1609), also known as the Maharal, was a Jewish Philosopher, Theologian and Mystic living in Prague. He is well known for his writings on Hebraic theology and Torah… and for the legends than attribute him great prowess in Kabbalist theurgy.
He's probably most famous amongst non-Jews for being the alleged creator of the Golem of Prague … probably not the first Golem to be put together by a Rabbi in straitened times, nor the last, but probably the best known. Other legends describe him exorcising ghosts and demons, rescuing people kidnapped by evil magicians, saving the Emperor from a doppelgaenger that had stolen his identity and summoning a stately home from miles away as a venue for a state visit.
Oh and amongst the names of his descendents are the Oppenheimer family …
- Golem; Petisk, Eduard ISBN 80-900129-2-2 - contains Jewish legends concerning the Maharal and an extensive guide to the Prague Jewish Quarter and a map of the Cemetery.
- Wikipedia on the Maharal
Game and Story Use
- A pilgrimage to Prague might well be appropriate for a Kabbalist character … and anything might happen there.
- In a Weird WW2 campaign an inheritor of Loew's mysteries might provide valuable Golem support to take on the einsatzgruppen, and possibly bring them into conflict with Sonderkommando Thule.
- There's certainly a story that a German agent entered the attic of the Altneuschul to look for the remains of the Golem. And died.