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The sun began to set late and no one knew what to do. ‘Just three months ago, it was setting at 5pm. We were able to start Shabbat on time,’ exclaimed Feivel, ‘This is very confusing. Why does the sun not set on time?’ And it was confusing. Roars from the crowd of eight people were heard, ‘What do we do? When will we start Shabbat, if Shabbat is starting late?’ And confusion set in.
Duvidel stepped in to answer the quandary, ‘We shall start Shabbat at its time. At 8:30pm. 20:30 military time.’ Protest came upon the crowd. Shouts of ‘What is he talking about? Who would even think of such heresy?!’ were heard throughout the province.
Moishele was taken aback, ‘You fool. 8:30?! We cannot start Shabbat late. We must start Shabbat in its right time.’ Berel The Gabai explained, ‘I have to know when to go to shul.’ Fayge agreed with the Gabai. ‘People have to know when to show up to shul.’ The rabbi was also in agreement, as he said, ‘I don’t want to have to show up to work early.’ And thus, the question was still present, and all pondered.
One random unwise parent said that they have to start Shabbat early because of their children. They said they must spend Friday night with their kids, before they go to sleep. All the Wise Men quickly shut down that idea as ‘kids don’t go to shul or eat late anyways.’
Duvidel mentioned the idea of sunset again, as he was asked to leave the meeting with his foolish ideas. Shabbats came and went, and the people had no idea if the Shabbat came or not. They would sit and wait for the sun to begin its descent, but it was always after 6pm, and that was too late.
An edict was sent to all townsmen, saying, 'All must keep Shabbat all week, until we figure out when it begins.' Bayla then jumped in, ‘But we know when it ends.’ Moishele explained, ‘If we don’t know when it begins. We may not know when it ends.’ And so, the edict went out, and the non-Jewish townsmen wondered why they had to keep Shabbat.
After three weeks of celebrating Shabbat all week the Wise Men and Women decided that they have to start Shabbat on time. ‘We must write the new edict,’ said Raisel. And she was correct. But huge protest came upon her, as it was still Shabbat, and you cannot write on Shabbat.
Shabbat continued. And Raisel never let anybody know what ‘on time’ meant.
Many parents wanted to fight for early Shabbat, for their kids. But the Wise Men and Women made it very clear that the Torah wasn’t written by children in third grade.
Sarah Shaindel was the one who reminded everybody that Shabbat had still not ended. Everybody now hates Sarah Shaindel. They were falling behind in their new series they were trying to get involved in. Many of the meetings had been cancelled in the past, due to television series.
After a couple more weeks of Shabbat, the decision was made to go around to each house, knocking on the doors again, letting all know to end Shabbat. ‘Ending Shabbat on Wednesdays is never to happen again,’ exclaimed Rabbi Fishel, and he kept his job.
They were still stuck with the question, ‘what does it mean to start Shabbat on time?’ And the answer was, ‘We don’t know.’ Duvidel said, ‘When the sun starts to descend.’ And nobody listened to Duvidel, the fool. As Bayla said, ‘This fool. He’s a heretic. He probably ended Shabbat before Wednesday.’ ‘Outcast!’ ‘Shun,’ and other words of anti-Duvidel cheers were heard.
After a time had passed, many of the young Wise Men and Women, for technical reasons, decided that Shabbat should start on time, early. Some members of the community, with young children, decided it was important have an early Shabbat Minyin. They called that for 4 o'clock, because that is early. Nobody showed to the early Minyin, as the parents had to be at home, watching the kids.
To this day, the Wise Men and Women of Chelm always start Shabbat on time.
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