Sunday, July 27, 2008

A story:

Three men of Chelm were walking down the road, one of them carrying an umbrella. The three were engrossed in conversation when it began to rain. "Quick, open your umbrella!" one of the men said to the umbrella's carrier.

"It's useless. It's full of holes," the carrier said as the rain came down harder.

"Why did you bring it with you, then?"

"I didn't think it would rain."

I came to a bit of a realization when I gathered with the blogpocheh last night at One-Eyed Jack's. When I was asked why it was that very little in New Orleans actually began on time, the only thing that came to my mind was one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable here: the whole place has taken Jewish Standard Time to the extent that, in some reaction to this, the local rabbis are sticklers for beginning their services on time.

Of course, one of the dangers of taking this on is the risk that this town will become the town of Chelm:

To build perchance to dream Its not so easy to build a city. First you have to chop down trees, make the logs into lumber and then begin to build. But where will we get the trees from? "The mountain," cried one scholar. So they all began to chop down the trees and lug the heavy logs down the mountain. One day a passing Jew from Lithuania saw the hard work and advised them "Since the trees are on the mountain why don't you just roll them down?" "Wonderful idea," they replied and right away they began to carry all the logs back up the to the top in order to roll them down.

Believe it or not the town was eventually built, but in their haste they made it too small for the population.

"What are we going to do," they wailed. At length they went to ask the Rabbi. "Simple," he replied. "You have to move the mountain." All the citizens came out one bright morning and began to push. The entire population of Chelm was pushing against the mountain: Men, women, and even little children.

After a while it became unbearably hot and they removed their coats, piling them high one on top of the other. They were concentrating so hard on their work they didn't notice some thieves who came and stole their coats. After a while one of the Chelmites turned around with a shout of joy. "Look, we've succeeded!" How do you know? he was asked. "Because we pushed the mountain so far we can't see our coats anymore!"


I think we live in the country of Chelm...


NOLA Cleophatra said...

It was good to catch up with you last night. Now I'm trying to get caught up on your posts! Been spending way too much time on Facebook, but I have reconnected with some old friend so that's good.

I think at least once a year, if not more often, we all need to get together and yell "FYYFF"together. That felt good. Real good.

Anonymous said...

I've been curious about the whole time thing myself. I like your interpretation.