September 1, 2009 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #590314
Stories from Chelm
Please post yours!
In Chelm, the shammes used to go around waking everyone up for minyan in the morning. Every time it snowed, the people would complain that, although the snow was beautiful, they could not see it in its pristine state because by the time they got up in the morning, the shammes had already trekked through the snow. The townspeople decided that they had to find a way to be woken up for minyan without having the shammes making tracks in the snow.
The people of Chelm hit on a solution: they got four volunteers to carry the shammes around on a table when there was fresh snow in the morning. That way, the shammes could make his wake up calls, but he would not leave tracks in the snow.
The town of Chelm decided to build a new shul. So, some strong, able-bodied men were sent to a mountaintop to gather heavy stones for the foundation. The men put the stones on their shoulders and trudged down the mountain to the town below. When they arrived, the town constable yelled, “Foolish men! You should have rolled the stones down the mountain!” The men agreed this was an excellent idea. So they turned around, and with the stones still on their shoulders, trudged back up the mountain, and rolled the stones back down again.
The shammes of the shul decided to install a pushka so that the fortunate might share their wealth with the needy. On Shabbos eve, he announced to the congregation that a new opportunity for a mitzvoh was available. “But,” one member complained, “it will be so easy for the goneffs to steal from the box.” The shammes thought long and hard that night, and announced the next day that he had found a solution. Pointing upward, he showed, the poor box was now suspended from a chain at the ceiling, high, high, high overhead. “But now how do we put money in the box?”
The next week, the congregation saw the wonderful solution. A new circular stairway now ascended to the pushka making it easy to contribute.September 1, 2009 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #891342
You do realize the Chelm stories were originally written to make letzonus of the Chachomim of Kelm.September 1, 2009 5:45 pm at 5:45 pm #891343
Anyone here works for the Jewish Press?September 1, 2009 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #891344
Chelm is really a real place! There was once a whole write up about it in the Hamodia. It actually had some great Rabanim.September 1, 2009 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #891345
and the people living there were far from dumb. I heard these stories came about to ward off ayin hara’s.September 1, 2009 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #891346
Really? I thought it was all to make fun.September 1, 2009 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #891347
80, no I didn’t know. I understood Chelm might refer to Chelm, Poland – not Kelm?, Lithuania.September 1, 2009 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #891348
Not sure if this is a true story or not.
A beggar came to someones door asking for food. The host asked the man if he would like some cold chicken soup to which the man responded that he is so hungry that he’ll even have some cold chicken soup.
“OK”, responded the man, “I’ll go put the soup in the ice box. Come back in a half hour, the soup is hot now”.September 1, 2009 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #891349
postsem, I heard that years ago. Just wondering, did anyone else hear of it?September 1, 2009 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #891350
A man from chelm had to go on a business trip to a neighboring city near chelm. Arriving at the place of meeting he realised he had just forgotten the name of the guy who the meeting was with.scared and knowing that if he forogt the name the deal would probably be called off.
So he formed an ingenious plan.
when the man who he was meeting with arrived he asked him “sorry,erm , how do you spell your name?”
the other man slowly spelled out
D O V
(i doubt its true)September 1, 2009 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #891351
I’ve heard that the Jews in Chelm were brilliant. The Poles there were anti-semites, so they made up these stories to make fun of the Jews.September 1, 2009 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #891352
That reminds me of the Sean Ferguson story.September 1, 2009 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #891353
Chaim and Ivan board the 12:10 out of Chelm, bound for Pinsk. Wanting to be polite, Chaim makes small talk with his seatmate and after a few minutes, Chaim and Ivan settle in for the remainder of the ride.
Shortly after 1:00, Chaim pulls out the lunch his aishes chayil prepared for him, a healthy slice of gefilte fish, on a bilkeh.
Again, wanting to be polite, Chaim asks Ivan what he has for lunch.
Seeing what Chaim has for lunch (but not knowing what it is, but wanting to be polite in return) Ivan asks what he is having for lunch.September 1, 2009 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #891354
kiddush lavunah story:
It was the last night to bentch the lavunah all other nights where cloudy
finally after a long time looking for the lavunah they found it.. but there was 1 person that couldn’t make it so they where coming up with a plan on how to save it for him… after long time thinking they came up with plan to take a pail and put in water and they put in the moon and closed it the next day they opened the pail and got pale the moon was missing 🙂September 1, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm #891355
I heard that the people in chelm were either the smartest people or the dumbest… There was that story where the malach was distributing his batch of neshamos all over the world. In one bag was his smart ones and in the other was his dumber ones. Somehow the left bag ripped (I dont know the whole story) and those in the bag all fell out. It depended on from which direction you were looking at him from…so were they the smartest ones or the dumbest people around? Their logic makes a lot of sense… but maybe we just dont get it cuz we are the dumb ones…
If it is chelm, Poland… it makes a lot of sense about how foolish they can be.September 2, 2009 2:27 am at 2:27 am #891356
It is known- really known- but no I have no mekor, that the chelm pple were brilliant. These stories are said to ward off ayin hora.
But they’re cute stories as corny as they are…. They provide good entertainment.September 2, 2009 2:38 am at 2:38 am #891357
Since they are said to be brilliant — who will be the first to state they descend from Chelmenites?September 2, 2009 3:18 am at 3:18 am #891358
Here’s another one which again I can’t verify if it’s true.
