Hershel Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home one day.
He was 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…!”
Hershel rubbed his eyes and ears. He couldn’t believe it! He stood in front of an African Grey that cocked his little head and said: “Vus? Kenst reddin Yiddish?”
In a matter of moments, Hershel purchased the bird and carried the parrot home. All night long he talked with the parrot… in Yiddish. The parrot listened while sharing some walnuts.
The next morning, Meyer began saying his prayers. The parrot wanted to pray, too, so Hershel hand-made a miniature yamulke for the parrot. The parrot also wanted to read Hebrew, so Hershel spent months teaching him the Torah.
On Rosh Hashanah, Hershel rose early, got dressed, and was about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Hershel explained that a synagogue was not a place for a bird, but the parrot pleaded and was carried to the synagogue on Hershel’s shoulder.
Hershel 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 Hershel convinced him that the parrot could pray.
Wagers were made on whether the parrot could speak Yiddish or not and all eyes were on the two of them during services. The parrot was still perched on Hershel’s shoulder as one prayer and song passed… but the parrot stayed mum. Annoyed, Hershel said, “Pray, parrot! You can pray… do it now while everybody’s looking at you!” The parrot still said nothing.
After services were over, Hershel realized he owed the synagogue over four thousand dollars. He marched home, quietly fuming.
Finally, several blocks from the synagogue, the bird began to sing an old Yiddish song. Hershel stopped and glared at him.
“You miserable bird… you cost me over four thousand dollars today. 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 Hashanah… why did you do this to me?”
“Don’t be an idiot,” the parrot replied. “Think of the odds we’ll get on Yom Kippur!”