The Yiddish Parrot
Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home along Delancy Street one day, wishing something wonderful would happen to his life, when he passed a Pet store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in Yiddish:
"Quawwwwk... vus macht du... yeah, you... outside, standing like a schmuck... eh?"
Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. He couldn't believe it! The proprietor sprang out of the door and grabbed Meyer by the sleeve. "Come in here, fella, and check out this parrot..."
Meyer stood in front of an African Grey that cocked his little head and said: "Vus? Kenst reddin Yiddish?"
Meyer turned excitedly to the store owner. "He speaks Yiddish?"
"What did you expect? Chinese maybe?"
In a matter of moments Meyer had placed five hundred dollars down on the counter and carried the parrot in his cage away with him. All night long he talked with the parrot... in Yiddish. He told the parrot about his father's adventures coming to America; About how beautiful his mother was when she was a young bride; About his family; About his years of working in the garment industry; and about sunny Florida.
The parrot listened and commented while sharing some walnuts. The parrot told him of living in the pet store and how he hated the weekends. They both went to sleep.
Next morning, Meyer began saying his prayers. The parrot demanded to know what he was doing and when Meyer explained, the parrot wanted to pray too. Meyer hand-made a miniature yamulke [skullcap] for the parrot. The parrot wanted to learn to read Hebrew so Meyer spent months, sitting and teaching the parrot, teaching him Torah. Before long Meyer came to love and count on the parrot as a friend and a Jew. He was lonely no more.
On Rosh Hashona, Meyer rose, got dressed, and was about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer explained that a synagogue was not a place for a bird, but the parrot pleaded and was carried to the synagogue on Meyer's shoulder.
Needless to say, they were quite a spectacle. Meyer was questioned by everyone, including the Rabbi. At first, the Rabbi refused to allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days, but Meyer convinced him to let him in this one time, swearing that parrot could pray. Wagers were made with Meyer. Thousands of dollars were bet... even odds... that the parrot could NOT pray, could not speak Yiddish, or Hebrew, etc.
All eyes were on the two of them during services. The parrot was still perched on Meyer's shoulder as one prayer and song passed... but not a peep from the bird. Meyer become annoyed, slapping at his shoulder and mumbling under his breath, "Pray!"
The parrot said nothing. "Pray, parrot! You can pray... do it now while everybody's looking at you!"
The parrot said nothing.
After services were over, Meyer realized he owed his synagogue buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars. He marched home... very disgusted, saying nothing. Finally several blocks from the temple the bird began to sing an old Yiddish song and was happy as a lark. Meyer stopped and looked at him.
"You miserable bird... you cost me over four thousand dollars. Why? After I taught you the morning prayers, taught you to read Hebrew and the Torah. And after you begged me to bring you to a synagogue on Rosh Hashona... why? Why did you do this to me?"
"Don't be a schmuck," the parrot replied. "Think of the odds on Yom Kippur!"
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