web analytics
July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



The Wisest Men of Chelm: A Fable For Our Time

Following Rebbe Shimon

The villagers followed the lead of the
learned Rebbe Shimon. They gathered up
bundles of dry straw from neighboring shacks
and shanties. They tossed them onto the flames
of the fire in the barn. It seemed to work, for the
flames could no longer be seen below the
bundles of dry straw, merely smoldering smoke.

''Hurrah,'' shouted the bocherim from the
Rebbe Shimon's cheder. ''We have succeeded!
We must run to the shul and say the birkat
hagomel blessing at once.''

But before they took their leave, new
flames suddenly sprung up from the piles of
straw they had brought and tossed in to the
barn.

''Gevalt,'' moaned the learned Rebbe
Shimon. ''You see? We did not act quickly and
decisively enough. More straw!!''

''Are you entirely meshugana? Are you
completely shikkered ad lo yada?'' objected
Sheriff Arik. ''Did you not just see that your
idea failed? It just made the inferno worse! The
fire now is even more dangerous!''

''What do you know from fighting fires,
Mister Know-It-All,'' Rebbe Shimon asked
mockingly. ''You already admitted you do not
have a better solution, one that would work and
save the barn.''

So Rebbe Shimon ordered the villagers to
double their efforts. They quickly raced to
nearby homes and stables and brought out more
bundles of straw. They doubled their efforts and
redoubled the size of the straw piled into the
barn.

The flames disappeared beneath the new
fresh straw and Rebbe Shimon ordered a special
celebration, with kiddush wine from the shul's
pantry.

But before the bottles could be opened,
new flames shot up from the ruins of the barn
and the neighboring inn and cottages burst into
flames from the flying sparks.

''Faster, you lazy ones,'' screamed Rebbe
Shimon. ''You are not working hard enough to
bring straw. We need to try something new
now.''

But the villagers had grown angry and
restless and grumbled when Rebbe Shimon
walked down the cobble-stoned streets.

''Ok, I give up,'' said Rebbe Shimon. ''I
still believe my solution is the only one that can
work, but I am now stepping aside. It is time for
a new chief rabbi to carry the flame, if you
excuse the expression.''

Rebbe Shimon then nominated a student
and follower from his own yeshiva to take over
as chief rabbi.

Enter Rebbe Ehud

As the new chief rabbi and head of the
yeshiva previously led by Rebbe Shimon, Rebbe
Ehud ordered the villagers to take shibboleths
of straw and light their ends from the flames
and to toss them into alleys and buildings
several streets away from the barn.

''This will spread the heat around,
lowering the temperatures and will result in the
fire diminishing and cooling off. Trust me, I
understand the nature of fires and have a
longstanding close relationship with them.''

''A complete madman,'' groaned Arik the
Constable. ''Can't you see that everything you
and your deranged yeshiva friends did until now
just made things worse? Now you will create
even greater destruction!''

''Shah shtil,'' replied Rebbe Ehud. ''We
are still waiting to hear your solution for saving
the barn and putting out the fires.''

''But there is no solution,? Sheriff Arik
insisted. ''I explained this to Rebbe Shimon
before and I am repeating it to you. The only
thing to be done is to prevent the catastrophe
from growing larger.''

''Idiot,'' said the students of Rebbe Ehud,
agreeing with their master. ''Can't you see the
current situation is unbearable? The barn is
demolished and more buildings are now in
flames. We cannot simply sit back and tolerate
the intolerable.

?If you cannot offer a real solution, then
hold your tongue. If you don't shut up, we will
have you and your friends imprisoned by the
Cossacks for criminal incitement and sedition.''

New piles of straw were brought in now
from every part of the village and tossed upon
the flames, which leapt from rooftop to rooftop,
burning all of the unfortunate fiddlers and
chickens up there.

Fire crept toward the village square and
now threatened to burn the shul and the sacred
scrolls.

The villagers saw the damage and broke
into collective lamentation, as if it were the
Ninth Day of Av.

New Hope

Finally Rebbe Ehud was also forced to step
down from his revered post. But the yeshiva of
Rebbe Shimon and Rebbe Ehud was not about
to give up.

The yeshiva decided to replace Rebbe
Ehud with a new chief rabbi, a shifty character
who was serving as the moshgiach of the
northern quarter of the village, where he had
allowed a number of shochtim to get rich selling
non-kosher chickens in exchange for their
endorsements should he ever be considered for
the post of chief rabbi.

News of the appointment of the new chief
rabbi spread almost as quickly as the out-of-
control fire. The yeshiva of Rebbe Shimon and
Rebbe Ehud was filled with new hope and glee.

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Wisest Men of Chelm: A Fable For Our Time”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
eshkol[1]
4 Dead, 9 Wounded in Eshkol Rocket Attack
Latest Indepth Stories
Young children 'recruited' by the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) terrorist group for a Shari'a jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

kerry clown

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

journalism

With no shortage of leftist media that seek to distort the news, what should our Torah response be?

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

People test Israel every day to see how serious we really are in knowing when we are right.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

More Articles from Steven Plaut
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

One grey night it happened, Bibi caved no more
& Poof that Foggy Bottomer, he vanished from our sight

Ehud Olmert
Feb. 27, 2014

It’s six K, five K, four K, Graft !
(Daylight come and da jail’s his new home)

In 2012, an initiative was begun in the Knesset led by David Rotem (from the Yisrael Beitenu party), to cut the stipends and pensions paid to convicted murderers and terrorists by 50 percent.

When the Temple was in existence, Jews were religiously obligated to eat roast meat at least once a year.

I have frequently drawn up lists of what I love most about Israel, and Arik Einstein has ranked high.

In the past, the law school prohibited the singing of Hatikvah.

American non-Orthodox Jews are intermarrying their way into post-Jewish oblivion, and they’re doing so as a direct result of having emptied their version of Judaism of all meaning.

The Taliban is all too willing to obliterate anything attesting to ancient Jewish life and culture.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-wisest-men-of-chelm-a-fable-for-our-time/2003/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: