Study Guide

The Golem and the Jinni Money

By Helene Wecker


Cha-Ching Cha-Ching

Money is an issue for the Golem a couple of times throughout the novel. No one else seems to care much about it, but the whole concept is especially baffling for the Golem. What is money? Why do people need it? Why don't they just make what they need and take what they need? All good questions, Chava.

She ends up meeting the Rabbi because she takes food (without paying for it) and gives it to a hungry child in need. The Rabbi explains, "Money is a tool, and you can do great good with it, for others as well as yourself" (10.77). No tool, no dice, though.

When the Golem makes money, the Rabbi encourages her to spend it, even though she doesn't really need anything. She's like New York's little stimulus package. But she still doesn't understand why the Radzins give her, and not Anna, a raise: "What if the man who made the smaller kettle was poorer, and had a larger family to look after? Wouldn't that figure into your decision?" (10.72) The Golem is kind of pure of heart for someone who technically doesn't even have one.

After that, the issue of money is pretty much dropped. Anna has to blackmail the Jinni later for cash, but the complicated ethics (or lack of) behind the act aren't really explored.