The serious history of a comical town

How, you may ask, was Chelm created?
The truest answer to that question, they say, is that Chelm, the most famous town in Jewish folklore, came into being when the Lord sent an angel with a sack of foolish souls to distribute across the entire world, and the angel tripped and spilled them all in the same place.
That, we are told, is how we were given a town with sages so wise they captured the moon by shutting its reflection in a barrel of water, so Talmudically adept at outsmarting logic itself that they carried each other on their shoulders to avoid leaving footprints in newly fallen snow.

The factual origins of this mythical town, a researcher is now showing, might be more prosaic but are no less interesting.

The Times of Israel, March 23, 2012

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