The congregations’ wine barrel was running dry so the shammes asked each person to bring a jug of wine from at home and pour it into the barrel. One person was cheap and decided to bring a jug full of water to pour in. (Who could taste one jug of water mixed into a whole barrel?)
Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea.
The poor shammes almost made havdallah on water!September 2, 2009 2:24 pm at 2:24 pm #891359
In Chelm, the mayor would complain that there was no money to pay back debts. So, he just kept borrowing and borrowing and spending more and more of what he borrowed until he ran up so much debt that he had to print his own money.
Wait, is that Chelm or the USA?September 4, 2009 2:08 am at 2:08 am #891360
It all began in a hotly contested mayoral race in
Chelm. At a town hall debate, Gershon the leading
candidate for the conservative Gor Frum Party
promised that if he were elected that there would
be a brilliant light bulb in every kitchen in all of
Chelm. It would not be an ordinary light bulb, but
a very special one.
It has been reported that upon being challenged as
to the kind of light bulb, Gershon said that it would
be a CIRCLE, (Chelm Infra Red Light Emitter). It
would be have an incandescent glow for reading so
that the men and boys could use it for studying.
Then in very cold weather, and on Shabbos, it
would automatically convert to an infra-red heater.
Thus it would not be necessary to lug the cholent
pot to the bakery to be kept warm overnight for Shabbos.
Needless to say, that when the Chelm mayoral
elections were held, the Gor Frum Party won in an
unprecedented landslide receiving every vote
except those of the other candidates and their
After the installation ceremony had been held and
the gala inaugural had taken place and things had
settled down, it soon became apparent that Mayor
that the wise Chelm Rabbi should be consulted.
Arrangements quickly were made for the meeting
and the wisdom of the ages was revealed.
the advice given by the rabbi.
The commissioners were selected as you would in a
the names. Beryl was selected as the Commission
Chairman because B is the first letter of bulb and E
is for electric.
After several commission meetings and a great deal
of research and discussions, it was agreed upon
that there would not be a generator built in Chelm.
It would ruin the bucolic appearance of the shtetl
and would be a polluter. Instead they would buy
the electric power from Lublin, After a lengthy
period of negotiations, a price was agreed upon.
To get the electricity from Lublin they would use a
foot wide extension cord. The cord would lie on the
ground except where it crossed a road, and there it
would be snaked underground. Where it crossed
the river, it would be laid like the Trans-Atlantic
Meanwhile the conversations all over Chelm was
about the new luxury that would be in every
household from Grober Gimpel, the wealthiest
grain dealer, down to the humblest cobbler, Shimon
the Shuster. Each and every Chelm family would
be treated equally.
Instead of smoky kerosene lanterns there would be
the smokeless electric light bulbs that could be
turned on and off with a flick of the finger. Another
take the sharp chill from the long, cold winter
The final problem came in how to finance the
ambitious venture. The estimate was that a million
dollars would need to be raised. The commission
decided that the Chelm Public Utility should offer
IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) on the Warsaw Stock
Exchange. The initials would be CPU. It was
decided to establish the original price per share at
lifetime opportunity for investing in a pre-offering.
If 1000 readers invested $1000 each, the entire
amount would be raised. To make the offering
more desirable, there is an automatic reinvestment
plan so that dividends can be reinvested without
commission at the lowest list price on that day.
Furthermore, the dividends would be tax-free of
any Chelm taxes. An additional incentive was
added. If any investor wants to incorporate in
Chelm, there will be no charge for incorporation.
Call the Chelm Public Utilities Commission at:
011-34-4881-633-1229, e-mail email@example.com
or write to:
Chelm Public Utilities Commission
ul Bialystokivina 36, 25-989
check for $1000 should be sent to the above address
for each share you wish. It is recommended that
you maintain a balanced portfolio and not invest
too heavily in any one stock.September 4, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am #891361
LOLOLOLOL Joseph and OT but what did you use to format that post? I have issues of narrow columns in an editor that I include on one of my sites.September 6, 2009 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #891362
A6KB: It was the Windows Clipboard using the famous Control C and Control V functions, coming from a few years old PDF file (which I take no credit for, other than minor adaption for the CR.) 🙂September 6, 2009 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #891363
Thanks, Joseph – my issues are clipboard related as well and the interface I have must be close to this one in terms of code.
And while we are at it, did you hear they only accept EBT cards with holes in them at Mechel’s Bagel Holes of Chelm? That’s how they get around the law against accepting EBT for bagel holes. Of course Gimpel der Gonif just bought up all the hole punchers in Chelm and is charging 10 bagel holes for every hole he punches in an EBT card.August 15, 2012 2:10 am at 2:10 am #891364
Bump™ in honor of:
lesschumras, mewho and zahavasdad
(see the “Assur to HOLD a smart phone ???” thread)
SiDi™August 15, 2012 1:20 pm at 1:20 pm #891365
Chelm WAS a real place. In fact, a golem was created there, although less famous then the Maharal’s, it is documented that it was created by the Gaon Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem. I think it is rather rude to characterize a whole real town as being fools.March 11, 2019 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1693074
Anyone have any more stories?
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