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Two years had passed since the pandemic struck, and the Minyin quorom for prayer started meeting at shul again. After much discussion, the Wise Men and Women realized that the reason why there was no quorum was that nobody was getting together. All were in awe of Berel the Gabai's brilliance, when he unveiled that revelation to the board.
This was their fourth time starting up the Minyin again and reopening the shul. The shul had three weeks of excellent attendance. All attendees had to be vaccinated, wearing masks and six pairs of gatkes for safety. It was also suggested that everybody stay far enough apart so they couldn't hear one another. It was decided by the local authorities that it is dangerous to hear other people. Once Yankel started talking, it was agreed that it was best not to hear people.
Shabbat was beautiful and all were happy, even though they couldn't hear the Kaddish prayer. The shul held an amazing Chanukah party where all attendees had to be vaccinated. As discussed by the Wise Men and Women, you had to be vaccinated, wearing six pairs of gatkes and gloves with proof of showering with sanitizer, and masked in order to eat the latkes. Sour cream wasn't allowed, as it was deemed a super spreader.
For Minyin quorum safety, one Wise Man suggested what they called 'zones.' So, the congregation created shul zones. They had an orange zone, a green zone, and a zone where Israelis were not protested against. The community was finally running again.
Then, the next month, after the shul had finally opened and the community started to move again, the leaders of Chelm called for all religious services to stop meeting again. They said there was what they called 'another variant.' And that was it. The Minyin was over. Once the people heard the word 'variant,' there was mass hysteria around Chelm, as the Chelmites ran to safety. Some trampled others to find the best Holiday Sales they could.
The UnWise Men and Women Who Thought People Should Get Together for a Quorom
The Wise Men and Women decided to close the shul again. However there were some not Wise Men and Women that thought the Minyin should continue. That idea met with much disdain, and community hatred.
'It's a variant,' reproached Sarah Shaindel.
'What does the variant do?' Yankel asked. And the whole of the Wise Men and Women of Chelm ostracized Yankel for asking such a dumb question. Yankel was cut off from the community for bringing up such heresy. In ridiculing him, they used his full name, Yankel Tzvi Ben Mendel Simcha, and in unison said, 'Yankel Tzvi Ben Mendel Simcha! How dare you say that things are not that bad? How dare you bring up praying together at times like these?!' After hearing 'times like these,' Yankel had the chutzpah to reiterate, 'I was just asking what the variant did.' And from then on, it was forbidden to speak to Yankel, for he was a fool.
All the Wise Men and Women knew that when somebody said 'times like these,' that meant there was a crisis and everybody should quarantine and not see people at shul. For Yankel to have not known this, and to not know that 'variants' means to take shelter, they all knew he was too great of a fool to not be isolated.
'Times like these' was later said at the shul board meeting. Nobody could show to the meeting, as that would've meant getting together. Nonetheless, the Wise Men and Women held the board meeting. When the statement 'times like these' got out to the people, all took shelter. Running home with hands flailing, you heard yells throughout Chelm, 'Times like these.' And nothing else needed to be said, shul was closed. There was a 'variant' and there were 'times like these.' There was no room for Judaism in Chelm, at times like these. And for Yankel to not realize it was times like these.
Murmurs of Yankel's evil ways made their way around the community. He lost his friends, his job, and he was left in the cold. He caught pneumonia, but nobody cared, as it wasn't a variant.
The Similar Case: Some Fool Wanted a Minyin
Rabbi Fishel was fine with not having the Minyin. Duvidel was not happy. He didn't want the shul to shutdown again. As he said, 'There is no community if there are no people.' That was shut down by Rivka, the social chair, who said that community doesn't need people. Rivka is simply smarter than Duvidel, who always brings up dumb ideas, with his lack of knowledge.
Duvidel said that he heard that the new variant doesn't affect people. And dissenting shouts came from all throughout Chelm, 'You fool. Only an idiot would repeat what he reads.' Conversations were had about the news that Duvidel watched. Talks were had and speakers stated, 'We must never watch the news anymore.' But they all realized that they would never hear about the other variants without the news, so the news was placed on the Chelm Jumbotron, to ensure that religious people didn't meet.
Sarah Shaindel repeated, 'It's a new variant.' Duvidel responded, 'But it doesn't affect anybody.' And all were in shock. The Wise Men and Women were oh so bothered, asking, 'How can things not be dire? It is these times.'
'What a fool Duvidel is,' Shaindel cried out. 'But it's a variant!!!' And the shul was closed. And the leaders of Chelm were happy
Duvidel went on to say that people were happy showing up to shul, and the Wise Men of Chelm ostracized Duvidel. Shlomo reiterated the feelings of the Wise Men and Women, 'How dare he say that people are happy seeing other people? Does he want to kill us?' And he continued, 'Only a fool would think you can be happy during times like these.' Other Wise Men and Women said, 'It's times like these. Did he not hear it's "times like these"?' And all knew Duvidel should be ostracized. And Shlomo happily went back to his home on the outskirts of town and was happy, as he was able to find a new series to get into. But not before he could tell Duvidel, 'It's science. We can't have a Minyin because of science. During times like these, we have to look to science.'
It turned out, Duvidel, like a fool, believed in Gd.
The Community Is Happy
The community was finally at peace, knowing that the people who wanted to be with community were in seclusion.
'As long as there are variants, I will never go to Minyin again,' exclaimed Feivel. Berel the Gabai acquiesced, 'There will be no Minyin until the doctors tell us that there is nothing to catch.' Fayge shouted with joy, 'That's my Gabai. So wise. The only way to never catch anything is to not go to shul.'
And the Wise Men and Women of Chelm, the Jews of Chelm all celebrated, as they never had to go to shul again. And they all met at the supermarket.
Duvidel's question of whether or not the variant had anything to do with the pandemic was never answered, as it was a variant.
Nobody ever listened to Yankel again. He even had the Chutzpah to ask what 'the science' was. A fool with chutzpah.
The masks were mandated by the city council, but criminal activity went up in Chelm. They're still looking for the people who robbed the local pharmacy. The police sketch of a man and woman wearing masks went out. To this day, the whole town of Chelm is suspect.
Along with Yankel and Duvidel, the ostracized community that was put in isolation grew large and they started their own Minyin quorum of people who were not allowed to be around other people.
The Wise Men and Women of Chelm decided that the community needs to follow new protocol. From then on, anytime somebody said 'variant' the shul had to be immediately shut down. If anybody said 'these times' or 'times like these' all had to take shelter. It was years later, when they decided on a law that you can't yell 'variant' in a crowded shul, that the shul opened and the Minyin finally met up again.
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What do you give a dog who's good at math? A chesh-bone.
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