wishing something wonderful would happen in his life, when he passed a pet
store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in Yiddish,
"Quawwwwk...vus machts du?" (How're ya doin')
"Yeah, du." (Yeah, you.)
Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. Couldn't believe it. Perfect Yiddish.
The proprietor urged him, "Come in here, fella, and check out this
Meyer did. An African Grey cocked his little head and said: "Vus? Kenst
sprechen Yiddish?" (What? Can you speak Yiddish?)
In a matter of moments, Meyer had placed five hundred dollars on the counter
and carried the parrot in his cage away with him. All night he talked with
the parrot. In Yiddish. He told the parrot about his father's adventures
coming to America. About how beautiful his late wife, Sarah, was when she
was a young bride. About his family. About his years of working in the
garment district. About Florida.
The parrot listened and commented.
They shared some walnuts.
The parrot told him of living in the pet store, how lonely he would get on
the weekends. They 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 the same. Meyer went out and had a
miniature set of tfillin hand made for the parrot.
The parrot wanted to learn to daven, and learned every prayer. He even
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 fellow Jew.
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 a place for a bird, but the parrot made a terrific argument, so Meyer
relented and carried the bird to Shul on his shoulder.
Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle, and Meyer was questioned by
everyone, including the Rabbi and the Cantor. They refused to allow a bird
into the building on the High Holy Days, but Meyer persuaded them to let him
in this one time, swearing that parrot could daven.
Wagers were made with Meyer.
Thousands of dollars were bet that the parrot could NOT daven, could not
speak Yiddish or Hebrew, etc.
All eyes were on the African Grey during services. 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, everyone is looking at
After Rosh Hashanah services were concluded, Meyer found that he owed his
Shul buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars..
He marched home, so upset he said nothing to the parrot.
Finally several blocks from the Temple the Parrot began to sing an old
Yiddish song, as happy as a lark.
Meyer stopped and looked at him.
"Why? After I had tfillin made for you 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 Hashana, why? WHY?!? Why did you do this to
"Meyer, don't be a schmuck," the parrot replied. "Think of the odds we'll
get on Yom Kippur!"