Golem Shows the True Meaning of Christmas
Prague, Czech Republic — The holiday season really can bring people together. When an unexpected tree shortage meant that the town square might go without its traditional symbol this year, assistance came from an unusual source. The local earth golem, who is normally employed as a personal assistant to Rabbi Loew, offered its services as a literal stand-in.
“Golem not need to sleep. Or move. Just stand in square. Kids decorate.” Asked why it volunteered, the golem explained, “Want to learn more about other cultures, help people. Dialogue good."
Since Hanukkah falls a little earlier than usual this year, the golem had no scheduling conflicts. The decorating committee made last-minute adjustments to the supply list, adding a gallon of evergreen paint and several dozen candles. The nine-foot tall golem-lighting ceremony was held at dusk on the day following the end of Hanukkah. Because the golem is impervious to fire, real candles were able to be used for the first time in decades.
“Gosh, the lights look so pretty!” one committee member said. “Really old-fashioned...except that it's not a pine tree, but rather a mystical creature formed of clay in order to protect a historically persecuted people at a time when human authorities were indifferent at best and in many cases antagonistic. Other than that detail, it could be a scene our grandparents would recognize! And look at all the glitter! Bling doesn’t look good on everyone, but the golem just rocks that tinsel garland. Um, so to speak..."
In addition to the tinsel, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, and popcorn strings (all certified kosher) dangle from the golem’s outstretched arms, attracting wildlife. As per the agreement, neighborhood children clean up after the birds. “Golem not like bird poop. Also...watch out, kid. No rub out any part of word on forehead. Would be bad.”
Despite standing night after night in the cold air of the city square, enduring freezing rain, snow, and the flashbulbs of tourists, the golem says it has no regrets. “They see golem, most people smile. Makes golem smile. Everyone a little happier. Reason for season, turns out.”
(Note: This story originally appeared in 2013 in The Grimm Report, a satrical fairytale newssite edited by Eric Wilder. I'm reposting it here because TGR is, alas, no more.)
Photo by Justin Schüler on Unsplash