09 August 2018

Which is more important, the sun or the moon?... (Chelm, 1675 km)

(Chelm, 08.08.2018 - 09.08.2018) ... a citizen of Chelm asked the rabbi. “What a silly question!” snapped the cleric. “The moon, of course! It shines at night when we really need it. But who needs the sun shine when it is already broad daylight?”

In Eastern European Jewish folklore, the city of Chelm functions as an imaginary city of fools, similar to that of the Greek Abdera, the English Gotham, and the German Schilda, among numerous others. Was that the reason why on my ride from Lublin and Chelm a ghost driver drove in my lane in the wrong direction while I was overtaking a truck on the freeway? After many hundreds of thousands of miles by car or by motorcycle all over the world I made this unique near-death experience for the very first - but hopefully last - time in my life. Time to go to the Chelm Jewish Cemetery, fortunately just as visitor and photographer...!

1 comment:

lapidotm@inter.net.il said...

As a child of about 5-6 my grandfather used to take me to the Schiller park' feed me simultaneously a slice of buttered toast with a lot of garlic rubbed in the crust (oh, how delicious!)and a lot of stories of the savants of Chelm, peppered with stories about the famous twists of Hersheli of Ostropoli, and softened here and there with some stories about the wonders performed by the Baal Shem Tov, What a bliss for a kid at that age to wander in this wonderful world of Jewish comic lore, that I later complemented with the books of Till Eulenspiegel and Max und Moritz. It was quite a revelation to me that I captured the attention of my kids at similar ages' when I retold again and again the stories about Chelm and Hersheli, this time in Hebrew and not in the juicy original Yiddish. I am afraid that this lore that presevered for centuiries in Eastern Europe is perhaps lost by now with the kids at that age being spellbound by their iphones. tablets and computers.