Thursday, 19 January 2017

Golem and Gavra

Prague golem

In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (specifically clay or mud). The oldest stories of golems date to early Judaism. In the Talmud, which was compiled between 200 AD and 500 AD. In Sanhedrin 38b we read that Adam was initially created as a golem (גולם) when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless husk". Like Adam, all golems are created from mud, but no anthropogenic golem is fully human. What distinguishes a golem from a human is golem's inability to speak. 

Sanhedrin 65b describes Rava creating a man. He sent the man to Rav Zeira. Rav Zeira spoke to him, but he did not answer. Rav Zeira said, "You were created by the sages; return to your dust"

Now word used for man in the above story is "gavra". So man, golem that can talk, is in Hebrew called "gavra". Which is very interesting considering that in Slavic languages word "govor" means "speech". And "govori ja" means "I speak". So in Slavic languages gavra means exactly what it supposed to mean: someone that can talk, not golem, man...

How is this possible?

Does the word "gavra" has the meaning in Hebrew that is related to talking? And if not, how is it possible that this Slavic expression ended up in ancient Hebrew?

O and by the way, the word "golem" in Slavic languages means "big", "large", "huge", "giant". The word comes from Proto-Slavic *golěmъ meaning "big", "large", "huge", "giant"....Wasn't golem supposed to have been much bigger and much stronger than a normal human?



Curiouser and curiouser...

1 comment:

  1. Mongolu(Mbuti) dome hut = woven round shield which was lifted for access/egress before doorway was invented = mouth "speaking".

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