Could someone please explain this quote:

The brothers would use the secrets of Sefer Yetzirah to create artifical animals and women (golems).

I am not Jewish but would like to have an understanding of what has been stated here.

As a Christian, and studying the life of Jospeh, (Yosef) I don't understand how it could be explained that the brothers would use the secrets of Sefer Yetzirah to create artificial animals and women that Joseph would then report on. What is meant by "artificial"? Did God create anything artificial?

I am using the bible for my studies and all it says is that Joseph brought a bad report to his father. So far in my studies I cannot see anything which shows what this bad report is.

Thank you.

  • 2
    I deleted the sentence "What does Sefer Yetzirah mean?" from the question and changed the title because your question seems to be more about a specific use of the book. You can check Wikipedia for what Sefer Yetzirah means
    – b a
    May 29, 2019 at 12:29
  • Call it "white magic" as opposed to black magic - using G-d's tools to do magic (scientifically unexplainable phenomena) instead of Satan's. The tradition says our forefathers were given instructions of using Holy names and the Holy Language to create all kind of things, to revive the dead, etc.
    – Al Berko
    May 29, 2019 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


I don’t known the specific context here, but perhaps this Talmudic passage may be of worth.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 67b, 65b) mentions how Rabbi Chiyua and Rabbi Oshiya would use the Book Of Creation (Sefer Yetzirah) to create a calf for the Sabbath meal. I heard this explained by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (on a tape), that they were attempting to have an entirely spiritual meal. This spiritual calf had never defecated among other physical acts. However, the Jerusalem Talmud (7:13, 50b) that even if the whole world attempted, they couldn’t create even a fly which contained a soul.


One of the peculiarities of the law of Tzaras (~Leprosy~) is that someone completely covered in it is not impure. This is actually mentioned in the Torah.

The below is not written in the Torah. Rather it is in oral tradition, as is the story about what the brothers actually did.

A peculiarity of the law of capital punishment is if the entire sanhedrin votes guilty, the accused goes free [A separate mechanism deals with these people]. These are examples of facets of Jewish law that appear to be major loopholes and are baffling.

Similarly, a magically created golem animal does not require ritual slaughtering and you can have it with cheese. A magically created golem woman has none of the encumbrances a real woman has and you can even destroy her when you are finished. You could also have her with cheese. (You could eat a real woman with cheese- another loophole is that humans don't count as meat, assuming you killed her legally, i.e. ate her in battle)

It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that the brothers' use of these loopholes is distasteful and wicked BUT the "badness" of Joseph's report was that he told his father that the brothers were messing around with a woman, without saying that she was a magical golem woman.

The actions the brothers did, had they been done with real articles, would have warranted the death penalty. Joseph thus made capital accusations to his father.

As to artifice, God creates many things that resemble other things, like stick insects.

  • But I have a whole brain
    – Dr. Shmuel
    May 29, 2019 at 18:21
  • Would we have to kasher your real woman eaten in battle, @Clint? May 29, 2019 at 20:13
  • no! She's good to go! May 29, 2019 at 20:42
  • AFAIK humans aren’t kosher, even ones felled in battle by ritual slaughter. Unless you mean “eat” euphemistically here as a Yefas Toar reference.
    – DonielF
    Jun 3, 2019 at 15:55
  • Well, go beyond what you know and learn something new. Humans are kosher and pareve. Ask your local orthodox rabbi. Jun 3, 2019 at 15:58

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