Sunday, April 09, 2006
Adventures of a Yiddisher Mammeh:

Friday morning I bought 3 chickens. I wanted to cook one for shabbos, and have extra for erev pesach. They all had the same package date and seemed to be the same in general - CHK dark meat. I came home and stuck them in the fridge.

Later that day, when I opened the first chicken, it smelled a little off. I kept smelling each piece, and each smelled a little worse. The third piece was a little green underneath, and smelled horrific.

Yaakov came home shortly thereafter, and I had him smell it. "EWWW!" He declared, and went back to the store with the chickens (I didn't even bother to open the other two). He came back about 20 minutes later, chickens in hand. He said the storekeeper smelled it, the butcher smelled it, and another employee smelled it. They all said it smelled just fine. I burst into tears. "No way, I'm calling the Rav." So, trembling and snuffling, I picked up the phone.

When he answered, I cried even harder. I felt like this little shtetl bubbe, calling on her Rabbi to find out if her chicken was kosher. He asked why I was crying - was it because I lost the money? I explained I just felt it was so wrong, and unfair, and what was I going to do about shabbos dinner? "Come get chicken from me," he said. That made me feel like a mercy case and I cried even harder.

I cried all the way to his house. He opened the door to see a disheveled housewife, schlepping her chickens. I felt like an idiot. "Here's more chicken," he said, pointing to 3 packages waiting for me. "Is your wife here? I want her to smell it." Rebbetzin Plony emerged from the kitchen. "It does smell off," she said. She opened a second package. "This one smells bad, too." The third package she thought was okay. She asked if I minded if we took it to the balabustes next door to smell.

The ladies next door thought the first 2 chickens were bad as well, but agreed that the third was fine. So I kept the third, and gratefully took two chickens from the Rav. I offered to pay, but they wouldn't let me.

I went home wondering what Rav Plony must think of me, coming to his door crying over chicken. But this morning I thought, "He's the Rav. People tell him all kinds of personal things. We all ask him halachic questions pertaining even to the most intimate aspects of our lives. What's a lady with chicken problems to him? I'm not the first woman to break down in his presence. And if he thinks I'm nuts...?

It's probably true.


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