Introduction to Tales of the Chelm First Ward It was not so very long ago that the Church first came to Chelm—or rather, as Heshel tells the story, that the people of Chelm first came to the Church. Heshel was young, then. He had not yet married Clever Gretele, his guide and anchor, and was still drifting about, trying to find his place in life. Not to mention his place in eastern Poland’s economy. He had tried work on an assembly line, but he lacked the basic consistency required for the job. Whenever his mind drifted, his hands tried to find a new way to do things: square stacks became pyramids, knots turned into bows, and he never learned to properly distinguish a quarter-turn to the left from one to the right. “This job is simple,” his supervisor told him. “You only need to do one thing exactly as you’ve been shown. Just as it’s been done before.” But that was the trouble: Heshel couldn’t ever seem to master what had been done before. Companies in Chelm were, by necessity, patient about an eccentricity or two. But after the day he somehow got the conveyor belt running backward, he was sacked.
I love the Yiddishkeit of these stories
"The story he discovered inside the pages of Jesus’ American book was shockingly familiar. It was the tale of a family of Jews who offended people, left town, and got very, very lost. "
Brilliant and hilarious and beautiful.