Excerpts from the Chelm Geniza

With the fall of the Soviet Union some of the texts of the Chelm Geniza have been released from the Maxwell Museum. The following four fragments are among those newly released and translated

Fragment 23a

Midrash Rabba(Braishit)

- R Mordechai said when Moshe was recieving the Torah, God began to dictate- Breishit Ba ha ha ha and broke into laughter. God tried again Brieshit Barah ha ha ha ha . God then composed Himself and began Brei hee hee eee. Moses, whom as we was not the most patient of men was angred and demanded - What's so funny? God said "nothing really [tohu vavohu] - You had to be there.

Fragment 42c

The disputation

In the village of Chelmnos {in present day Bulgaria but at the time of this document a small commercial outpost of the Roman Empire} there was a great discord in the local synagoguge between the Yeshuists and the traditionalists. The Yeshuists wanted to replace the Kriyat Torah by some midrashim about Yeshu ben Yosaif. The ritual committee of this backwater decided that they would not settle the issue without hearing from both sides. Emmissaries were sent to Thrace to bring back liason officers to pesent the arguments in a disputation. And so it was - The Amidah was finished and the disputation about the service following was about to take place. Every Jew and Jewoid was crowded into the synagogue - the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

The Gabbai rose to begin start the proceedings it was then realized that it had not been decided who should speak first. Then the shouts began contrapunctally with each of the factions calling on its liason officer to speak first-

"K'rya Liason"

"Christi Liason"

"K'rya Liason"

"Christi Liason"

Evidently the Yeshuists won that one.


Fragment 613a- early 20th cent mussar

Kinder today I am going to talk to you about the midah of cvoid es hoirim v'moirim . What happens when you behave like Hymie over here and scribble and doodle naarishkiet all over your notebook. Once the Rebbe was teaching a little boy about Purim. He taught him all the holochos and some of the Rebbes schmuses. He taught him about shalach mones- the sending out of gifts and Hammantaschen - in Hebraish what is it Yosef?

"Oiznai Homm'n ". Good boy and what does it mean Itzik?

"Homm'ns ears"

Noch Besser- Such good bochers not like Hymie.

Now I'll tell you about cvoid es hoirim v'moirim

The little boy was doodling and didn't listen. When he grew up he became a mishegenur apikoros and did nothing to make a living but schnoord from his brother and painted pictures. One Purim he half rememberd his heder lesson as m'shalach ozen and cut off his ear and sent it to a friend OY OY OY .

HYMIE -Do you want GOD FORBID to end up like Vincent? -cvoid es hoirim v'moirim !!