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The Wise Men of Chelm and the New Miracle of Hanukkah

December 19, 2019 | by David Kilimnick

The Wise Men of Chlem always lit the Hanukkah menorah but they never knew why. It was time to come up with a new miracle.

For many years, the Wise Men of Chlem lit the Hanukkah menorah but they never knew why. They remembered hearing about a miracle of some sort…but the details were hazy. But the wise men decided that they must make Hanukkah more meaningful. After much discussion about different types of jelly donuts the following course of events ensued.

Yankel Shares His Idea

Known to cause problems, Yankel Tzvi Ben Mendel Simcha always made everybody say his full name. Yankel told everybody at the meeting what he learned in Yeshiva. “We are commanded to publicize the miracle.”

Berel the Gabai, one to never allow heresy, jumped in, “You fool. We are commanded to light the Chanukiah. And now he says we have to publicize a miracle. He knows from nothing. I learned in Yeshiva too, and our rabbis taught us that we must light the Chanukiah.” The Wise Men cheered at the brilliance of their Gabai. Fayge, reinforced, “Our Gabai is so wise. Now we have meaning.”

How Can We Light the Menorah More Publicly to Publicize?

Undeterred, Yankel shouted with excitement, “If we are to do this right, we must light the candles where people can see the Chanukiahs, when people are walking home from work!”

“I work the night shift,” said Max. When’s the best time for me to light?”

It turned out much of the congregation worked from home. Most of Chelm worked in IT.

What is the Miracle of Hanukkah That We are Publicizing?

The Wise Men of Chelm searched and searched for a miracle. If they couldn’t remember the ancient one, they needed a modern day miracle to share with the public.

Lazer, the head of the youth group chimed in, “Last Hanukkah I got an amazing gift. I received a hoverboard.”


“Miracles do happen! Hoverboards are awesome!” Chaya Tova shouted.

Even Duvidel was in awe, as he received a pair of socks last year that his grandmother knitted for him, and they did not stay up because she forgot the elastic. As Duvidel showed off his socks gathered at his ankles, he looked at Lazer’s hoverboard, confused, “People can receive gifts that they like?” He had newfound hope, “I can use some wireless JBL earbuds.”

The Wisemen of Chelm decided to put Lazer’s hoverboard on display, when people were walking home from work. This will be Chelm’s new miracle of Hanukkah.

The next day, Duvidel shared his concept, “We can buy all of the children hoverboards and they will see the miracle of Hanukkah.”

Menachem interceded, to keep the group focused on what was really important to parents in Chelm – saving money. “Who can afford hoverboards? Not everybody is as wealthy as the Shwartzawitzs. They even have a flatscreen TV.”

Bayla, not a fan of the Shwartzawitzs either, added, “If the Shwartzawitzs paid dues, that would be a Hanukkah miracle.”

More Hanukkah Miracles

Chaya Tova recounted yet another miracle, “We didn’t have to go to school today. It’s a snow day. A Hanukkah miracle.”

And the miracles of Hanukkah kept flowing. “The latkes last year were out of this world,” said Rivka. “Crunchy, yet beautifully moist on the inside. We should advertise that. This is a miracle.”

The kid with the disease they all prayed for, who recovered and was back in school, was not mentioned. They didn’t want to publicize a chicken pox miracle.

Oily food was a miracle. The snow day was a huge miracle. But the Wise Men of Chelm still agreed that the greatest miracle of all was still the hoverboard.

How Do We Publicize These Joyous Hanukkah Miracles?

They decided it is time to publicize Chelm’s Hanukkah miracles correctly. But ads in the newspaper were too expensive.

Taking initiative, as he does, Duvidel arose with fervor and took to the streets with his megaphone. The people of Chelm were in shock. They didn’t speak Yiddish. “What’s he screaming?” the people asked. He reverted to English. For English is what they speak in Poland nowadays.

The rest of the Wise Men at the meeting were inspired, as they followed with megaphones they had from their work as Chelm’s voluntary police squad. Cheers were heard all over the streets, “Lazer received a hoverboard! A Hanukkah Miracle!”

After hours of cheering for Lazer, shock set in. It seemed that none of the townsfolk connected with Lazer’s hoverboard. As Raizel said, “Lazer’s hoverboard is not mine. And he said he doesn’t want us to light his hoverboard for all eight nights.”

Yankel preached, “We light because the one jar of oil lasted eight days. It should’ve only lasted one.” Berel responded to this ignorance one last time, “This fool still doesn’t understand! We light eight, because there are eight nights of Hanukkah!”

Notes After the Wise Men of Chelm’s Hanukkah Meeting

The kids didn’t go to school because of the snow day, so they learned nothing about the holiday. Duvidel never received earbuds or a hoverboard. However, hoverboard sales in Chelm went up.

Lazer himself never used his hoverboard, as it was too dangerous and eventually banned by Chelm City Hall.

The Wise Men lit a Chanukiah to remind them that that it was Hanukkah. And on the eighth night, the Wise Men along with their entire community lit their Hanukkah Menorahs with the nine candles, including the shamash candle, to remind them of the Menorah in the Temple that had seven lamps because of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

That Hanukkah, as everyone lit their candles, the whole community was able to see the Schwartzawitzs’ huge flatscreen TV, as the Schwartzawitzs’ publicized their new 120-inch television. The Wise Men knocked on the Schwartzawitzs’ door and asked them to pay their dues. And they did. The miracle of Hanukkah was complete.

Yankel lit his Chanukiah in his window and every Jew in Chelm tried to figure out what he was trying to prove.


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