SEOUL — Under pressure to resolve the growing threat from North Korean nuclear missiles, the White House declared Sunday that it would seek “creative solutions to counter the serious threat to national security.” Just how creative those “solutions” may be has led to rumors that Uncle Sam is contemplating a drastic shift in its dealings with North Korea and seeking Jewish assistance in centuries-perfected communal survival tactics to construct a gigantic, indestructible clay defender, or “golem.”
A golem, from the Hebrew root word meaning “crude,” is a legendary Jewish creation, formed in the shape of a human being and animated using the practices of Kabbalah. While golems may be animated to perform human functions, according to the Talmud, since they are not human and have no souls, they would lack the power of speech and self-expression. Discussions regarding such creations harken back to the Talmud, but the most famous account is attributed to Rabbi Yehudah Loew of 16th-century Prague, who is described as forming a golem in order to defend the ghetto from anti-Semitic mobs. Other Rabbis have been credited with creating golems, although definitive sources are unclear.
According to the National Inquirer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tipped off President Obama after learning of the increasingly tense situation via the Mossad. “Having years of animation expertise second to none, even the Japanese,” Netanyahu said in an unofficial statement to the press, “we are happy to offer our assistance to our U.S. ally.” Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed in a news conference last Tuesday that Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University has already created such a being, the “Golemsky,” but the statement could not be verified.
Speculation is already arising over which Rabbi will be the one asked to create the earthy being. The name mentioned as most likely is that of Rabbi Chaim Adama of Chabad of Pyongyang, who, according to the website and the government of North Korea, “has lived in the capital since he joined the U.S. Army as a chaplain and was sent to the wrong outpost in the Korean War.” In between arranging for prayer and Jewish learning sessions and hosting Shabbat dinners for undercover Jewish spies from the U.S. and captured South Korean Jews, Rabbi Adama enjoys cooking gefilte fishcake and studying Jewish texts. Because of his textual expertise, location, and fluency in Korean, he is a likely candidate to create a golem, although he would have to leave the country first. The U.S. government has not yet released any names or information regarding its plan in order to avoid jeopardizing Rabbi Adama’s security.
Citizens of the North Korean border city of Kaesong did not seem alarmed about the Golem of South Korea when questioned. “After all,” said one man, who asked not to be identified, “it might bring food.” His friend added that, in fact, the North already has a golem of its own — their ruler, who “lacks a Seoul.” “We think it’s all a conspiracy,” he said, lowering his voice. “It is impossible that his father is dead. My nephew has seen him recently — he is only Il.”
In the nearby border town of Kijong-dong, many residents even hail news of a Golem. An underground support group has formed, called 조직과 열심히 악의 상대, or “Opponents of Organized and Zestful Evil” (OOZE), whose mission statement includes the “ousting of the tyrant and so-called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by means of the mythical Jewish being of mud.” The group meets in secrecy and members go by code names in order to avoid detection and confrontation with the government. According to the group leader, who would give her name only as “Ryeong” (“Zero”), OOZE includes residents such as town administrators, teachers, truck drivers and physicians. Ryeong described the group’s plans for the future, including Golem rallies and eventually a Golem political party. “We’re going to start a revolution here,” she said. “The Golem will be a better leader of North Korea than Kim has ever been.” OOZE envisions the Golem as a savior of sorts, and the creation’s lack of speech does not deter them. “We don’t hear anything worthwhile from the current ruler anyway,” Ryeong explained, “so not having to sit through broadcasted speeches will be refreshing.”
Others see the Golem as a weapon, rather than a leader of revolution. A senior political analyst in the U.S. State Department, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, expressed hope that, if the Golem’s creation is commissioned, it would be an “effective means of ridding the world of both a nuclear threat and a cruel dictator with a bad toupee at the same time.” He explained that the U.S.’s strategy would be to deploy the Golem in a surprise border attack, wiping out battle stations in a path to dispose of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. The advantage that the Golem would have over ordinary air or drone strikes would be that it might be sanctioned and even backed by the U.S., but since it would not be an official attack carried out by U.S. citizens and/or arms, it would not violate the U.S.’s refusal to attack North Korea unprovoked. He also mentioned the legal ramifications of a Golem’s creation, since while it is not considered human under Jewish law, American and international law must establish a legal status for an animate being that is neither human nor animal, but somewhere in-between.
Plans for the Golem’s future in the U.S. are already being debated. The NCAA is reputed to be scouting out future wrestling positions for the Golem, while USC has issued an advance claim on the Golem as a football quarterback, with the promise of a full tuition scholarship and an honors doctorate in Kinesiology. The U.S. House of Representatives is also rumored to be feeling out possibilities for the Golem as Speaker of the House. However, the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem may have the strongest claim, needing someone to monitor the candelabra three stories above the floor. “We’re getting tired of machinery scratching up the wood,” said a spokesperson. “And we’d buy the Golem a nice stepstool.”
For the U.S. and its allies, the situation is becoming serious. Launching the rocket is estimated to have taken over ten years only because Kim Jong-un insisted on using his physics degree to direct the project. Eminent news correspondent Jimmy Fallon recently reported that “Japan and South Korea are on high alert after North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket. Both countries are surprised by North Korea’s successful launch, but definitely not as surprised as North Korea.” The U.S. has little time to waste in countering the North Korean threat, and although the world’s modest embargoes against it can still be tightened, President Obama has indicated that he prefers a more forceful approach. “We already have a red line against North Korea,” he said Friday. “But we will start using a darker pen. Or, if the Golem does not work, we will send Joe Biden.”