MEYER, a lonely widower, was walking home along Golders Green Road one
day, wishing something wonderful would happen to his life when he
passed a Pet Store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in
"Quawwwwk...vus macht du...yeah, du...outside, standing like a
Meyer couldn't believe what he was hearing. Suddenly, the proprietor
came out of the shop and grabbed Meyer by the sleeve. "Come in here
and check out this parrot..."
Meyer was soon standing in front of an African Grey. The parrot cocked
his little head and said: "Vus? Kenst reddin Yiddish?"
Meyer turned excitedly to the owner. "He speaks Yiddish?"
"Vuh den? Chinese maybe?"
In a matter of moments, Meyer had written out a cheque for �500 and
carried the parrot, still in his cage, out of the shop and into his
car. All night he talked with the parrot in Yiddish. He told the
parrot about his father's kosher butcher shop in Neasden; about how
beautiful his mother was when she was a young bride; about his family
in Israel; about his years of working in the City; and about
Birchington, Kent. The parrot listened and commented. They shared
some nuts and raisons. The parrot told Meyer of what life was like
living in the pet store and how he hated the weekends. They then both
went to sleep.
Next morning, Meyer began to put on his tfillin, all the while, saying
his prayers. The parrot demanded to know what he was doing, and when
Meyer explained, the parrot wanted to do likewise. So Meyer went out
and bought a hand-made miniature set of tfillin for the parrot. The
parrot wanted to learn to daven and learned every prayer. He wanted
to learn to read Hebrew so Meyer spent weeks and months sitting and
teaching the parrot, teaching him Torah. In time, Meyer came to love
and count on the parrot as a friend and a Jew. He had been saved.
One morning, on Rosh Hashanah, Meyer rose and got dressed and was
about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer
explained that Shul was not place for a bird but the parrot made a
terrific argument and was carried to Shul on Meyer's shoulder.
Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle and Meyer was questioned
by everyone, including the Rabbi and Cantor. At first they refused to
allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days, but Meyer
convinced them to let him in this one time, swearing that the parrot
could daven. Some bets were made with Meyer. Thousands of pounds were
bet that the parrot could NOT daven, could NOT speak Yiddish or
Hebrew, etc. All eyes were on the African Grey during the service.
The parrot perched on Meyer's shoulder as one prayer and song passed -
Meyer heard not a peep from the bird. He began to become annoyed,
slapping at his shoulder and mumbling under his breath, "Daven!"
"Daven...parrot, you can daven, so daven...come on, everybody's
looking at you!"
After the Rosh Hashanah service was over, Meyer worked out that he
owed over four thousand pounds. He marched home, angry, saying
nothing. Finally several streets away from the Shul, the bird began
to sing an old Yiddish song and was happy as could be.
Meyer stopped and looked at him. "You miserable bird, you cost me
over four thousand pounds. Why? After I bought you your own tfillin
and taught you the morning prayers and taught you to read Hebrew and
the Torah. And after you begged me to bring you to Shul on Rosh
Hashanah, why? Why did you do this to me?"
"Don't be a schmuck," the parrot replied. "The odds will be much
better on Yom Kippur."