Menachem Mendel

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You’re a Fool

The ubiquitous stories about rabbis being asked about the kashrut of dead chickens by women deserves a scholarly treatment by someone, but in the meantime, here’s one from the recent article on Chaim Grade by Curt Leviant in the Jewish Review of Books.

In the mid-1920′s, Chaim Grade was a private student of the great and saintly Rabbi Avrohom Karelitz, who was known as “the Chazon Ish.” He was studying with him one Friday morning when a woman came in to consult the rabbi about the chicken she was about to prepare for the Sabbath. Here’s the story Chaim told me:

We were sitting at a little table in his house and a woman comes in holding her chicken. Since the Chazon Ish was very nearsighted he actually couldn’t examine the fowl. So he whispered to me, “Iz zee an oreme?” (Is she a poor woman?) In other words, he wasn’t going to ruin a poor housewife’s Shabbes meal, probably bought with her last few pennies, and declare the chicken not kosher. And I, naïve youngster that I was, I asked her, “Veefil fardint ayer man?” (How much does your husband earn?) At once the Chazon Ish hissed at me, “Bist a nar!” (You’re a fool!) And to the woman he called out, “Kosher!”

2 Responses to “You’re a Fool”

  1. 1
    drjo:

    the lady came in and told the chazon ish something about the shayla and he surmised that he could be maykal

  2. 2
    S.:

    Man, you want to drive up traffic don’t call the post “You’re a fool.” Call it “Chazon Ish paskens on a chicken without seeing it.”

    (In reality drjo is almost certainly right, or some shading of the story which isn’t as written.)

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