A Fanciful Love Story about the Real Rabbi Who Created the Legendary Golem

While Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague (d. 1609), known by the Hebrew acronym Maharal, is most famous today because of the legend that he used kabbalistic magic to create a golem that could defend the Jews of his city from anti-Semites, his real legacy consists of his towering achievements as a talmudist, philosopher, mystic, and leader of one of the world’s largest Jewish communities. The golem legend stems from a popular Hebrew work, published in Poland in 1909, that record various stories about the Maharal’s wondrous doings. Zack Rothbart recounts one of these—concerning the rabbi’s wife, Perl.

Reb Shmelke Reich was a wealthy and respected figure who arranged for a marriage between his daughter Perl and Judah Loew, a promising fifteen-year-old Torah scholar. Young Judah headed off to yeshiva to study and in the meantime, Reb Shmelke’s fortunes reversed and he became very poor, unable to pay a dowry for his daughter to wed.

Three years after the marriage was arranged, Reb Shmelke wrote to his son-in-law to be, letting him know that seeing as he could not afford a respectable dowry, the young man was freed of his commitment and didn’t have to marry Perl after all. The young man wouldn’t hear of it, writing back that he would wait for assistance from on high.

The righteous young Perl decided to help her parents out by opening a small bakery and selling bread to support her family. She worked in the bakery for ten years, while her betrothed continued studying Torah, waiting for the day he could marry his beloved. . . .

The story, of course, concludes with a fairy-tale ending.

Read more at The Librarians

More about: Golem, Jewish folklore, Maharal

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy