Last month, on the flight home from Hong Kong, my seat's Krisworld was spoilt. SQ had regretfully told me so 5 hours prior to departure, and offered to switch seats, but gingerly pointed out that it wouldn't be a seat next to the man. Well, I don't need to be seated next to the man on our flights. In fact, we needn't even take the same flights if schedules are a concern.
The point here is, I don't care about the inflight entertainment system. I don't need it and rarely bother to watch movies over it. So I told SQ that it didn't matter. They kept asking if I were sure. YAH LAH. They were going to offer me vouchers to purchase stuff from KrisShop. But it wasn't necessary. There was nothing I wanted from the catalogue. Between dinner and other magazines screaming for my attention, I nursed a cup of oolong. and finished Curt Leviant's translation of Yudl Rosenberg's 'The Golem and the Wondrous Deeds of the Maharal of Prague'.
Fairytales, little stories, folklore. The book tells of about the chief rabbi of Prague in the 16th century and the golem he created, Yossele, as a protector of the Jewish people during times of persecution. (Google for images of 'golem'. They can range from cute to hideous to ridiculous.) You could read it as a story, or as a hint of hope in its religious inclination. This is a golem classic that's translated into English for the very first time. Many short stories. Lots of annotations provided. Makes for fun googling if you've the intarwebs at hand. I went home and watched Paul Wegener's 1920's 'Der Golem: wie er in die Welt kam' (a silent film) again, and had a good laugh at the old production sets. Mostly, I wanted to listen to Pixes frontman Frank Black's music in it because I've heard his release of what is dubbed rock opera- 'The Golem Rock Album'. It's pretty cool that he likes the film enough to score it decades later. (Watch random hilarious youtube video of Black Francis' 'You're Gonna Pay'.)
The golem doesn't speak. He's made from clay. There isn't autonomy and independent thought. He's in a limbo, hung between the realms of man, angel and devil. There're many essays in Judaism that dissects the differences between golem and man. Stereotypes aside, there're plenty of theological notions to the idea of such a creature made from clay, and exists in God's name.
From Chapter 16, 'The Marvelous Story of the Wonder of Wonders that Maharal Revealed to the Two Berls Whose Two Children Were Switched by a Midwife':
Meanwhile the old shamesh, Reb Avrohom Chaim, looked at the wine bottle and noticed there was not enough wine to refill the goblet. And since the Maharal's custom was to recite a blessing only over wine from his own cellar, Reb Avrohom Chaim turned to the mute Yossele the golem.
"Run quickly to the Maharal's house," he shouted, "and bring another bottle of wine from the cellar."
Yossele the golem flew from the Great Synagogue where the wedding was taking plac to the Maharal's house nearby, but as he approached the door he suddenly stopped in his tracks. From afar it looked as if he was talking and arguing with someone unseen.
Many in the wedding party yelled, "Bring the wine!" to him, but rather than going to the cellar, Yossele the golem went to the courtroom where he wrote a little note composed of eight words: "The groom and bride are brother and sister."
So instead of the wine Yossele the golem brought the note to the wedding canopy and handed it to the Maharal. The enraged guests wanted to tear Yossele the golem apart like a herring. But they realized at once that he was not someone to fool with. Everyone fell silent, waiting to see what would happen next.