A wise person knows that knowledge of the universe is vast, and that he understands only a tiny sliver of it. A foolish person believes he understands the world in its entirety. The greatest fool is so clever that he outsmarts himself, unknowingly stumbling upon gems of wisdom in the process.
Albert Einstein famously said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagining what could be possible led him to think about the world in an entirely new way, and to make revolutionary scientific discoveries. His contemporaries, however, mocked his unconventional methods. Some called him a fool.
The “wise men” of the folkloric city of Chelm have no shortage of imagination. For example, they think they can capture the moon by trapping its reflection in a barrel of water. In the Shavuot story Kopecks for Blintzes, read about how the town of Chelm came to have 13 Commandments instead of 10. Hint: it has to do with an accident involving a rolling trunk.
And no greater truth has ever been spoken than the words in the Hanukkah story, Way Too Many Latkes: “There is no such thing as too many latkes. Just not enough mouths.” The townspeople - and their mouths - rise to the challenge.
The people of Chelm get into plenty of pickles throughout the rest of the year, too. Laugh along with them in the collection of stories, Chelm For The Holidays.
Einstein also said that if you want your children to be intelligent, you should read them fairy tales. Take the wise man’s advice and read them stories about the wise men of Chelm.