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!”