- The Synagogue of Chelm
The people of Chelm were excited. The whole town was abuzz
with the news the rabbi had declared that a new synagogue
would be built. And everyone had their opinion about the
new shul. Who should do the carpentry, how many
seats would there be, how high the bimah (pulpit)
would be, were all issues of talk at the marketplace and
the house of study.
The biggest question, however, was what kind of floor
there would be in this new shul. There were two
schools of thought on the issue.
The first group, led by a butcher named Dovid, argued
that the floor need be rough. "For when we dance with
the Torahs on Simcat Torah," he argued, "we must not
fall to the ground. For the tradition demands that if
one drops a Torah, he must fast for fourty days!" A
rough floor is the only way to go."
The other group, led by a tailor names Moshe, declared
"The floor must be smooth. For on Yom Kippur, we leave
our leather shoes at home. How can one be expected to
stand before G-d and atone for our sins when are feet
are being jabbed by the floor. We must have a smooth
floor. Case closed."
The townspeople were dividely equally. Both camps
had good points and both seemed to be right. In order
to resolve this issue and begin building, they went
before the rabbi and argued their respective points.
The rabbi nodded and pronounced that he would need
several days to consider the issues involved. When he
returned, he declared: "The boards with which we lay
the floor will be finished and smooth on one side and
unfinished and rough on the other. For Yom Kippur, we
will use the smooth side and on Simchat Torah, we will
use the rough side."
And all were happy in Chelm.
Next Story: Dancing
in the Synagogue