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A mitzvah?

One day, as Judith is reaching inside her fridge for something for dinner, she notices a plastic-wrapped chicken way at the back, on the bottom shelf.

She removes it from the fridge and she’s not happy with what she sees. This is a chicken she bought many weeks ago and has forgotten about. It’s looking very ragged and unappetizing — even a bit smelly. But just as she’s about to throw it in the trash, her husband, Harry, stops her.

“Don’t do that,” says Harry. “Our neighbour Bernie has been out of work for months and he and his family probably haven’t had a roast chicken meal for ages. I think you should give him the chicken.”

“But it’s no good, it’s probably gone off,” Judith says.

“It doesn’t matter,” Harry says, “just do it. It will be a mitzvah!”

So Judith gives the chicken to her next door neighbor. But then, two days later, they learn that Bernie is terribly sick and has been taken to the local hospital.

“We must go to the hospital right away,” Harry says, “and pay Bernie a visit — it will be a mitzvah!”

The day following their visit, they learn that Bernie has died. “Oy gevalt,” Judith cries, “what on Earth shall we do, Harry?”

“What shall we do?” Harry replies. “We shall go to Bernie’s funeral, that’s what. It will be a mitzvah!”

Two days after attending Bernie’s funeral, Harry says, “Judith, we’ve got to pay a visit to Bernie’s family while they’re sitting shiva. It will be a mitzvah!”

So Judith and Bernie go next door to join the family in prayers for the loss of their husband and father. By the time they return home, Judith is crying. “Harry,” she sobs, “don’t you think it was wrong of us to give Bernie that old chicken?”

“You must be joking, Judith,” Harry replies. “From that one old chicken, we got ourselves four mitzvahs!”

© david minkoff