Wednesday, January 20, 2010

א קעלמאר מעשה

I introduced myself as an author of Warsaw Haynt and I said to them more or less this:

- Dear Jews of Kelm! I heard a whole life so much about the fools of Kelm. Today in the early morning I came to Kelm and I wanted to use the opportunity to have a talk with the fools. Finally, I walked around the whole day and could not find any fool. All Jews of Kelm whom I met have a keen mind and are clever like the world. I will leave Kelm disappointed. Tell me the truth, Jews: Is there really not a single fool in Kelm?

Then one of the Jews ironically examined me with the eyes from my had to my feet and answered with a smile: - Usually when there is a fool in Kelm, he is from Warsaw...

But not all Jews of Kelm were content with a witty answer. Others scolded on a truth.

The popular Haynt-author and folksinger Menachem Kipnis was strongly liked in Kelm like in whole Poland. When he came to give a concert with his wife Zmira Seligfeld, they had there big success. All of a sudden Kipnis lost the favor in Kelm and he was accommodated angrily. What happened? That's what happened: Kipnis enjoyed to write in Haynt a long series humorous tales about Kelm, old and new ones.

Because of this a part of Kelm's Jews was angry with Kipnis. They wrote him letters with reproaches and claimed that they have enough disgrace and shame because of the old fools, new tales are not needed.

The biggest anger about Kipnis had a young author from Kelm Moshe Lerer, a collector of Jewish folklore. The Moshe Lerer, whom Zalmen Reyzen brought to Vilnius and employed him in "YIVO", really pestered Kipnis. He proved scientifically that Kipnis faked up the tales historical, or deluded the geography; he took fools of other cities and assigned them to Kelm.

Only I wrote once in Haynt a feature about the city Kelm. I asked a question: "Korakh shepike'ach haya, ma ra'ah leshtut zo? (Korakh [a name of a biblical figure which protested against Moses's leadership], which was wise, what did he see in such nonsense?)" Kelm is after all a city of sages, Why one made fools out of them? Thereon, I made such an assumption: It happened due to a typo.

Once a Jew, an author, presumably long ago printed a holy-language book (Koheles 9:11), in which he used the saying:"Lo lekhakhamim lachem (There is no bread for the wise.)". The young typesetter changed by mistake the word "lakhem" and instead of "lakhem" was printed "Khelem". The Jews read: "Lo lekhakhamin khelem" - Khelm is not for sages.

Source - here


Anonymous said...

is Kelm the same as Chelm of jewish press fame

Wolf2191 said...

Yes. But Kelm (w/ the h) was a different city in Lithuania.

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